High school dropouts aim to become IT gurus

When one visits the Digital Creations (DC) Ltd, the impression they get is that the company is owned by a professor or renown business mogul. Located in Kigali City’s Kimihurura Sector of Nyarugenge District, the three-year-0ld company is jointly owned by Ben Munyemana, 26, and Jean Bosco Tuyishime, 25.
Munyemana (left) and Tuyishime (3rd left) with some of their employees at their office in Kimihurura. (Athan Tashobya)
Munyemana (left) and Tuyishime (3rd left) with some of their employees at their office in Kimihurura. (Athan Tashobya)

When one visits the Digital Creations (DC) Ltd, the impression they get is that the company is owned by a professor or renown business mogul.

Located in Kigali City’s Kimihurura Sector of Nyarugenge District, the three-year-0ld company is jointly owned by Ben Munyemana, 26, and Jean Bosco Tuyishime, 25.

The company’s office, a two-storey apartment with posh cars parked outside and with state-of-the-art furniture leaves visitors with imaginations of a billionaire’s office.

The two young men share something in common; they both dropped out of school after completing S6 in 2008 and they have a passion for Information Technology (IT).

Munyemana, co-founder and Managing Director of DC, says their dream was to marry technology with graphic design and come up with unique products that would match the modern day innovations in technology.

The two young men had worked in separate IT media and communications firms, where they gained some skills in Information Technology.

However, government’s call for youth to be job creators rather than job seekers inspired the two friends to start up their own firm.

“We only had skills related to computer science and graphic design which we acquired from secondary schools. Our focus was to use that background to create application and design websites, among other IT solutions,” Munyemana said.

The dream of having a vibrant business firm was made possible when they were joined by another youthful content development professional and technology enthusiast Elvis Shema, 24, in mid 2013.

Shema is an IT and Electronics graduate from the University of Rwanda (UR)’s College of Science and Technology.

During the interview, Munyemana told The New Times that the company makes about Rwf5 million per month.

“When we resigned our respective jobs, we embarked on casual IT projects. We walked with our laptops around town looking for jobs. We were basically a walking workshop,” Munyemana said.

He said they used to do their job assignments from restaurants and hand in finished work to clients thereafter.

“We had no money to rent an office then, so we could go to one of the restaurants which had Wi-Fi internet and do our job from there,” Tuyishime said.

The core mission of their business venture was to emphasize collective creativity and use of technology to solve local technological challenges.

“We wanted to develop technology solutions through innovative technology; like solving Rwandan technological challenges using our own technology applications,” Munyemana noted.

Digital Creations has so far worked with a number of private and public institutions, including the Central Bank, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido), and the Business Development Fund (BDF).

Among other partners include the East Africa Commodities Exchange (EAX), Olleh Rwanda networks, Airtel and Tigo telecommunication.

Munyemana says their company’s most successful project is the new smart forex bureau software managers of Mirror and Findrates.

The two applications have been widely used by local and regional forex bureaus like Dahabshill, among other individual users.

“Mirror awaits approval from the National Bank of Rwanda, which we hope will be done early this year so that we can launch it to many other local forex bureaus,” Munyemana said.

Among other uses, Mirror software gives accurate foreign exchange rates and financial results to its users in forex bureaus and banks and helps in editing accounts details.

Findrates is a mobile application available in android phones and helps users convert currency and locate banks and Forex Bureaus from mobile devices.

“About 12 forex bureaus in Rwanda are using at least one of our applications. We believe in creativity and innovation,” said Tuyishime, DC’s operational manager.

Lesson to fellow youth

Munyemana says passion and honesty are key drivers to success.

“You will never achieve anything in life singlehandedly; and for that reason, you need to be an honest and passionate team player in order to succeed,” he said.

Munyemana is proud to have partnered with his colleagues to inspire fellow youths to achieve even bigger things in life.

“Education is not the ultimate route to success, but rather a stimulus to a successful end. If you love what you do, just go for it,” Munyemana says.

Munyemana and Tuyishime dropped out of school because they were offered similar courses (accounting) at university yet they had passion for IT and Computer Science respectively.

They later opted for short courses in Information and Technology (IT).

“I did not go to school to pass exams. I wanted to acquire skills that would enable me to succeed. That’s why I focused on IT because I had passion for it,” Tuyishime said.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

Have Your SayLeave a comment