Starting own Business: Do youth need money, an idea or skills?

By Elias Hakizimana.

Esperance Kazeneza Rugamba, a 4th year student in environmental health sciences in public health at University of Rwanda’s College of Education has so far innovated an entrepreneurship idea in bone waste management and she is still looking for someone to help her implement her business successfully.

Kazeneza says her dream is to have a strong enterprise of products manufactured from bones, adding that money is not the first requirement, but, skills and strong ideas as paramount.

“I want to do an enterprise about waste management and you know waste are a lot in the country, when you gather the wastes and you know the best ways of recycling them, you can re-use them, for example plastics. In Rwanda it is not common to use residuals of bones, I have that idea that I can re-use bones into jewelry and plastics can be re-used, and other wastes like bio-degradable wastes, they can be used into manure that people can buy, for example cooperatives of farmers,” she says.

One of opportunities she learnt before investing in this business is that like a big number of butchers in the country.

“I did an assessment and I found that they flow away the bones, so, I can make an agreement with them to obtain the bones and I have my own ways to produce many materials from these bones,” Kazeneza says.

The young lady has gained training by Center for Development and Enterprise Great Lakes about the power of the market and how it works. The training that brought together 50 Rwandan young professionals focused on characteristics of an entrepreneur and how they can start own businesses from little money and grow gradually.

“I have got many things from the training, for example the outline of how you can grow to your own enterprise. As an environmental health officer, when I get out of the campus, I have to be a job creator, so, knowing how I can create my own enterprise, I am also able to create jobs for others in the community,” Kazeneza says.

The training was a great opportunity for her as it bridged the gap of the recent acquired skills in another training three years ago.

“It is the second time, the first time was in 2015, I was in other campus from Karongi, we got some trainings in entrepreneurship but I did not get the chance to express my ideas but, today was a great opportunity for me,”  she says.

Aimable Manirakiza, Chief Executive Officer of Centre for Development and Enterprise Great Lakes said that they want to equip young professional entrepreneurs with needed skills and experience in business operations to bridge the gap of incompetence in terms of business operation.

Aimable Manirakiza

“This training will give solutions to incompetence they had had in their business and we want to show them a new image of how they can do profitable businesses. They will get to know their audience, how they will market their product, develop marketing strategies, etc,” said Manirakiza.

About the start-up capital that has been a challenge of many young entrepreneurs, Manirakiza said that the business idea is the first start-up.

Rene Goscinny Bigirimana, a 4th year student from University of Rwanda’s College of Science and Technology is also the Country Director of Centre for Development and Enterprise Great Lakes in Rwanda, he said that financial start-up capital is not the most priority to start a business.

Rene Goscinny Bigirimana addressing Rwandan young professionals during the training.

“Financial start-up is not prior in our programmes, first of all, having a business idea and a well written business plan are what we line up, we encourage whoever has these ones to join us and grow together from just a little money of startup capital. We want to work with Small cooperatives in Agriculture and livestock, and other small enterprises that have started operating. We train them professionally and we hope they will have a significant contribution to youth unemployment reduction,” Bigirimana says.

Seven best young entrepreneurs in Rwanda are expected to benefit from the initiative since October 2018 until October 2020 according to Bigirimana.

Center for Development and Enterprise Great Lakes Rwanda operates in three countries in the region including Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo.



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Elias Hakizimana

Elias Hakizimana, CEO&Founder of The Inspirer Ltd,( is a professional Rwandan Journalist with Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication, received from University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) in 2014. He served various media houses in Rwanda including Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) in 2013 and became passionate with English Online and Print Media Publications where he exercised his talent as a Freelance News Reporter for The New Times, The Independent, The Rwanda Focus, Panorama and more before he became a Self-Entrepreneur as the CEO and Founder of The Inspirer Limited in early 2017.

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