Gahaya Links and Indego Africa Draw Major U.S. Buyers
USAID COMPETE recently paid a visit to East and Central Africa Trade Hub (ECA Hub) partners Indego Africa and Gahaya Links. Both Indego Africa and Gahaya Links are Rwandan based social entrepreneurs who produce niche home décor and fashion accessories. The ECA Hub provides technical assistance to both companies to enhance their competitiveness and take advantage of opportunities available under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). This year, technical assistance included strategizing and relationship building for the recent San Francisco International Gift Fair.
Indego Africa and Gahaya Links have drawn the attention of major US companies. Joy Ndunguste of Gahaya Links said that “working with Kate Spade put us on the map.” She also mentioned that “We have done some business with Starbucks.” During our visit, Gahaya Links was putting the finishing touches on multi-colored silk bracelets destined for Anthropologie. Indego Africa was rolling out thousands of bracelets in preparation for J Crew’s spring season. Both small factories, full of women, were brimming with product and design. Janet Nkubana, Joy’s sister and business partner, stated, “Gahaya Links is always looking to create something new – It’s an industry where you have to be on your toes.” Gahaya Links and Indego Africa have capitalized on the opportunities they have been given and are fulfilling their missions of providing economic opportunities for women through entrepreneur saviness. Deidre McGuigan of Indego Africa captures the essence of both companies: Success translates to steady employment for the women artisans who make their products. “and that” she notes, “is the most important part.”