Investors on the need to boost Rwandan businesses

Robert Nava teaches students and entreprenuers about digital marketing. Courtesy.

Having started a digital marketing agency in the USA that turned out to be success, with a number of people promoting their businesses online, Robert Nava decided to target Rwanda to extend his digital marketing skills through training students and business owners on digital marketing and its essence.

The entrepreneur, with nine years of experience, teamed up with two colleagues, Michael Chandler from the US, and Lionel Rugero from Kigali, and formed a company known as ‘Marketing Rwanda’, which was officially launched this year.

“When I interacted with some Rwandans, I discovered that they have zeal for learning and working which kept me positive that I could invest in Rwanda,” he says.

Robert Nava CEO Marketing Rwanda. Joan Mbabazi.

He says that it doesn’t matter what course one took on in college as in the world that is evolving, different skills are required. One can add a short course in e-commerce or digital marketing. This can help market businesses from scratch by just using a computer or phone.

He explains that since he wanted to equip the youth and entrepreneurs with digital marketing skills in e-commerce, he started a school called ‘Digital Entrepreneur Rwanda’ located in Kiyovu, a Kigali suburb. It offers short and long courses so that people can start businesses on their own and employ other Rwandans.

Lionel Rugero, Co founder Marketing Rwanda. Joana Mbabazi.

Nava explains that some classes take three to five weeks, others include online quizzes and at the end of the semester, students are tested on what they learnt.

“I believe that there are thousands of opportunities that are waiting to be fulfilled after this training. For the youth out there, digital marketing is a business you need to start without capital, or an office. The most important thing is believing that you can do it and finding what it takes to do it,” he says.

Chandler, the co-founder of the company, notes that if you lack time or money for the course, you can teach digital marketing to yourself through tutorials on YouTube, and if you are committed and persistent, you will learn in the shortest time, thus creating a positive impact on Rwanda through businesses in and outside the country.

Michael Chandler, Co founder Marketing Rwanda. Joan Mbabazi.

Rugero, partner of ‘Marketing Rwanda’, says that after graduating in e-commerce, he tried searching for jobs and failed, which compelled him to be the person that brings change to society using his skills.

He says digital marketing is an asset for small scale business; it offers small businesses the possibility to compete against various major businesses in the same field. However, digital marketing can be an expensive investment if you don’t know what you are doing, what strategy you are supposed to firmly follow and who your target audience is.

Nava says that digital marketing entails local listing, social media marketing, e-mail marketing, video marketing, and content marketing.

Rugero says, compared to traditional marketing, digital marketing is cost-friendly and simple to use as it offers opportunities for all kinds of businesses, conveys conversion, assists in generating better revenues, eases interaction with targeted audiences, caters to the mobile consumers, constructs brand status and most of all, it helps you earn people’s trust.

While using digital marketing, Chandler notes that it is important to develop a strong digital presence, stay updated (for instance, keep on top of industry news by following major digital marketing sites and influential people on social media); networking is very important, enclose yourself with people more talented than yourself.

He adds that you shouldn’t be afraid to take risks, for instance; take on the least task to learn new skills. Be willing to adjust hastily, take control of your career and don’t wait for others to push it forward for you. You should, therefore, think about the goals you want to achieve and the steps needed to attain them.


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