After eight years of growing mushrooms, Beretilde Niyibaho, 54, a resident of Kacyiru Sector, Gasabo district, has started a mushroom factory. Although naturally hard working and committed, Niyibaho needed to make losses in her previous businesses to change strategy; a move that has become the turning point in her life.
How the journey started
Niyibaho for a long time used to brew banana beer as a business.
“I went into that business so as to supplement my husband’s income. I did whatever it took to make money from brewing but failed. Many of my clients used to take the alcohol on credit and never paid up,” says Niyibaho.
Instead of giving up on doing business, Niyibaho became more galvanised. The more losses she made, the more fresh business ideas ran through her mind.
“The most important thing in life is being creative and knowing your potential. I had the ideas but not the capital,” she says.
“I thought to myself: ‘From banana beer residues, I can make manure. In school, I learnt that human beings need vitamins, so what do I do?’” says Niyibaho, a mother of 10 children.
After days of thinking, she settled for mushrooms. She decided that she would grow mushrooms and use the residues as manure.
Niyibaho then took a loan of Rwf500,000 from a bank and started growing mushrooms on an acre of land. She says there was high demand for the mushrooms that the business in no time blossomed. It is no surprise therefore, that what started as a simple project has multiplied into a number of businesses. Niyibaho says she also has a mushroom transformation, farming and training centre. She earns Rwf5m per month and her factory is worth Rwf800m.
What’s the secret?
Niyibaho, who started growing mushrooms in 2005, says for one to be successful in business, they must be trustworthy, determined and daring. She, however, reveals that starting a business does not require a lot of capital.
“Because I had limited funds, I had to borrow money from many people. I was highly indebted but never gave up. And the only reason people lent me money was because they trusted me,” she recalls.
After one year into the farming business, Niyibbaho got a major boost. The Government sponsored her for a six-month course in mushroom farming in China. The initiative, she notes, opened her mind to new ideas which she implemented upon her return.
The mushroom villages which metamorphosed into BN producers in 2010, pride themselves in helping people live longer through producing nutritious foodstuff.
Niyibaho says the business has enabled her educate her children, buy a vehicle, land and set up a modern factory of banana beer.
Niyibaho says the small market is causing her sleepless nights, adding that she would love to expand it beyond Rwanda.
The other problem is some people are pirating her products, she reveals.
Niyibaho encourages women never to give up but to be assertive. She says although some days may not be good, persistence will breed better times.
What others say about her
Jean Paul Munyentwari, the managing director of BN Producers, says: “Niyibaho is an ambitious person who never gives up.”
Marthe Kuradusenge, a farmer, describes Niyibaho as a humble and down-to-earth person.”
“If all women were like Niyibaho, the world would be a better place. She is not bossy and is always with us in the field,” Kuradusenge notes.