Tourism, SMEs present enormous opportunities for young Rwandans

Editor, This is with reference to your article, “What business can I start with Rwf200,000? (The New Times, April 30)”
Tourists trek through Nyungwe national park. (File)
Tourists trek through Nyungwe national park. (File)

Editor,

This is with reference to your article, “What business can I start with Rwf200,000? (The New Times, April 30)”.

Joyce Kirabo and a host of readers of your newspaper have given a very wide range of options and suggestions to Janet, who unfortunately, was recently fired from her job and who has three little children to care for.

Please allow me to share with Janet the enormous potential that exists in Rwanda’s tourism sector where she can start off — with little or no capital — by being a tour guide.

The tourism industry in Rwanda is growing at an enormous pace. In fact, this industry is presently the highest foreign exchange earner for the country. As Janet is already in the field of marketing, it will not be difficult for her to get into the marketing of tourism products and services.

Let me share with Janet and your esteemed readers a true story of a young waitress whom I met during the Transform Africa Conference at the Kigali Serena Hotel. She, too, was out of a job, with only a temporary job at the hotel.

The young waitress was invited to assist the undersigned during the Rwanda Calling Conference last year, an initiative that brings together businesspersons and investors to explore opportunities in Rwanda. The hard work put in by the waitress caught the attention of a delegate from Thailand, who not only took the waitress for a three-month training in Bangkok, but paid for her passport, visa, accommodation, meals and all expenses during the training.

Today, the waitress is armed with international experience, a certificate and more importantly, she is gainfully employed in Nairobi.

We would be more than pleased to help and guide Janet, as she is so inclined towards tourism and would like to make a career in one of the world’s fastest growing industries.

Clarence Fernandes, India

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According to Janet’s savings and family situation (Rwf200,000 and three kids), if she doesn’t have a husband who helps her cover daily expenditures or another stream of revenue, she may need to get another source of capital to be able to do business and face the coming days’ financial demand.

However, I believe that the most important thing to do now is to identify her talent(s) and capabilities to determine which service she can offer, and be paid for.

I am talking about services because she doesn’t have a lot of money and opening a business may require more money and put her business at risk if clients do not show up as fast as she would like.

If she knows how to bake, she can prepare and sell cakes for weddings, birthdays, daily school collation, dessert… She can start with her circle of friends and relatives as test clients.

The same applies if she can plait (gusuka imisatsi), decorate (for birthdays, weddings, small events, etc). The idea here is to do something that requires her time, hard work and capabilities/talent instead of her money and to start with a segment which can give her a chance.

Tunga

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