L’union fait la force (unity makes strength); so often great ideas go to waste due to the lack of collaboration amongst people in post-conflict nations. This has been the norm for so long that one cannot help but take heart when a story uniting two people from diverse backgrounds appears on the radar of emerging entrepreneurs.
Upon his return from Tanzania, Désiré faced the uphill task of finding a job with a high school diploma. After 5 months of applying for jobs with no results, the young man decided to put matters into his own hands by putting to use skills he had acquired as a refugee during a training on soap production. With the help of a childhood friend facing the same problem with being unable to find a job despite holding a bachelor’s degree, Désiré entered a business plan competition. Despite not winning the competition, Désiré and his business partner James persevered by applying and participating in trainings on entrepreneurship, business plan writing and financial management with the support of SPARK partner CUFORE. Not long after these trainings, the two registered Liquid Soap as an SME.
Fast forward to December 2013, the product became a popular purchase by the returnees from Tanzania and the people of Kigoma who were inspired by the story of Désiré and James. And in 2014, Liquid Soap broke into the market in the commercial centers of the two provinces. Today, Liquid soap supplies to clients such as banks, hotels and boarding schools in Makamba and Kigoma.
What is your personal ambition?
We would like to take trainings on branding, packaging and marketing to improve the image of our products and to better position ourselves to compete with big soap brands in Bujumbura. Additionally, we want to invest in a van in order to facilitate the distribution of our products.
What impact do you see your business making?
We have a product that is useful for everyone. Our liquid soap is affordable, it smells good and it removes bacteria inside clothes without affecting the color of the clothes. Our tiles cleaner also add value for our customers as it can be used to clean toilets and caplets. Furthermore, both products can last up to 3 years.
How do you see the future of your business?
We see Liquid soap as the number one soap and tiles cleaner producer and distributor in Burundi.