Many students use the pocket money from their parents to buy edibles and snacks at school. For brothers Prince Ishimwe and Ronald Kayisinga, this was not the same; the two young entrepreneurs thought big, and were always mindful of life after school, which is why they would save part of their pocket money.
The duo planned to set up a small venture in the entertainment industry after high school. Ishimwe says music has always been their passion, and starting a business in the industry was only natural.
He says to fulfill their dream, they were aware that it required a lot of money, and knowing that no bank can lend to a jobless high school leaver, mobilising personal savings was the best option.
Every penny counts
“We could save most of the money we got from our parents and relatives whenever we were returning to school for what we termed ‘project breakthrough’ since Senior Three,” the brother chorused.
To help them put together the idea into an enterprise and enter the competitive business arena, the former students of Essa Nyarugunga sought the services of Richard Rugwe, an investment advisor in Kigali.
With the tips and guidance from the renowned investment expert, they started by forming a music and entertainment club called The Fabulous Entertainers in 2014. The group performed at weddings and other social functions, according to Ishimwe.
“During this period, we were borrowing or hiring most of the costumes and equipment from established groups as we continued saving for our venture.
Kayisinga says by the time they completed Senior Six last year, they had accumulated over Rwf260,000 startup capital, which they used to buy costumes, such as dresses and trousers and shirts, among other requirements.
He says they also registered the club as a legal entity “so as to start functioning at a wider scale”.
He adds that The Fabulous Entertainers, besides singing and dancing, the group also provides catering services at events.
Creating employment opportunities
Though the company is still in its formative stage, they have been able to create employment opportunities for over a dozen other youth. Today, it is hard to find jobs, especially if one is unqualified.
Commenting on the opportunities they offer other young people, Ishimwe says one of their goals was to create jobs for young talented Rwandans. Presently, the firm employs over 15 youth, both boys and girls.
“Though they are not employed on the permanent basis, we usually call them when we get contracts,” he says.
Money not priority now
Ishimwe says, at the moment, the priority is sustaining and growing the company and not making money.
“We are focusing are focusing on improving our services, money will come as we grow,” he argues.
He says they have been able to buy uniforms for their workers, both in the catering and entertainment departments.
The proprietors of The Fabulous Entertainers and Events Management believe the sky is the limit. Ishimwe says that unlike in the past when they had to juggle school and work, presently they are concentrating all their effort on the company.
“If we managed to do all this while in high school, nothing will stop us…We want The Fabulous Entertainers to grow and become the leading events management company in the country,” he says.
The youngsters are confident the firm will, in the next two years, have grown and created jobs for 15 more young Rwandans.
The success of the two young entrepreneurs maybe is not much of a surprise as they were top of their class in last year’s national examination, with Ishimwe scoring aggregate 69, while Kabanguka had aggregate 58 in history, economics, geography and entrepreneurship.
Ishimwe, 19, and Kayisinga, 20, both former students of Essa Nyarugunga, plan to study economics at university (National University of Rwanda) come August this year, arguing that it is the ideal for their aspirations.
The group mainly performs cultural dances at weddings, but some of them sing and their song “Narahemutse” now is on YouTube. Ishimwe and Kayisinga say their parents are supportive and always advice them on how best to thrive in the business arena.