September 20, 2016
Many of our artisan partners are becoming entrepreneurs—pooling their resources (like income earned from Indego Africa orders!), getting creative, and using the knowledge and skills they have built in our education programs to start new businesses in their communities.
With myriad challenges facing entrepreneurs in Africa and across the developing world today—such as lack of access to capital and business training—we wanted to know how our partners are overcoming obstacles and generating economic growth in their communities. We were curious to hear how they are thinking about their businesses, products, and services and what they are doing to make their entrepreneurial endeavors a success.
Keep reading to see what they had to say and please consider contributing our Back-to-School Campaign to support education programs that are making entrepreneurship possible in Rwanda & Ghana!
Felicité, Leadership Academy Graduate (Rwanda)
Owner of a clothing shop in Bugesera, Rwanda.
“I have a small shop where I sell clothes. I started the business in March 2015. Through Indego Africa orders, I was able to earn money that I saved up in my local community’s savings group and later I decided to invest it in my business. The Leadership Academy helped
me get the knowledge I needed to run my business. I learned how to source materials and how to record transactions
properly and to calculate profit and losses.
While at first I was just selling kitenge (traditional Rwandan women’s clothes) the items I offer have evolved over time. I now sell men’s clothes like shirts and trousers, and I keep increasing the inventory and the variety of products when I get extra income.
It’s important for me to keep evolving. In the future, I want to carry different household items because they are needed in my area and not many people sell them so I will be able to profit.”
Basic Business Training Graduate (Ghana)
Sells handwoven slippers made from kente cloth
“I first learned how to weave from my brother, and I decided to start making woven shoes out of kente cloth. I design and make the shoes myself, and I try to make them different than the traditional slippers you might find at the market. For example, I make customized shoes with buyers’ names on them, which students love in particular.
When I first wanted to start my business about a year ago, I faced some challenges. I did not have enough money to buy my raw materials in bulk and my skill of making kente slippers was not perfect, and thus I was slow and the quality of my work was not the best. But now, I have really improved and have begun using new strategies to make a profit.
The lessons I learned at Indego Africa’s Basic Business Training program were really helpful for me. Learning about quality control, samples, and customer requests has helped me package my products nicely so that my customers are satisfied with what they purchase from me. The program also helped me to be more innovative, and now I have added keychains and bracelets made from kente thread to my product line.
I also started adding pens as part of my product packaging and this makes people more interested in buying from me so that they can get a pen as a freebie. I opened an account on Facebook to help me with marketing my products.
In the next five years, I want my business to be well established with several branches in the region and across the entire country.
I would also like to train other people and employ them to work with me.”
Technology Training for the Workplace Graduate (Rwanda)
“I would like to start a catering
business. I grew up seeing my mother do that and it allowed her to pay for me to go to school. I want to start it because I have experience with this kind of business and have worked with my mother baking cakes and other kinds of food. Here in Kigali, we do not have a variety of restaurants downtown and people have to leave their offices for lunch, which can be difficult sometimes. My food would also always be fresh which is different from what many businesses serve.
I can use the Technology Training for the Workplace skills I learned from Indego Africa to help me manage my business. I now know how to use MS Word and Excel to keep records of my business. I will use Word to write a business plan and Excel for projection calculations of future profits or losses. I can also use the PowerPoint skills to make presentations of my business to potential investors.
I think a successful business owner is a good planner, implementer and manager. He or she is the one who is able to attract clients, understand their needs, and deliver.”
We are excited to see our partners using their education—whether it’s Basic Business Training, the Leadership Academy, Technology Training or another one of our programs—to start and grow new businesses in their communities. We love hearing what lessons stick with them the most and how they are using skills learned to be more strategic, innovative managers and business owners.
As we seek to build more entrepreneurs and business leaders in communities across Rwanda and Ghana, we hope you’ll consider supporting our Back-to-School Campaign to keep our education programs going strong!