Entrepreneur’s experience setting up Rwanda’s only windscreen repair firm

Does one always have to buy a new windscreen whenever they have a crack even if it is a small one? Arthur Murara an emerging entrepreneur sought to answer the question with his venture.

After working with an NGO for over a decade, Murara started his own IT company in 2012, which unfortunately didn’t work out, leaving him jobless.

During this period, the thirty-eight-year-old who is also an IT engineer used to visit a friend who was his mechanic.

Murara at work repairing a vehicle windscreen. 

He observed that throughout his time there, all problems car owners had with their cars, were fixed immediately and there was always an alternative, with the exception of broken windscreens. There was no alternative to the challenge as opposed to buying a replacement.

This caught his attention as he began seeking a solution to the challenge which led him to start researching upon which he came across an American company fixing the problem.

After six months of training in the US, he came back equipped with the knowledge which he was ready to put into practice in 2015.

In 2017, he started a company known as Pure Pro.

An example of a cracked windscreen before repair.Courtesy photo

The firm replicates and uses innovative technology in the automobile industry of windshield cracks and chips repair. It is mainly done in Canada, USA, France, among other few developed countries.

 Traditionally, he said it has been known that whenever a vehicle glass gets damaged, one has to replace it by a new one, which is quite expensive for car owners and also has negative consequences on the environment as it increases the amounts of glass that ends up in landfills.

The business, he says is always on its peak during rainy seasons.

The materials used are made up of the same material that is used in the manufacturing of glass, with that repairing is more like filling a gap.

Moving forward

Murara presented his business idea during an expo organized by Rwanda Development Board in partnership with the Business Development Center, where they were supporting emerging SMEs.

 As luck would have it, he got a sponsor from the USA who supported him with the machines needed to start the business.

The government has injected in a lot of money in environment protection but there is still no recycling plant for the glasses, Murara said.

 By repairing, he aims to minimise the number of glasses that end up dumped in landfills and the wetlands which has dangerous to the environment.

According to him, in every twenty cars, there is at least one with broken glass.

However; he says people still don’t get the concept of car windscreen being repaired.

“A glass is a very expensive part of the car; it costs $500 to $1,000 in developed countries. Surprisingly, here one can get it at Rwf 50, 000, the quality is definitely not good,” he says.

As their slogan goes ‘repair first and replaces when it’s really necessary’, he believes people can maintain their original car screens if they only know the value of repairing instead of replacing.

“We really mind about one’s dream car, if they have to replace the car glass, they make sure they do it professionally that one would not even notice that there was ever a crack,” he said.

The guarantee that the car will look as new as it was depends on the duration the glass has been broken, he clarified.

“When we immediately work on a newly cracked glass, one would not notice it was cracked in the first place,” he said.

“When one takes time and the dust get into the crack, it becomes challenging to conceal making it visible even after it’s been repaired,” he added.

He noted that repairing a broken glass is way less costly compared to buying new glass.

For instance, a car glass can cost around Rwf 150,000 to replace but repairing cost between Rwf 25,000 and Rwf30, 000 maximum.

Challenges and future plans

There is a need for sensitization for people to understand that the solution exists.

As the only one who has the skill, he said that it’s not easy to satisfy the whole market.

Currently, he has a class of 30 students that he is training on car screen repair with 20 per cent of them being girls.

“We are also trying to change the mindset of people, being a mechanic is not only about heavy greasy work, but there is also room for multiple innovation and solutions,” he said.

He said that most of the work by car mechanics can now be computerized and embraced the digital trends which creates opportunities for a wide range of players.

Murara said he is planning to start an incubation center, a technological school which will serve as an industrial training center.

“Today in the market, there are a lot of technicians that are produced by TVET and other technical schools but when they come out, they are equipped with technical knowledge theoretically,” he said adding that the market needs practical technicians.

Achievements

In 2018, he was selected as one of the young entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to receive a zero-interest loan by Bank of Kigali.

At his garage, he has since set up a carwash further expanding his revenue streams and recently received a grant from the World Bank through Workforce Development Authority to train the emerging practitioners, with plans to employ at least 70 per cent of them

He started out with one employee and now has six permanent workers.

Through his work, he has managed to take in 13 orphans whom he is taking care off.  He also managed to buy his own car from the proceeds.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

 

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