A year ago, Frank Rubaduka was jobless. But 365 days is such a long period in which a lot of things can change, either for the better or worse. For Rubaduka, it was for the better as the company that could not employ him 12 months ago has now contracted his consultancy outfit to train its employees. Speak of irony. It’s for victories like this one that the young entrepreneur wakes before dawn every day to read and research about the business trends and new ideas to propel the start-up.
“I have already signed a ‘fat’ contract to train workers of the company that turned me down for a job a year ago…That’s how far I have gone in a scope of just 12 months,” says the innovative young man, who is also a student of University of Kigali.
Already, he employs a handful of other Rwandans including a PhD holder to help him with the consultancy work. The firm, All Trust Consult Limited, mainly supports young people interested in entrepreneurship to improve their business ideas as well as offering mentorship and writing bankable business proposals.
Like it is said, need is the mother of all innovations. Tired and frustrated with low pay he received working for others, Rubaduka chose self-employment. He was also encouraged by a discussion he had with one of the local NGOs that was going to hire him as a fundraiser. He says they advised him to form a company and partner with him.
“The fact that someone believed in my abilities to run my own company eased the fear I had about becoming an entrepreneur. Here I am now helping other young Rwandans to kick-start their entrepreneurship journey or put their business in order and position them toward the growth trajectory,” he adds.
The 23-year-old was lucky to land business soon after opening shop thanks to the many that need guidance and support when trying to start enterprises.
The three years he spent working as development director in charge of resource mobilisation for an NGO came in handy for the consultancy firm. He also hired a few skilled personnel to support him, including a PhD holder, who help with the consultancy jobs from start-ups, NGOs and companies.
“Initially, I did almost everything on my own. This was mainly proposal writing as I was aware that most local NGOs do not understand the “donor’s language” or doing follow up donations and grant requests,” he says.
Presently, Rubaduka is training a group of university students to help him draft funding proposals and earn a 5 per cent commission for any that will secure financing.
He is also using his connections in the NGO sector to promote the firm and look for business. Currently, the firm is training staff of some restaurants in customer care and business management.
One of the main challenges the start-up faces is lack of enough funding to implement all the business ideas. Rubaduka says that there are few people willing to invest in start-ups.
The young business operator is currently looking for funding to make the firm’s online application mobile so that clients can pay using the mobile money service. When it is implemented, applications will be responded to on WhatsApp or email, he adds.
Why start-ups fail
The young entrepreneur says that many operators of new businesses don’t have business management skills, including bookkeeping or tracking performance. Lack of exposure and knowledge on current business trends also affect growth of start-ups.
Supporting student entrepreneurs
Rubaduka is looking to support university students with good ideas to develop and implement them.
He says self-employment is essential to reduce the rate of unemployment.
“We have a mentorship programme through which business leaders and experts help students with good business ideas and support them to improve and kick-start the ventures,” Rubaduka explains.
He adds that the firm also helps them to overcome the fear associated with engaging in business.
He says that most of the up-coming student entrepreneurs are encouraged to look for opportunities in their areas of training since they already have some expertise in those fields.
“This way, instead of students looking for jobs in the already established companies, they will be able to partner with them (companies) by providing services,” says Rubaduka.
Those interested in doing social work are also supported to start NGOs.
Rubaduka plans to setup an online platform for career guidance to give young employees expert advice at a small fee. He also wants to start an NGO to equip children with entrepreneurship skills.
What others say about Rubaduka
James Turatsinze, a student entrepreneur
Through different workshops, Rubaduka trained and encouraged us to start our own company. That’s how we formed Vision Oriented Youths (VOY), which equips high school students with different skills like public speaking, communication, leadership, and also provides career guidance.
Turatsinze is a student of international relations at Independent University of Kigali.
David Dushimwe, a waiter at Fixtech Fast Foods Kisementi, one of Rubaduka partners
Rubaduka trained us in customer service and communication skills which have helped us to serve our clients better. This has also attracted more people to the fast food eatery.
Bright Jonathan, chief operations officer at All Trust Consultant
We train company employees in many areas, including team building, customer care to help them improve service delivery.
We also coach and mentor start-ups to enable them grow their businesses.
All Trust Consultant provides schools career guidance service, and is engaged in HR training.
Simplice Kalima Nsabiyumva, Art of Law Local Strength
We were able to register our law firm without any problems, thanks to guidance and advice gained from training by All Trust Consultant.