There is a story behind every entrepreneurial journey. Some entrepreneurs embark on it in search for financial freedom, the need to help others, while others seek to address existing challenges in communities.
People’s Sharon Kantengwa and Donah Mbabazi caught up with a few entrepreneurs who shared their experience, and the inspiration behind it.
Jackline Tumukunde, Founder of Jallyn Travels, a tour company
It was a reshuffle that served as my wake up call. At the time, I worked in the administration office of a government institution, but my job wasn’t fulfilling, it wasn’t challenging for me and I wanted more. I thought of quitting but that was a tough choice to make. But when changes were made at work and I was set to be transferred to another place, I knew it was time for me to quit and pursue my dream as an entrepreneur.
Eric Birasa, Owner of Ian Boutique
As a designer, I have always thought that the intersection of elegance and chic was the best place for fashion. I used to travel abroad to import finished garments but inspired by our President. I have come to agree that we not only have the taste for elegance and chic, we can also create and produce it. This conviction was the birth of Ian Collection. Here at Ian Collection we design and create exclusively at that intersection for our clients’ wedding day, work and social life. We do this by utilising both good taste and refined skill. Currently, our garments are exclusively sold at Ian Boutique but of course we aspire to expand the availability of our garments to other stores.
Jean Pierre Mugwaneza Proprietor of Petersbakers
I have always loved baking. So when I started my bakery, it was more of wanting to pursue my passion. Baking is something that I have always been passionate about, that’s why I decided to pursue it as my profession and serve my community through the food industry.
Yvonne Nyinawumuntu, Founder of GoCook
GoCook is an online platform that connects people to chefs for home cooked meals.
I came up with this idea because people love home-cooked meals. I, therefore, wanted them to access healthy meals regardless of their hectic schedules. I also aimed at solving the issue of unemployment among people who pursued culinary arts.
Nadia Uwamahoro, Founder and Chief Executive at Data Systems
My father is a mathematician with a commercial background and since childhood, he inspired me to do more. I became a computer engineer and ICT specialist because I love efficiency, time saving and I hate unnecessary spending.
My firm is a software company that creates mobile applications and software as a service including web applications from scratch with a branch in Ghana. Our flagship product is ‘e-shuri’ a learning application that facilitates distance learning and academic resources such as interactive teaching videos and teacher- student collaboration online.
Remmy Lubega, Proprietor of online grocery market, kimironkomarket.rw
For five years, my company RG Consult has been involved mostly in events management and entertainment. When the pandemic struck early this year, the local events scene was one of the most severely affected with physical concerts and events halted all together, something that affected the survival chances of RG-Consult and its staff. We had to think ways to diversify and repurpose our operations which is how we established an online grocery market www.kimironkomarket.rw.
We had experience from our online ticketing system, rgtickets.com that was an enabler for us to transform part of our events business to e-commerce. So it became somehow more applicable to adapt a grocery store online.
Tapping into Kigali’s arguably most popular grocery market, Kimironko market that is frequented for fresh groceries, we distinguish ourselves in the local market by creating packages of various products sought from groceries.
Olivier Mbarushimana, Creator of Isubyo House of Arts
My inspiration came from my admiration of beautiful wooden products. This is why I decided to start a workshop that made art pieces, furniture and sculptures, among others, that integrated art with modern wood design.
Natacha Baranyuzwe, CEO of Baranyuzwe Cosmetics Limited
I observed a lack in the pharmaceutical industry, compliance of certain medicines was hard for they had side effects yet were very expensive. My aim was to enable Rwandans access natural products with the ability to protect people from bacteria without any side effects, unlike modern medicine.
Agnes Mukamushinja, Managing director - Nova Coffee
My father was an agronomist who loved coffee a lot and influenced coffee growing in our home area. He taught us everything about coffee that we needed to know and instilled the passion for it in us. When the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi broke out, coffee lost value as Rwandans sought survival.
When my husband set up Nova Coffee in 2003, I decided to step in, in 2005. All the things I learned through experience and in my entrepreneurship class showed that there were some loopholes in the coffee business, and I realised that I needed to reawaken my passion for coffee and contribute to its economic growth.
Paulin Murego, CEO - ECOMEM Group
I’m passionate about hygiene and when Ebola broke out in Congo in 2018, I needed to think of a solution that is smarter and less risky to contamination. Working in partnership with SATO, we delivered compact and portable hand-wash sink stations, with a hands-free water dispenser activated via foot pump and a drainage hose length of 2.7 ft. When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, I got overwhelming demand that I eventually ran out of stock. People preferred these sinks because they are smart and are quick to assemble for on-site setup.