Beau’s helping Rwandan entrepreneur tap into African craft beer market

Beau’s All Natural brewery says it plans to help a Rwandan entrepreneur open a craft brewery in her home country.

The Vankleek Hill-based brewery plans to provide Josephine “Fina” Uwineza with “financing, expertise and hands-on employee training” in order to get her craft brewery off the ground in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, it said in a release.

The company has also launched a crowdfunding campaign and provided rewards for backers on Kickstater. Its goal is to raise $95,000 over the next two months to help Ms. Uwineza purchase a bottling line.

Beau’s CEO Steve Beauchesne and Tanya Beimers, the company’s chief financial officer, travelled to Rwanda in the spring to meet with Ms. Uwineza and find out more about the project.

“Meeting Fina, with her passion and confidence, and then also seeing the support from the government, women’s groups and the community, we knew this was a project that we had to be a part of,” Ms. Beimers said in a release.

Beau’s says it won’t be taking any profits from its support of the Rwandan brewery.

“We have always done what we can to help other craft breweries, be it lending supplies and equipment, or looking over business plans. This project is significantly more involved, but it’s rooted in the same principles of being open and willing to help,” Mr. Beauchesne stated.

The company says Ms. Uwineza is an experienced entrepreneur and is no stranger to new ideas after opening Kigali’s first Chinese restaurant.

The Rwandan craft brewery plans to use as many local ingredients as possible, particularly from nearby farmers co-ops in an effort to support other Rwandans.

Also participating in the project is Abbotsford, British Columbia-based Newlands Systems, which has donated some brewing equipment.

Founded in 2006, Beau’s is the largest craft brewer in eastern Ontario and western Quebec by a wide margin, according to OBJ’s Book of Lists.

It brews some 5 million litres of beer annually and employs approximately 160 people.