Varsity students seek to address unemployment through tourism

Citybuddiz members with a group of tourists from Belgium in the countryside. Courtesy Photos.

A group of six young entrepreneurs have productively found ways to fill their time while at the university.

David Kwizera, one of the members said when they met at the campus, they starting looking for avenues that could earn them a living while at the same time not very distant from their courses.

The six students are in their second and third years at African Leadership University (ALU), and Kepler University.

Through the student Ventures Program (SVP), a program at ALU, they were guided on how to start an enterprise.

Some of the  Citybuddiz members chat with celebrated British model and actress Naomi Campbel.

The programme is mandated to facilitate students who are passionate about starting their own businesses.

Early this year, the group decided to come up with a tourism company Citybuddiz.

This is a youth-led community of local adventurers that works to ease travelers’ experience in the country through adventure games, ready support systems for travelers, business tours, experiential travels and city sightseeing experiences.

The company offers city tours and also facilitates local and international tourists move around the city for leisure and business purposes.

A group photo of some of the Citybuddiz members.

The enterprise goal is creating genuine connections among travelers, locals, and places.

All the six students have a common interest in environmental conservation.

According to them, their drive is to spark eco-innovation and environmental literacy and empower young people to be the driving force of the growth in the tourism industry on the continent.

Common goal

Kwizera said each of the members grew up and hails from a community where there are few income-generating opportunities.

“We felt that it was our responsibility to do something to reduce the unemployment rate among the youth and leverage on the opportunities around us,” said the twenty-year-old.

 Kwizera pointed out that in the first place as a group, they thought of a way of bringing in innovation and a variety of services into the tourism sector.

 After discussions and school research, the group realized that as the world gets more and more connected, tourism is increasingly playing an integral role in job creation and contributing to global economic growth.

This, according to Kwizera is mainly due to the growing need to build social relationships, explore opportunities, learn and grow, and discover different places and cultures around the world.

 Through the research, the group found out that over 3.8 million jobs could be created by the tourism industry in Sub-Saharan Africa, over the next 10 years.

In Rwanda alone, more than 60 per cent of service revenues come from tourism.

“This raised a concern of making sure that we leverage on this growth and also make it sustainable to benefit our generation and future generations, hence we initiated Citybuddiz,” he added.

Because of this, the group believed that the only way a sustainable tourism can be achieved on the continent is through the involvement of young people in the tourism sector, the creation of an inclusive conservation and introducing more tourism products.

 He said that their primary mission included empowering young people to be the driving force of the growth in the tourism industry on the continent.

When it came to starting out this kind of the business, Kwizera said they didn’t see financial capital as their limitation; adding that their major investment was time and ideas.

Being in an enabling business environment, he said that they have thrived without needing to invest much financially.

However, in the onset, he said putting the idea into the action was a challenge since some of them had no background in tourism.

Moving forward

Through involving different people who shared their expertise in the field they have been able to learn from experience from other players in the field.

The firm now been able to take on about 40 university students.

Over they time in operation, they have managed to serve over 350 clients, including renowned fashion icon Naomi Campbell and Sherry Silver an actor and choreographer.

They have also gotten to work with some big organizations including, Ondernemers Voor Ondernemers (OVO), ALU School of Business and Goucher College.

The group is also looking to creating a strong foundation in Rwanda by 2020 before expanding to other African countries.

“This is because we are aiming at providing employment to young people and address unemployment challenges,” he added.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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