Murebwayire on the hurdles and rewards of self-employment
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10 years ago, Jacky Murebwayire was a graduate with a dream. After attaining her degree in Management from University of Rwanda’s College of Science and Technology, (Kigali Institute of Science, Technology and Management at the time),
Murabwayire took on an accounting job at a Belgian company in Kigali for four years. During this time, she saved up some money with hope of opening her own tours and travel company. She quit her job and put her dream into action. That is how Juncture Travel & Safaris was born. The mother of three and the president of Rwanda Travel Agency Association, shares her journey with Women Today’s Sharon Katengwa.
What was the experience like in the beginning?
Even though I studied management at university, travelling has always been a hobby so I was inclined to pursue a career within that field. It was not easy in the beginning but at the time, I had a friend and a sister in-law who had experience in tours and travel and they were of great help to me. They advised me to hire experienced personnel and get some training to enable me learn some skills. I eventually learnt from my own staff how they operate, and also took on some courses on tourism which I combined with my managerial skills.
Looking back to where you started, are you proud of the decision you made?
I am glad that I did not give myself room for self-doubt. As soon as the idea came to mind, I started immediately and saw all my dreams go into place. I can say that I am proud of myself and that I have accomplished most of my goals. I have employees who help me and I have time for my family and studies while I earn a living. The advantage about having your own business is that you can work according to your own schedule while taking care of your family.
How have you been able to handle the competition that comes with this kind of business?
It’s the good services and customer care that I offer my clients. I work by the notion that clients will only come to you when they know that you have something unique to offer. My secret comes in always being responsive to my clients at any time, even when my employees are off duty or at home.
What interests you about this kind of job?
Working with smart people and getting to meet many people and travel to many countries and places. You get exposed to many adventures and it is fun. Meeting many people gives way to many opportunities.
What do you attribute your success to?
Having continuous business plans. Every year I make new business plans to make sure that I improve my business and give myself a chance to correct my mistakes. This helps me keep track of the success of my business.
What do you find challenging about your work?
There are a lot of Rwandans who do not understand the concept of supporting their country’s tourism. We are doing our best to educate them but it is not easy.
What is your view on Rwanda’s tour and travel sector?
The travel and tour sector is a key to the fast development of our country. We have a big role to play in educating Rwandans on the importance of embracing research.
Where do see your company in the next 10 years?
In the next 10 years my company shall have branches and subsidiaries all over the nation. It shall be the best tour operator with connections in very many other countries. We want to contribute to the positive image of our country.