Rwanda’s beekeeping business, ATIC, is both an agritech company and consultancy empowering others.
Beekeeping has been practiced in Rwanda for generations, and the honey produced has traditionally been associated with food, drink and medicine. Angeline Wibabara’s Kigali-based company ATIC is both an agritech company and a consultancy, and currently works in four Rwandan provinces. Their beekeeping business is special to Ms. Wibabara, a former government worker who aims to build a successful, profitable business and also empower others to create viable businesses of their own.
The consultancy side of ATIC used to fund the agritech side but eventually it could not — the various requests and purchase orders became too expensive. As is custom in the region, the financial institutions Angeline approached weren’t able to fund ATIC without millions of Rwandan francs worth of collateral — the equivalent of a large house or multiple cars. When traditional funding proved to be a non-starter, Angeline almost worked with private lenders who charged astronomical interest rates, but eventually chose not to. Still, ATIC was not in a good place financially.
Until Kountable came along, ATIC was at risk of losing their business due to a lack of money to fund their purchase orders.
A friend directed Angeline to Kountable, whose representatives immediately saw value in what ATIC was doing. In a process that was both painless and efficient, Kountable worked with Angeline and with ATIC and provided appropriate funding, structure and a process that made sense to all parties. This allowed ATIC to complete its various purchase orders but also for the company to grow. Angeline’s dual mission to grow her own business and to empower others to grow theirs was back on track.
She had the expertise.
She had the purchase orders.
She just didn’t have the money.
Angeline Wibabara’s experience is not unlike the experience of many other SMEs in Rwanda, where a given company’s growth is directly related to its supply capacity, which is directly related to funding purchase orders, which requires adequate financing. Angeline’s company ATIC had everything — except the money to get the ball rolling, so she did what anyone else in her situation would do: she pursued funding options with traditional lenders and then with private lenders. Both required a significant amount of collateral — and the private lender planned on charging an interest rate that would make a loan shark blush. For a moment, it looked like ATIC was out of its depth.
“The requests we were having from our main clients, we couldn’t supply them,” says Angeline. “We were having a big financial problem.”
When a friend suggested Kountable, Angeline pursued a meeting. Not too long after, ATIC had a financial roof over its head, and was set up with a process that made fulfilling purchase orders and growing its business both easy and convenient.
“The team is very well organized,” she says. “They call me, they follow up. They are very [helpful].
“With them there is no stress, there is always [a] perfect environment to work with.”