You don’t have to be old to make a breakthrough in business. As they say, age is just a number, and that applies to Denzel Sharangabo, who at just 19 is finding his foot in the business world. Many young entrepreneurs shy away from agribusinesses given the hard work involved but Sharangabo, who describes himself as a ‘passionate young entrepreneur’, saw an opportunity in poultry. The eldest of four siblings and founder of Truth Enterprises is one of the leading suppliers of eggs in the country. Sharangabo works with poultry farmers from across the country, who sell him eggs and he also distributes them. Through his company, Sharangabo does wholesale and retail distribution of eggs, a delicate business he did not fear to venture into. As delicate as they are, dealing in eggs can be a very fragile business, but not for the determined young man. “We work with different farmers across the country, then we bring their products, which are eggs, in large quantities, which we sell to different bakeries, restaurants, and supermarkets,” says Sharangabo, stating that the poultry business is his core business. The African Leadership University (ALU) student also runs a shop for eggs where people come and buy in retail and it is from eggs that he got his capital to reinvest and grow. “I’ve been passionate about business for as long as I can remember. As soon as I finished high school, last year in June, I did not join the university right away. I went to look for a job and then after that job, I was not quite satisfied with being on a payroll every month. I really wanted financial freedom. I wanted to work on my own terms,” says Sharangabo, who completed his secondary studies at Nu Vision High School. Amazed by agriculture Sharangabo says he wanted to be innovative which is why he came up with his own project. He points out that he was inspired by the parents of two of his friends in the neighbourhood, who were involved in agriculture. “I kept wondering what’s also so special about it,” the farming enthusiast pondered before eventually settling for poultry and particularly eggs, because the demand was there. Given the cost of eggs, suppliers were not consistent and that is where he saw the opportunity. After consulting a few people, including his friend’s parents, he made the bold move to be the supplier. His friend’s parents agreed to be giving him eggs but in small quantities, say 8 to 12 trays, which he would stock and move around looking for clients. “It was quite hard. I didn’t have a shop or anything. I had to move around and enter shops and introduce myself and what I was selling. It was really quite tough,” he recalls. The more he moved around, the more he got more clients and slowly the quantity of eggs he was selling started increasing from 10 to 50 trays, then 100 trays and today his shop distributes about 700 trays of eggs per week—650 trays on average. Starting off If you are waiting to save millions to start a business, then certainly you need to learn a thing or two from the teenager. The first job he got after high school gave him an allowance, not a salary, and the weekly allowance of Rwf25, 000, which could procure about 10 trays of eggs, is the capital he started with. “For people who are scared to venture into business, capital is not only money. Capital is knowledge of managing that money, experience of being with money connections you have with people,” he says. He advises people who want to venture into business to try out a few things before doing so. On his part, his first job taught him how to use Excel, a skill which helps him run his business today. From venturing out, you pick up a few skills and experience which help you when you go into running your own business. His other inspiration was identifying the product with sustainable demand, which is almost permanent because eggs are needed every day because they are a raw material, whether in businesses or homes. He was confident that if he found farmers who can consistently supply him with eggs, the market would be readily available and also, not so many people go into the egg business, given how delicate they are. Even though he might diversify into other businesses, Sharangabo says he will never stop dealing in eggs because they are a foundation of everything he is doing and it is a business he has fallen in love with. Like any other business, Sharangabo encountered challenges because eggs are not only delicate, they also have an expiration time stamp and the market is in a way competitive. You have to have your prices right because even the profit is of a small margin. Luckily, he has not been in a situation where eggs expire or go bad in store. “I have not had an experience where my eggs expire because they move a lot and they are exotic. They’re not local eggs. Exotic eggs last longer,” he says. At his age, not many people believed him when he walked into shops and supermarkets, some being hesitant to trust an 18-year-old to supply them with good eggs. However, as soon as they would give him an opportunity, he would prove them wrong by supplying the best eggs and consistently. Sharangabo says that beyond having a business idea, one needs passion to pursue it and bring it to life, regardless of the challenges. “Personally, I love entrepreneurship. I love the freedom that comes with it. I love being able to think of something and implement it without asking my boss.” “I would really encourage the youth to go into entrepreneurship, to stop being scared and invest whatever they have invested in knowledge,” he says, but also acknowledges that entrepreneurship is not for everyone. He, however, says that if you go into white collar jobs, you can still achieve your goals but one thing for sure, there isn’t a lot of time in this world. Do whatever you want to do now. Sharangabo has had the chance to be inspired by her parents, particularly his mother, who is a businesswoman. His parents encouraged him to be honest, focus on the work and not the money. The money comes as a result of doing what you do very well. He calls on the youth to be positive and believe that everything is possible in life, and should never be disappointed in pursuing whatever they want to achieve. Denzel Sharangabo’s Truth Enterprises is located in Kicukiro and you can reach him on 0781833918.