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From Rwanda with Love

By Lincoln Ford Linguyeneza | Wed Apr 28 2021
While I was completing my secondary and university education in Uganda, I came to appreciate the importance of teamwork, structure and organization. I played rugby for my varsity team and a local rugby club where these fundamentals were important in order to win games. They remain ingrained in my mind even as I returned to Rwanda and continue to shape who I am today.
I realized I should pay attention when not one, but two of my cousins sent me the link to the job listing for Rwanda legal counsel at RENEW. I immediately embarked on the application process. We all had an intuition that I was well suited for this impact investment position having just completed a startup incubation and acceleration program a year before. I craved structure and organization which I had a hunch RENEW would offer.
Despite being continuously advised about the proper interview etiquette, I used every chance to go off script and let the RENEW team know how passionate I was about the investment space. My training at 250Startups was short, and I knew I had more to learn and more to give to the investment space in Rwanda. Sure enough, my Christmas miracle occurred. At the start of the year I was hired as legal counsel for RENEW in Rwanda. Perfect timing for me to caption every social media post of mine, “
” Someone even said that now I can say I’ve been ‘
’ (I’ve trademarked this already, sorry Matt).
At the beginning of February, I had the chance to travel to Addis Ababa. I’m a bit of a cultural history buff so the onboarding trip was very welcome. The trip was meticulously planned by the team, and I had an absolute blast the whole time I was there. On the first day, I was welcomed by Paul who shared a couple of stories and jokes about flights and layovers. We then had a coffee meeting with the whole team where we got to know everyone. Turns out part of the team has the skills to moonlight as a band and the other as a rugby team. Talk about a diverse team.
I also got the chance to get fully immersed in the Ethiopian culture; I learned a few phrases in Amharic, visited Emperor Haile Selassie’s Palace Museum, won a treasure hunt, almost got recruited to a dance troupe at Yod Abyssinia and ate loads of injera from the source. It was such a fast paced, yet fun filled week, from the daily hotel pick ups and rides to work with Eyerus, Birru, Pranay and Philemon through the busy streets of Addis Ababa, to the early morning dose of amazing coffee and donuts. RENEW really is one big family, as some of the team members I had spoken to had alluded to and it was very evident during our onboarding week. I come from a very big family so it was really refreshing to see similar ideals being practiced by the RENEW team. They made sure my every need was taken care of and took a genuine interest in getting to know me.
RENEW is true to its values and ideals of being loyal and welcoming the challenge of being trailblazers. That is what made me want to join the team and that is what motivates me each day.
Rwanda has so much untapped potential and I’m looking forward to identifying and investing in exceptional individuals and businesses as part of the RENEW team. Just like you believed in me to represent RENEW in Rwanda, please believe in my fellow country people who have harnessed the culture of teamwork, community and Agaciro (dignity/pride). A recipe for success in the Rwanda investment ecosystem.
Renew Capital is an Africa-focused impact investment firm that backs innovative companies with high-growth potential. Renew Capital manages investments made on behalf of the Renew Capital Angels, a global network of angel investors, foundations and family offices who seek financial returns and sustainable social impact. For the latest on investing in Africa, subscribe and follow us at our social links below.

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