As he defines his Journey to invest in shoe making, Jean d’Amour Uwimana had an experience to work for other people and could not find descend income to plan his future as a young Rwandese.
He first took two years to work with his teamwork in shoe making but unfortunately due to lack of common understanding as a team to settle things out the business failed and he started his business alone in early 2014.
The 23-year-old young entrepreneur created own shoe making company in Kimisagara Sector of Nyarugenge District dubbed ‘New Art Style’ and is its Chief Executive Officer. The company produces various products from leather and on top there are shoes, belts, bags, wallets, hats, bracelets, and more. he says he wanted to add value to animal and livestock products by processing leather products.
Uwimana is participating to the ongoing 21st Rwanda International Trade fair at Gikondo expo ground in Kicukiro with vibrant shoes business plus other locally made products in leather.
“Our company is progressing well, we paid Rwf 600,000 to buy a stand in this exhibition. We do also plan to participate to another exhibition in Uganda in coming December. We have submitted a project draft in Rwanda Development Board (RDB) requesting for machineries able to produce enough shoes. Our Dream is to build a big factory of made in Rwanda shoes,” Uwimana says.
His company produces 50 shoes per day and expects to increase to 500 shoes when they get the machines.
After four years of working experience in the field, Uwimana says he has never used any fund from microfinance Institutions but he also faces nowadays a problem of finance.
He has recently competed for Rwf 8 million loan from Youth Konnekt which he thinks can help him once he succeeds.
He only needs 10 machines worth Rwf 100 million to start a factory. “when I get these machines I can start a factory immediately,” he noted.
Markets and prices
Uwimana has 10 clients in Rwanda who buy and sell his shoes every month (Rwf100,000) and he wants to increase the popularity of his products. He also has a client from Tanzania who take away shoes worth Rwf 500,000 every year.
One of the challenges as he says, import of raw materials is still expensive. The most expensive shoes they produce can cost Rwf 50,000 (boots) whereas the cheapest is Rwf 15,000.
The company employs 30 permanent workers and 22 of them were taught by Uwimana, 8 were hired as experts to boost the skills of the 22 workers according to Uwimana. “ I also have 17 students internees.” He said.
He employs two University graduates, 6 secondary schools’ graduates and street vendors trained for free.
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