After graduating with a BSc in Finance in 2010, Illumine decided to take a course on entrepreneurship after becoming interested in domestic farming for entrepreneurship, a subject she had researched for her thesis. Under the support of SPARK’s local partners AERG, Illumine attended entrepreneurship trainings, wrote her business plan and visited other entrepreneurs in related business to learn about their experiences. After successfully securing the finance to start her own business, Illumine managed to attend a one month intensive field training course with AERG’s support. Through the field training, Illumine learned how to start up and manage a livestock farm. After returning to Rwanda after her training, she was motivated and convinced of her ability to start her own business.
She successfully acquired a loan from a local bank of 2.5 million RWF and invested the money building the pig house and bought the first round of local pigs. After three months, Illumine encountered a financial setback when she realised the local breed of pigs which she had purchased were not growing at a rate which would ensure profit, as to feed this breed for the extra months needed before they reached a suitable market weight would effectively undermine any profit possibilities. Illumine thus decided to buy a new breed of German hybrid pigs which, though expensive, grow very fast and reproduce many piglets thus ensuring high profit returns.
Due to the good location of her pig farm, Illumine has been able to expand her land to ensure she can increase her livestock numbers and increase the size and scope of her business by introducing poultry and cattle. She hopes her business will create a permanent job both for herself and jobs for the youth in her neighborhood. During high production seasons, Illumine employees 10 part-time employees in additional to the three permanent ones secured through her current operations.
What is your personal ambition?
My current aspiration is to increase my sales and complete the repayment of the bank loan. In doing so I will be able to afford to employ more staff, thus improving the lives of local people in my community and allowing my business to grow in the few years to come. I also hope that through sharing my story of entrepreneurship, I will inspire others, and also increase my profile for securing future funds to support the business’ growth and sustainability.
What impact do you see your business making?
I see a potential growth in my business and estimate a growth rate of 30% per year, through both an increase of livestock and increased market. I hope that as my business expands my monthly profits will surpass 300,000 RWF; this would enable me to employ 5 more permanent staff members.
How do you see the future of your business?
My business is inspiring people in my community, motivating them to think of other income generating activities and small businesses which they could. I believe if more people started businesses, little by little we could eradicate poverty in our community. Through my own business I have been able to employ local neighbours and I hope to employ more people when her business expands.