Vedaste is a young 27 year old entrepreneur, who graduated with a degree in finance from Inilak university in Kigali. Vedaste is a genocide survivor from the 1994 Rwandan genocide, and like many others, he is the only surviving member of his family. As a genocide survivor, Vedaste has been supported by AERG, thanks to which he was able to attend school, graduating in 2013.
Vedaste attended a training on entrepreneurship and business generation organized by AERG (in partnership with SPARK), inspired by the event Vedaste decided to invest the 100,000 RWF (135 USD) he had diligently saved from his small monthly school allowance into starting a retail business selling second-hand clothes at a Kigali market. Beginning with just a small table, 20 items of clothing and a few customers from his network of friends and neighbours, Vedaste launched his business. Soon he had prospered enough to rent a more competitive position in the market. He applied marketing knowledge gained through his trainings, promoting his business via Whatsapp and Facebook, and due to the good customer care tips he learned from his business guidance with SPARK / AERG, he was able to develop a strong base of clientèle with many of his satisfied customers referring their friends to him. Through the profit Vedaste has made, he has been able to improve the quality of his stock and even begin a second business in his late mother’s village, purchasing land and starting a banana plantation with nearly 3,000 plants.
Vedaste is very confident that his business will succeed given that the booming market for clothes, of which his shop provides high quality products. Like all entrepreneurs, Vedaste faces challenges: his customers’ preference for high quality products means that most of his stock must be imported from Uganda, which in turn means his wholesale costs are high.Though he wishes to cater to the tastes of his clientèle Vedaste is challenged to find sufficient capital to allow him to make cost-efficient wholesale purchases. He doesn’t want to take a loan to cover this expense as the interest rates would impede his ability to reinvest capital into growing his business. Vedaste prefers to be prudent and continue doing business on a small scale until he is sure of its sustainability before reconsidering taking a loan to expand.
What is your personal ambition?
My ambition is to open a large clothing store in Kigali city, so that I can supply and satisfy a huge number of customers and increase my monthly profit capacity three fold over the next two years.
What impact do you see your business making?
The future of the business in promising as you can count on people continuing to buy clothes as long as there are attractive, stylish and quality products to attract them. The younger generations especially are a great market, as their desire to keep up with fashion trends makes them high consumers.
How do you see the future of your business?
I believe that my business is inspiring to young genocide survivors who are still unemployed and surviving on government support. Through my example, many have been inspired to become entrepreneurs and start their own small businesses, which in turn have created employment for others in the local community and contribute to Rwanda’s economy.