At the entrance is an imposing inscription ‘GroceWheels Ltd Rwanda.’ Inside is a huge open store filled with an assortment of groceries ranging from all types of fresh foodstuffs like tomatoes, greens, bananas, apples, mangoes, oranges and potatoes among others.
Hordes of workers package the groceries in different boxes for delivery. Outside, a motorcycle is on standby to deliver a package to a customer in Nyarutarama, a city suburb. On the motorcycle is Gael Murara the brain behind this unique business. Murara is the founder of GroceWheels Ltd Rwanda located in Kicukiro.
What he does is to basically shop for people and deliver the items to their door step. All a customer does is to order for any household groceries in the comfort of their home or office and GroceWheels will deliver.
Murara is a civil engineer by profession and indeed turned down a white collar job to take on what many called “making errands for others.’
However, two years since he started, Murara has all the reasons to smile. The returns on the business for the 25-year-old and architect of the online delivery service company in Kigali have come earlier than he expected.
After graduating from school of civil engineering in Canada back in 2014, Murara was offered a job as a junior project manager in the department of Energy at the Ministry of Infrastructure. He says he took on the job for nine months before throwing in the towel to go and start his own business.
How he started
Murara says he picked inspiration from the hustle that busy parents have to do shopping.
“The idea was to come up with a solution that would help people save time and money when it came to shopping,” he explains.
He says he identified a need and the solution to meet that need was his business model.
To solve the problem, Murara invented a mechanism where people would simply order online and have their products delivered to their homes without having to physically go to the market.
With Rwf100, 000, he registered the business under the names GroceWheels company Ltd in 2015.
The company specializes in deliveries including vegetables, fruits and other products ordered from its affiliated partners. It earns commission on every sale plus delivery fees.
The idea was to guarantee our customers of fresh products at competitive prices and delivered with great deal of professionalism and care, Murara explains adding that the idea has earned them trust and more customers in the long run.
“What we did was to save our customers traffic jams, get them out of the crowded stalls. It saves them time and money,” he said. He said the business did not require much money to start but rather the brain and commitment.
“All I needed was a computer and a few francs to go to the market and do buy products on behalf of my clients,” he says adding that his first deliveries were a success which encouraged him to roll out the service on a full scale.
Murara says business was slow at the beginning because of people’s mentality about shopping.
Some people still don’t trust online business and instead prefer to physically go to the market themselves, he says.
Therefore it is sometimes hard to win the hearts and minds of such clients, but thankfully they are beginning to understand the concept.
Murara cites inconsistencies from suppliers as another challenge; he works with more than 500 farmers including cooperatives but says sometimes famers are not consistent with supply which affects the whole value chain.
In this business quality, efficiency and consistency is paramount he says, adding that customers are always looking for value for their money.
“We have taken a step further to allow our customers pay using credit or visa cards as one of our payment terms.”
In terms of growth, Murara says he now delivers to more than 200 families and 10 hotels based in Kigali.
His business has grown from a mere Rwf100, 000 when he started to more than Rwf20million thanks to his determination and technology.
The company has also bought two trucks to ensure effective delivery.
Meanwhile, Murara has developed a mobile application where customers can order for products and have them delivered without having to go to the markets.
The Engineer supplies more than 5000 items per month enough to pay his 12 employees and expand his business.
He says all taxes including VAT are paid by the primary seller to which the company only offers a delivery service.
He says the country’s conducive business environment is his number one source of inspiration.
And thanks to the excellent and visionary leadership of his Excellence President Paul Kagame, the youth now have a platform to come out and shine, he notes.
Taking advantage of ICT
Murara says technology has the power to transform Rwanda into a middle income status.
“Embracing ICT for example means people will have the most right and accurate information through which they can make informed decisions that will eventually take the country forward, he explained.
Advice to youth
The youth should try as much as possible to put ideas into practice; they should not wait.
It is not a question of choice but a must to ensure we take the country forward.
His plan is to grow the business so that it covers the whole country but also work with farmers to ensure they bring to the market the best quality.