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First U.S.-Based Venture Capital Fund Focused on Rwanda Makes its Inaugural Investment.

DENVER -- Thousand Hills Venture Fund (THVF), the only for-profit venture capital fund investing in small and medium-sided enterprises in Rwanda, announced today its inaugural investment in Rocket 2020, a provider of products, services and technology connectivity to small businesses throughout Rwanda. Headquartered in Denver, Colo., THVF provides a rare and exclusive way for U.S. investors to participate in the growth of promising businesses and entrepreneurs in developing countries.

"Many people in the United States see African countries like Rwanda only through the lens of non-profits and naturally assume that for-profit investment opportunities do not exist," said Rob Fogler, co-founder and managing director of THVF. "The reality is - Africa is rich with entrepreneurs that need access to capital so that they can build their own economies. Private equity investment like THVF encourages innovation and growth in developing countries without dependency on charity and aid."

Rwanda is ripe for investment, and according to the IFC/World Bank 2006 annual report, Rwanda is the top business reformer in Africa. As a world leader in 'soft' infrastructure Rwanda offers investors:

--Stable economic growth, modest inflation, transparent institutions, a corruption-free environment, friendly investment laws, commitment to higher education and private sector development

--Rapid development in 'hard' infrastructure, with its aggressive promotion of private sector information and communications (ICT) development, including an advanced fiber-optic network, country-wide wireless internet and numerous technology education institutes

--Fast-growing export sectors, including high-quality coffee, tea, etc.

--A vibrant banking sector that has received significant foreign investment, upgraded its technology infrastructure and introduced innovative new lending products

--A safe and secure environment, which hosts five-star accommodations and resorts

Rocket 2020 is the first of many investments THVF will be making in Rwanda. Much like FedEx Kinko's in the United States, Rocket 2020 provides rural business owners access to the products and services they need to successfully operate growing businesses. With plans to open its first five stores this summer and expand its locations to 15-20 stores within the first 24 months, Rocket 2020 will be servicing the needs of Rwandan businesses from the country's capital, Kigali, to wide-spread rural marketplaces.

Rocket 2020 will hold several roles in the Rwandan business workplace, including:

--A reliable hub for computer services and communications, including phone, fax, computers and internet access

--A wholesaler and retailer to small merchants

--A distribution channel for large businesses, the Rwandan government and other non-governmental organizations

In correlation with THVF's core strategy, Rocket 2020 has assembled a first-rate board of directors, and it will follow THVF's strict requirements for financial reporting, accounting transparency and corporate governance.

About Thousand Hills Venture Fund

Founded in 2004 as the only for-profit, U.S.-based venture capital fund focused on small and medium-sized enterprises anywhere in Africa, THVF provides U.S.-based investors a unique way to invest in promising businesses and entrepreneurs in developing countries. THVF focuses on the "financing gap" that exists in many developing countries -- which includes investments above micro-finance levels but below the minimum amount typically required by existing private equity funds. THVF targets its investments in Rwanda due to its friendly investment environment, rapid infrastructure development and potential for revolutionary productivity gains, making it one of the most promising African nations for venture capital investment. For more information please visit www.THVF.com.

About Rocket 2020

Funded by Thousand Hills Venture Fund (THVF), Rocket 2020 is a provider of products and services to small businesses throughout Rwanda. Rocket 2020 functions as a wholesaler and a retailer to small merchants; a reliable hub for communications and computer services, including phone, fax, computers and internet access; and as a trusted distribution channel for large businesses, the Rwandan government and other non-government organizations. A technology-driven company, Rocket 2020 is comprised of a network operating center, a central warehouse in Kigali, Rwanda, and retail store locations in marketplaces outside of Kigali along Rwanda's main roads and trade routes.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:0DEVE
Date:Aug 22, 2006
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