Ideas, Stories, and Profiles

It’s true that Ms. Joselyne Umutoniwase’s statement, at Umushyikirano (the national dialogue) this year, was so ironic. You don’t start a business (in Kigali) with ten thousand U.S. dollars and call it a humble beginning. Yes, we laughed at it and many people criticised the statement, but I loved the subconscious honesty.

The funny thing is that people — especially those who have never actually run a business — will never tell you the ugly truth. However brilliant an idea may be, you need money get to put your plans to action. Repeat: you need money.

If a seemingly successful entrepreneur encourages you to start a business; that it’s an easy thing to do; that, just like them, you only need little as capital to get your startup going, don’t take the advice as a joke. It might help you learn something about irony and what people expect entrepreneurs to say. But the irony in the words of Ms. Joselyne, who founded a local fashion design company called RWANDA CLOTHING, leaves room for debate.

Ms. Joselyne started with a good amount of capital, and that’s why she was able to grow to the current extent. That’s the bottom line.

What Rwandan entrepreneurs need is access to finance that will help them turn their ideas into products and eventually sustain their businesses. They need no more rhetorical support, of which they’ve had enough.

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