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How A Rwandan Girl Manages Wine & Liquor Business During #COVID-19 Crisis

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Sometime in February 2019, Keithia Kayonga, a university student then, started a wine and liquor store business in the capital Kigali.

Despite the fact that she was young and still had school to attend, Kayonga knew her priorities and how to juggle both business and school.

Starting a business at a young age and taking on strong responsibilities did not stop her from going forward. The teenage girl dived in and took the risk.

She started with Rwf2 million (US$2,100) she had mobilised from her family and some savings from her small job she had acquired after high school.  

“I did not have the guarantee that my business would be successful, but I started it anyways with the small capital I had, and today I am proud of myself for not giving in to the fear of taking risks,” she says. 

Kayonga, now 21 years, looks to be too young to handle her this tricky business, but with commitment and believing in herself, she has managed to sail through.

As she says, owning a wine and liquor store can be challenging.

She has shifted to three locations in less than two years. She kept studying the dynamics of the market and making swift decisions to remain in business.

Each major busy location of the city has multiple liquor stores. New entrants get squandered and squeezed out of business. “It is rough,” she says. “The dirty games of the trade can swing you off the cliff so easily.”

Besides that, dealing with uncultured clients with all kinds of behaviours can discourage such a young girl to continue facing such a challenge. 

Also being able to secure reasonable contracts to supply hotels and bars, largely dominated by men and large businesses can scare off any prospects, but Kayonga has begun penetrating through.

Meanwhile, Kayonga has chosen to pitch her market through online marketing and physical mobilization through research and observations. She has also partnered with e-commerce platforms such as Flutterwave to occupy the digital space. 

The tough young entrepreneur finally graduated with a degree in transport, logistics, and management from the University of Tourism and Business.

She told Taarifa that she intends to use her knowledge to build her business as she has always done with the help of focusing on what is important.

Dealing with Covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis did not spare her. Kayonga’s business was affected drastically. Sales went down and overheads to remain in the business sore.

Additional to being a supplier to the hospitality sector like hotels, resto-bars Kayonga’s wines liquor store faced a reduction of clients during the lockdown, and continuously after.

But that did not give her a reason to quit her business.  After the lifting of the lockdown, Kayonga deployed strategies that are helping her business survive even under the current unfortunate circumstances. 

She is currently injecting more capital to prepare to supply reopening hotels and restaurants. “I am also using gorilla tactics,” she says. 

“It is not easy to operate now, not for me or for most other businesses, but it doesn’t mean we should give up. As a business person, you learn to be patient about the tough times in the short run and focus on investing in the success of the long run and using all sorts of tactics to remain in business,” Kayonga told Taarifa.

Very optimistic, Kayonga has hope in the future of her business, despite all the stigma it carries for a young girl to be running a business that is culturally rebuked as a business not meant for women. 

Kayonga has a thick skin and is a perfect example of a new breed of Kigali’s metropolitan young entrepreneurs taking on business with all the muscles.

She is looking forward to becoming one of the biggest wines and liquor suppliers in the country. She does not mention how big her business is worth at the moment, but she says it has more than quadrupled. 

“The truth of the matter is, I treat business with a lot of seriousness, and I can tell you it is not easy and it is not for the soft-hearted, but when you put in all your heart in it, you definitely get something out of it,” she insists.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Rose

    August 1, 2020 at 9:04 am

    Good. Your phone contact is needed. I am a wine and liquor business women too. I operate my business in Eastern Provine I need to be your Client. Thanks.

    • Kayonga keithia

      August 2, 2020 at 11:19 am

      Hello Rose am really waiting for you here is my contact 0788290182. Thanks

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Business

Kagame Advocates For Investment Into Africa’s Agriculture Value Chain

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Agriculture and agri-business, especially in Africa, will drive the continent’s attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, President Paul Kagame has said.

“This is especially true as we work to make
up for the time lost to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said adding that, “Each country and region must chart its own pathway to transformation, but this is also a global challenge that we must address together.”

Kagame was speaking in his capacity as the Chair of the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD, Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee at the official ceremony of the UN Food Systems Summit 2021 Pre-Summit.

In Africa, he continued, 70% of the working-age population is employed in the agricultural sector.

“But our continent’s food markets are often fragmented, and links to food processing and value addition services are sometimes lacking,” the President said.

He noted that digital technologies and biotechnology are playing a greater role in African agriculture, but too many farmers do not yet have reliable access.

And that financial services and products for farmers, including insurance, are generally inadequate.

“As a result, Africa’s food producers do not earn the level of income that they deserve, and they must cope with high levels of economic risk and uncertainty,” Kagame added.

According to the Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme, David Beasley, 41 million people are on the brink of famine today.

“Planet earth, shame on us that we let a single person go to bed hungry,” said.

“We have the expertise to end hunger, but we urgently need the money. This is a global call to action – all hands on deck,” he added.

Transformation is a necessity, according to Presidemt Kagame.

This is why the African Union Development Agency, NEPAD, has worked to facilitate an African Common Position in advance of the Food Systems Summit, in line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the SDGs.

Kagame offered two proposition.

Africa will pursue solutions in the following priority tracks:

One, adopt nutritious food policies, establish food reserves, and expand school feeding programs.

Two, support local markets and food supply chains, invest in agro-processing for healthy foods, and expand trade in food products within Africa.

The UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for the UN’ Food Systems Summit, Agnes M. Kaliba,  told participants that the summit is much very powerful than she thought.

“The energy,  and hopes in each room today were palpable!. We need to leverage the incredible power of food to deliver a step change in the SDGs- this is a one in a generation opportunity,” she said.

Myrna Cunningham, speaking for Indiginous People, said that, “Our current Food Systems is based on extreme irresponsibility; We need a food system that is based on rights including Economic empowerement and rights and rights to land.”

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Business

Airtel Rwanda MD Steps Down

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It is learnt through reliable sources that Amit Chawla has decided to step down after completing a three-year term as Managing Director for Airtel Rwanda.

Normally, he would have had his contract extended or rotated to another operation in the company’s footprints, but a source told Taarifa that he is leaving the industry to do other businesses.

A new executive will be announced soon, it is said.

Amit, who took over the newly merged entity on August 31, 2018, during which time he oversaw the achievements of several milestones.

Chief among his accomplishments include the consolidation of the brand Airtel after the takeover of Tigo, its people, products and services as well as modernization of the country’s network, a project that saw the expansion of the Airtel Rwanda Network and saw the consolidation of Airtel’s reputation as the internet provider of choice for Mobile Internet in Rwanda.

During his time with the organization as MD, Airtel Rwanda oversaw great changes. Under his leadership, programs grew and services became more easily available to all customers.

Chawla led the company’s pandemic response that saw Airtel Rwanda direct its CSR budget towards governments efforts to tackle the initial response to the Global pandemic.

Under his leadership, Airtel has gained a reputation for launching ground breaking and bold campaigns such as the recent Va Kugiti Campaign that generated a lot of buzz in the Rwandan market.

Chawla, also oversaw the successful roll out of the Airtel Money Branch (AMB) concept, with 71 shops opened in Kigali alone.

The AMB’s concept has completely revolutionized the proximity of a telecom operator to her network of Agents and Freelancers, enabling them to access up to Rwf5 million within walking distance.

Chawla was unavailable for comment.

 

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Business

First Chinese Electric Car To Reach Europe Disrupts Markets

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Chinese automaker Aiways has resorted to livestreaming its all-electric cars to potential clients across the globe.

“The design is very simple and uncluttered,” one of the presenters said as she detailed the U5’s design and capabilities. “The car is modern, and even the mode of distribution is modern.”

“Modern” distribution here means replicating the “live commerce” experience of Aiways’ home country — using livestreaming events to drum up interest and sales online. The company ships its cars through local partners to customers in Europe from its factory in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangxi.

That arrangement helps Aiways keep prices down. The U5 is priced from around 39,000 euros ($46,000), 10% to 15% cheaper than its rivals, according to the company.

Alexander Klose, the Aiways executive vice president in charge of overseas operations says, “We have some challenges, but overall, I would say it has been fairly positive for us, and we have seen a fairly positive recognition.”

Aiways is not alone: A growing number of Chinese EV makers are setting their sights on overseas markets — and they intend to compete on quality as much as price.

BYD, the Chinese automaker backed by U.S. investment guru Warren Buffett, is betting on Norway. It shipped its first 100 European-specification SUVs to dealers there this June, and it plans to deliver 1,500 by the end of the year.

Like Aiways, BYD is keen to take advantage of overseas consumers’ improving perception of Chinese products.

“We are not going to make the same mistakes as other Chinese brands did more than 10 years ago in the European theater. They tried to launch vehicles in a very cheap and rushed way, without being fully prepared,” a BYD spokesperson told Nikkei Asia.

“Most people haven’t heard of BYD until now, so it is more important to do things right than [to] start talking about [sales volume].”

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