February 01, 2017
In Rwanda and Ghana, our partners are embracing the entrepreneurial spirit, getting creative, and overcoming challenges to start their own businesses. We wanted to hear more from these inspiring women about what entrepreneurship means to them and why they do what they do. In the interview that follow, these trailblazing women share inside stories about their businesses (and the growing pains that come with them)—about achieving work-life balance, navigating stumbling blocks, building future goals, and finding inspiration. They also share empowering advice for other women—any age and anywhere—who are looking to make their dreams happen.
Vocational Training Graduate
Founder of Gahembe Cooperative
25 years old
“Determination and a strong spirit can take you wherever you want to go.”
How does it feel to start your own business and become an entrepreneur?
Indego trained me to be an entrepreneur. Before I had nothing, but now, I know how to save and manage a business. This job has made me an open-minded person. Sometimes you might struggle to make a product or make a mistake on an order, but you continue to work. I used to think that I would be an entrepreneur, but I didn’t think that I would be an artisan. Indego’s Vocational Training program helped me so much because at the end I was confident and capable of doing anything.
What does empowerment mean to you?
To me, empowerment is more than earning money. It is building knowledge and skills that will help you in your life.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in starting a new business?
Do what you love, what you are passionate about. Before I started this business, I had nothing. Some of my friends in the village laughed at me. But I decided to borrow money and start my business and today everything is good. I did that because I love this work. It is valuable. Determination and a strong spirit can take you wherever you want to go.
I have started to advise other youth. Today, I am no longer a job-seeker, and my advice to them is to start their own businesses and do what they love. Where there is a will, there is a means. They should use their full potentials and turn their dreams into reality because everything is possible with a willing heart.
Are there any women you look up to or admire? If so, who and why? How have they influenced you?
Yes, I have some women. There is a woman who always inspired me; she is called Claudine. I knew her from many years ago. She started her business early, so I decided to follow her path. She built a house for her family, she has livestock and she has a very good marriage. She has a well-decorated shop, and I am sure I can do that as well. If she did that, why can’t I do that too? Moreover, the president of Covanya Cooperative, where I trained, inspired me so much as she gave me many examples of what she achieved from being an artisan. She has animals and built a house as well. I have a number of inspirations.
What are your goals for the future?
My first goal is to continue to be a member of the Gahembe Co-op. My ultimate goal is to create my own shop of artisanal materials. Another thing I want to do is to teach the rest of the youth what I have learned. What I do is valuable, and I want to share it with others.