When Roselyne Nyirahategekimana graduated from university with a degree in agronomy in 2014, she found little job prospects in the labour market.
The struggle inspired her to seek to create jobs leading her to come up with an idea to process fruits into juice in Rusizi district, Nyakabuye sector.
Her initial capital was Rwf 40, 000 which she had earned from casual work.
She said that she started with producing only 20 litres per day using a small blending machine in a small operating house lent out from local authorties.
Currently, she produces between 200 litres and 300 litres of juice from passion fruits and hibiscus thanks to the support from Business Development Fund (BDF) that helped her to expand her production business.
“I initially started out producing little quantities with the help of casual labourers I had hired. However the production was on a very small scale and rare made profits. I gained more skills to improve on production quantities and in the process gained regular clientele,” she said
“Fortunately I was introduced to BDF looking for agribusiness projects to support in the beginning of 2017. My project was picked as one of those to receive support after the selection from sector to district level securing a financial support to boost production,” she narrated.
Nyirahategekimana said the BDF financial support also helped me to pay Rwf 500,000 for renting an operational premises bought a bigger machine which increased production.
“Thanks to the BDF support I bought a processing machine worth about Rwf 2 million which increased production from 20 litres to over 200 litres of juice and 100 litres of liqour per day. The increase in production enabled me to employ 7 permanent workers. I began steadily supplying to restaurants, shops and cooperatives,” she said.
The entrepreneur says farmers supply to her about 200 kilogrammes of fruits per day.
Nyirahategekimana said that from the loan and income, she also managed to open a wholesale outlet of beer from which she earns over Rwf 10, 000 per day.
“I started the wholesale with Rwf 4 million and currently it has a value of over Rwf 5 million. I can save between Rwf 10, 000 and Rwf 20, 000 from it per day. In the store, I also retail my products (juice and liquor),” she said.
She also started decoration business: “I also hired some workers who help me do decoration business for different events and places where I earn between Rwf1 million and Rwf1.5 million every quarter” she said.
The female entrepreneur has also opened a shop that sells her products in Gisozi sector in Kigali enabling her to create additional employment.
“With the shop in Kigali, I signed a management contract with employees which has motivated them to generate more income. They pay operating expenses and pay me a fixed amount every month,” she said.
She also bought a piece of land where she is growing fruits for juice production.
She says that during slow times her business ventures generate about Rwf 10,000 per day after deducting all expenses (rent, salaries, raw materials, paying back loan and about Rwf20, 000 per day during normal times.
The entrepreneur was set to start paying back the BDF beginning January next year but she has chosen to start earlier.
Nyirahategekimana has also supported vulnerable women to be in saving groups.
Nyirahategekimana has also spent her income to change lives of vulnerable women in the area especially those living with HIV/AIDs.
“I bought eight pigs from my income and gave them to eight vulnerable women to rear them to enable them have some income generating activity,” she narrated.
She grouped the women into a saving group, Nawurahabaye Saving group.
“We are currently 23 members and each saves a minimum of Rwf200 per week. We have so far saved Rwf128, 000. A member can borrow some of this money as a loan when they need to, she said.
Nyirahategekimana is also starting a rabbit rearing project for her employees whereby they have since built rabbit hutches.
Challenges and future plans
“I need to acquire my own transportation means, buy a house for my operations and expanding projects in all provinces,” she said.
BDF continues to support such agribusiness projects where for instance it seeking 60 agribusiness projects by fresh university graduates to finance as part of curbing unemployment among the youth.
The package for viable projects includes of project owner’s contribution of 10 per cent of the amounted requested from BDF, a grant of 30 per cent and BDF’s shares of 60 per cent.
The ceiling of the loan amount under the scheme is Rwf10 million with an interest of 12 per cent per annum.