Sunday, 2nd December, 2007
By Emmy Olaki
GOOD African Coffee Company owned by Andrew Rugasira has won a $50,000 prize in the tightly-contested race in which only six finalists were awarded.
The other winners were Enterprise URWIBUTSO, of Rwanda, Kencell, of Kenya, Tele-10 of Rwanda and Virtual City of Kenya, each of which received a $50,000 prize during the inaugural Legatum Pioneer of Prosperity Awards in Kigali Rwanda.
There are awards are an initiative of Legatum, a private firm that invests in capital markets and in initiatives that support human and social development around the world. They were jointly organised with the OTF Group, a firm that helps build competitiveness in emerging economies by providing analytical tools to design and implement innovation based strategies, and the John Templeton Foundation.
They are designed to reward small-and-medium enterprises business leaders in East Africa. AAA Growers of Kenya emerged first winners from 450 competitors who took part in the event.
They pocketed $100,000 in prize money. Rwanda President Paul Kagame, who officiated at the awards over the weekend said employers who consider their workforce as cheap labour had no place in Africa.
“Effective companies must put a lot of value in their workforce, and then they will be welcome in Africa,” he said. The President said African entrepreneurs should be role models and responsible citizens who should have respect for the environment and good corporate citizens who should pay their taxes. “The old mindset that the environment must be exploited at all cost no longer works because we know better. We must renew these resources and not recklessly destroy them.
“ And this must be the mindset of both the Government and the private sector,” Kagame insisted. Alan McCormick, the Legatum managing director, said: “Each of the finalists is a shining example of flourishing enterprise and the wards unequivocally demonstrated that these entrepreneurs have earned their place alongside the very best in the world. “We hope they will inspire a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs to follow in their footsteps,” said. He said Africa is full of success stories not yet told in the West.
“They are creating their own futures through enterprise and bringing a dramatic improvement in quality of life, something a tenfold increase in aid can’t achieve.”
The criteria for choosing the winners was based on innovative products and services, sustainable profitability, employee compensation, training and work conditions and environmental consciousness.
“We were looking for a world-class business led by a strong and ethical management committed to not only upholding the highest standards of corporate behavior but also growing their businesses aggressively.”
This article can be found on-line at: http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/220/600142
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