Managing multiple businesses – stories from Rwanda
Our Skilling for Change project in Rwanda has reached over 16,000 women. Meet Beata and Constance, two of the women entrepreneurs who we supported.
Beata is married with four children and lives in Kiruri village in the Rulindo district of Rwanda.
Before she joined our Skilling for Change project, Beata had a business buying and selling vegetables, which was making just 15,000 RWF (approximately $18) per month. With no experience in accounting, Beata didn’t know how to record and manage her finances. She felt she had no clear goals and was unsure how to develop her enterprise.
The Skilling for Change training helped Beata to come up with new strategies for growth. She started taking orders from clients using her mobile phone, which generated huge savings on travel costs and meant that she had more time to spend on growing her customer base. She is now making more than 50,000 RWF (approximately $60) per month.
The training also made Beata more aware of the kinds of financial services and products available to her. She decided to secure a loan from her local Village Savings and Loan Association, totalling 150,000 RWF (approximately $180), which she used to set up a new enterprise selling eggs, in partnership with her cousin. The training boosted Beata’s confidence and equipped her with crucial financial skills, teaching her how to manage her business accounts by differentiating between her initial investment and her profit and loss. She also learned the importance of separating her vegetable selling business account from her poultry business account.
Beata’s business success has enabled her to improve life at home. Her three youngest children are in primary school and her eldest child is in secondary school. Having previously relied on her husband’s income to support their education, Beata now pays for their uniforms, school fees, books and extracurricular activities. On top of this, Beata and her husband have purchased new land which they farm to support the family’s needs. Beata has also hired an employee to help out with her busy poultry business.
Beata is now focused on reaching even more customers for her vegetable business and expanding her second business by increasing the number of chickens that she keeps. She told us: “Now I am proud of my business and I am an open-minded entrepreneur.”
Constance is married with six children and lives in Ntarabana in the Rulindo district of Rwanda.
When she joined our Skilling for Change project, Constance was working as an auxiliary nurse at her local health centre. Earning just 25,000 RWF (approximately $30) per month, she felt she had the potential to achieve more.
The Skilling for Change training supported Constance to start two small businesses. After becoming a member of her local Village Savings and Loan Association, Constance used her savings to buy four bicycle taxis and hire four employees, each generating an income of 80,000 RWF (almost $100) per month.
In addition to her bicycle taxi service, Constance also established a small canteen after buying a banana plantation, four cows and other fruit trees. She sells the bananas and milk at her canteen, which generates up to 70,000 RWF per month (approximately $85). Constance was also awarded a cash prize of 200,000 RWF (approximately $240) for this enterprise, after entering a competition for small business owners in her district.
Constance is using the income she makes to pay her children’s school fees as well as health insurance for her family. In addition, she has been able to purchase land and property which she rents out.
Constance’s businesses are continuously evolving. She hopes to receive further training in order to be able to keep up with market developments and secure funding from a bank for future growth. She told us: “The training helped me to earn and manage my money and learn how to diversify my income.”