How Gakenke's master chef is making a fortune

When you visit Marthe Mukamutara at her workplace, you can hardly tell that her business is only four years old. The business woman in Gakenke District runs a modern restaurant with a conference hall, a modern pub, among other facilities.
The business lady holds buffet trays in the kitchen.
The business lady holds buffet trays in the kitchen.

When you visit Marthe Mukamutara at her workplace, you can hardly tell that her business is only four years old.

The business woman in Gakenke District runs a modern restaurant with a conference hall, a modern pub, among other facilities.

She also practices modern farming, growing vegetables of various varieties.

Mukamutara left her family in Ngoma District, Eastern Province to start the business in Gakenke in the Northern Province.

Her relocation to Gakenke was due to the fact that her family had stayed there over the past decade before shifting to Ngoma and she knew the area was still unexploited in terms of business.

Besides, her husband was unable to work due to illness. This meant she had to fend for the family single handedly.

How she started

Mukamutara’s journey has not been a bed of roses.

“My initial capital was a paltry Rwf80, 000 which I used to start a small restaurant business,” she says.

“I used the money to pay rent and buy basic materials,” the 50-year-old adds.

1425503129ACT
Mukamutara makes a salad in the kitchen of her restaurant. 

Mukamutara’s turning point, however, came when she won a tender to feed about 1,000 people in a women workshop funded by Women Investment Fund.

But despite the milestone, Mukamutara had no means to buy all the food items quoted and decided to secure a loan from a bank.

“I had a presentable purchase order which I presented and although I had only Rwf200, 000 on my account, I was able to secure a Rwf3 million loan repayable in three weeks,” she says.

She says she believed the loan facility would enable her reap big.

“I secured the money and was able to feed all the participants. I worked tirelessly and at the end of the one-week training, I was paid Rwf6 million,” she says.

Mukamutara says the money was enough for her to repay the loan and remain with Rwf3 million.

Motivation

Mukamutara says the benefits from the workshop motivated her to expand her business.

“My clientele base grew and I had to look for a larger place to operate from,” she says, adding that she continued working with banks and requested for another loan facility after a year.

“I realised that it was possible to operate on a large scale and after I acquired a Rwf15 million loan facility, I constructed my own building and stopped renting,” she says.

Mukamutara says saving on rent has enabled her inject more money in her business.

But she believes she still has a long way to go.

“I am planning to expand my activities and help encourage other women feel confident to take on the hitherto male dominated jobs,” she says.

She also plans to venture into horticulture as she believes it is another unexploited venture.

“Horticulture has been neglected yet it boasts a ready market. I will soon venture into this business,” she says.

1425503282FUTURE
You reap what you sow. Mukamutara in the car she bought using profits from her business. (Photos by Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti)

Achievement

Mukamutara has managed to construct her own house. She has a conference hall, restaurant and pub, among other facilities. She has also managed to buy her own car which she uses for her business.

Her estimated earning per month is between Rwf800, 000 and Rwf1 million.

“I have registered a huge profit and I have acquired enough experience. Besides what I have bought, I manage to pay school fees for 12 children, some of them are at university. I also managed to buy a plot of land,” she says.

Her advice to other women is to defy all odds and set targets to be achieved.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

ADVERTISEMENT