INTERVIEW: A market radio station…who would have thought of it?

Many people wake up every morning scratching their heads regarding complicated ideas about how or where they should invest their money for profit.Others on the other hand send their CVs to as many companies as possible, praying to be signalled for at least one interview.
Geshi Muberuka.
Geshi Muberuka.

Many people wake up every morning scratching their heads regarding complicated ideas about how or where they should invest their money for profit.

Others on the other hand send their CVs to as many companies as possible, praying to be signalled for at least one interview.

For Geshi Muberuka, 47, a business plan does not have to be complex; it only takes one good idea and commitment, to create a sustainable brand that will kick start a journey of prosperous self employment.

He is the owner of Radio Kimironko, located in the heart of Kimironko Market in Kigali city harbouring over 3,000 traders.

Radio Kimironko keeps traders’ ears to the ground everyday as they listen in to their favorite songs, advertise their products at a bargain price, get the latest updates around the market and also get to know which banks offer the best loan deals.

As we strolled with him, it was obvious that Muberuka is a well-known figure around the market, as traders kept pestering him to play their favorite music and about who his next interviewee would be.

In an interview with the Business Times, Muberuka, who is a holder of a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences, narrated his challenges, aspirations and interesting opinions about struggling entrepreneurs in the country.

“I started Radio Kimironko three years ago but many people thought it would never work out for me. With Rwf10 million, I bought radio equipment, two computers and 16 large speakers which I connected around the market,” he said.

“After settling in my small studio, I said, “hello Kimironko” on the microphone for the first time and the speakers let out a surrounding sound, which was applauded and cheered throughout the market. From that time forth, I developed a feeling that I was nearing the attainment of my goal.”

Despite financial difficulties, at times, the father of four endeavoured to work twice as hard to ensure that his new business breaks-even.

“I woke up at 6 a.m.every morning, checked my wife’s plans for the day and provided her with the needful, and then I grabbed a taxi and rushed to work,” he narrated.

“Just like me, many traders are religious, so the first program on the radio is prayers. A priest always comes to my studios to lead the traders in prayer.

“After that, I air important updates, announcements about the market and news around the country- and that is the time when money starts to come in for me.”

Although he charges a modest fee of Rwf2,000 for adverts and Rwf1,000 for announcements, Muberuka makes twenty adverts and announcements on average, generating Rwf30,000 per day.

He also made deals with several banks and cooperatives which register monthly for their adverts to run on the radio.

“The government also announces its services such as the importance of acquiring health insurance, (Mituelle De Sante) to the traders. A survey that was done in the market thereafter indicated that close to 90 per cent of the traders acquired health insurance,” he said.

His radio is also frequently used by the National ID Project to call on traders to acquire their national IDs and also as a collection point for lost IDs.

“In the afternoon, I interview prominent businessmen, leaders and Kimironko traders. At 8p.m, I call it a day and close shop,” he narrated.

However, just like many other small and medium business entrepreneurs, Muberuka faces the challenge of funding, since, he cannot afford to expand his dream to other markets around Kigali.

“I am looking for people to share my idea with, people I can pull resources with and put this radio project countrywide. Right now, I work alone because I have not yet reached that level where I can train people to work for me, although it is in my plans,” he said.

Despite his challenges, the money Muberuka raises from Radio Kimironko is able to take care of his family, pay for his children’s’ education and save for the future.

“Many young entrepreneurs close their businesses when they meet the first hurdle, then they go claiming that doing business is a very difficult task.

They forget that patience and commitment are the two most important aspects in business- sometimes even more important than capital,” he said.

“If there is anything they can learn from me, it is that the smallest of ideas can become worldwide brands if put to action. You even do not have to go in the field of your education to be successful.”

He says that a business should always start small, grow big and attract the love of the public, just like his radio captured the hearts of 3,000 traders in Kimironko market.

mugishaivan@yahoo.com

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