Lessons from an entrepreneur

My colleagues and I recently made a trip to Nyirangarama specifically to visit different projects run by Sina Gerard. He’s the proprietor of an enterprise named after him. The most amazing part of that tour was hearing the guy’s life story; he started off in his early 20s by opening a small shop along the highway to serve travelers and people around his community. 

He would bake mandazi, sell salt and cooking oil as well as petrol. His donuts and other commodities were moving well, as the demand grew Sina opened his eyes wide to see what other opportunities were available to him. And they were immense! Today his enterprise boasts of chili products, juices, wine, yogurt, water and so much more with some of them being sold on Amazon. 

Whenever you meet people considered successful and wealthy, it is possible to assume their journey had been smooth or success was handed to them, well it could be the case for some but there are a lot of successful people where the only difference between them and their peers who never succeeded financially was their determination to make a difference in their lives and communities. The chairman or Ali Baba, Jack Ma who is stepping down this month, when asked about his business acumen and tricks he says he looks at the world and tries to imagine what problems it will face in 10 years and starts thinking of solutions to those problems. 

Isaac Nkusi, a financial advisor emphasizes the need to get ahead of the trend. Those that make things happen; Zuckerberg, Sina Gerard, and others looked around and provided for their communities something nobody else had thought of. 

There is power in moving together, that is another sound financial advice. The people that have ended up being great men and women saw problems that affected them and those around them and thought of ways of bringing that to an end. Sina’s enterprise has close to 600 permanent staff and there are times they have over 2500 casual laborers, this workforce is not shipped into Nyirangarama, it is people that were born and lived there and as they serve you see them do so with a smile that says ‘this is our man, a man with our best interest at heart and this is where our bread comes from.’ 

The community has a nursery and primary school where pupils study for free, there’s a beautiful secondary school complex that offers a bursary for those not able to afford fees, there is another school and a chapel within the same locality all aimed at ensuring life for the people that live around Nyirangarama is enviable.  

I was blown away when I came face to face with Sina, how can a man be so revered yet be so humble? Does he know who he is? 

A wealthy person will always be wealthy and a rich one will only be rich for a short time. As you set off on the journey to entrepreneurship focus on moving with others and success and wealth will be yours.