Young entrepreneur trying her hand in pumpkin products

Ange Mukagahima is the brains behind Kazima Enterprise, a company that makes pastries like (bread, cake, cookies), pumpkin flour, roasted seeds, pumpkin seed flour. Her common ingredient is pumpkins.

The fresh economics graduate wanted to be her own boss from the start, which drove her to participate in a number of entrepreneurship trainings that enabled her refine her business idea.

Her company is located  in Nyamabuye Sector in Muhanga District.

How she started out

Mukagahima started with Rwf5,000 when she draft out the idea and bought some pumpkins for the start.

She acquired business skills from Digital Opportunity Trust Rwanda (DOT) an NGO that empowers youth on how to start up social businesses and BPN -Business Professionals Network that helped her to run the business professionally and make clear plans of what exactly to do.

The company started last year when she participated in the YouthConnekt competition against 90 other competitors on the national level where she managed to emerge among the lucky winners and walked away with Rwf6 million, which she used as capital for her business.

The entrepreneur started the company with a colleague, and after a period of time they managed to employ other four permanent workers and a few part time employees.

“It started as an idea and now its worth about Rwf7 million as a result of our efforts,” Mukagahima said.

What prompted her to start up her company was to solve three main problems at her village in Muhanga and these were; youth unemployment, rural farmers’ development and shortage of food supply.

Challenges, achievememnts

The young entrepreneur says that some of the challenges she has encountered include finding an appropriate location for her company to meet the RSB Standard, packaging while still requires improvement and also finding skilled employees is still a problem.

“So far, I am glad that I am my own boss, and also this is a platform for me to develop my skills and talent,” she explains.

Her wish is to empower and teach other youth about the pumpkin business to enable them start up small businesses on their own to reduce on the rate of unemployment.

Through the trade shows, Mukagahima’s market has increased as she has been able to advertise, get new customers and accessibility of her products to a variety of people with some making inquiries on the health benefits of the pumpkin products, the prices and much more.

Advice to the youth

“Try many times and fail but at least you will have tried, do not look at money first when you are starting up a business, the first step is to start the business and then money will come with time,” she says.

The fresh graduate further says that pumpkin muffins, cookies, and cakes contain macro nutrients that provide energy to the body, like proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

Roasted pumpkin seeds on the other hand have a variety of nutrients ranging from magnesium and manganese to copper, proteins and zinc, which are nutritional and help ease insomnia and lose weight.

Pumpkin seeds flour is a great source of iron, vitamins B, and E, fibre, oil, minerals, and pumpkin flour can also be used in preparing soup, porridge and mixed with other food.

Pumpkin muffins range from Rwf300 to Rwf500, pumpkin cookies from Rwf1,000 to Rwf2,000,roasted pumpkin seeds from Rwf2,000 to Rwf 6,000 per Kilogramme while pumpkin cakes range from  Rwf2,000 to Rwf20,000 (wedding cake).

Pumpkin flour ranges from Rwf2,000 to Rwf5,000.

Future plans

“In about five years, we shall expand our market effectively to serve districts of, Huye, Muhanga and Kigali, this will increase on employment opportunities as well,” she notes.

The firm is also looking forward to improving on the quality of the products through teaching more workers on how to make high quality food stuff and buying machines that will help improve the volume by producing much in a short time with good quality.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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