Campaign to buy Rwandan products will resume next week under its brand name, the Made in Rwanda expo with a promise to defy the odds and satisfy the local market.
Made in Rwanda expo, season four will take place between November 28 and December 4 at Gikondo Expo Ground, Kicukiro district.
According to Eric Kabera, communication director at Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF) – organizer, more than 400 exhibitors have registered.
In the previous Made in Rwanda exhibitions, several products were presented to consumers, but they were nowhere to be seen after the one week period at the expo ground.
Theoneste Ntagengerwa, spokesperson of Made in Rwanda confessed that, “indeed besides established businesses, some entrepreneurs bring ideas that are yet to mature into profitable ventures and they fail to achieve any further step afterwards.”
However, Ntagengerwa said the trend is changing and he expects new ventures that, are here to stay and working towards satisfaction of the market in their domain of operation.
“For example, the apparel industry is waking up. Factories like C&H Garment, East African Sewing Ltd and even the newly created Burera Garments are defying the odds,” Ntagengerwa said.
Latest on the clothing market, Burera Garments has already secured markets in ten schools within six months.
“At this level, we can satisfactorily provide clothes on order. Our main interest currently is companies, institutions and schools,” Abdul Wahab Harelimana, General Manager of Burera Garments told KT Press on Wednesday.
Harelimana said, that they also started producing for the large market starting with shirts, t-shirts and any ceremonial garments.
“Our prices are far better than those of imported clothes, yet they are same quality,” Harelimana said.
At Burera Garments, t-shirts are available at Rwf4000 and 2000 depending on quality while shirts go for as low as Rwf6000.
The factory now employing 250 staff and producing 600 pieces daily, also produces suits for as low as Rwf20,000.
“We are massively producing sports wear and other uniforms,” Harerimana said adding that Ministries have also started placing orders.
In other areas, young entrepreneurs are finding their way out.
According to Pacifique Uwineza, Executive chairman of the Young Entrepreneurs at PSF, they have found a formula to help young entrepreneurs promote their projects.
“We realised that some young entrepreneurs cannot afford to transform their initiatives into business ventures mostly because they always have a humble beginning. We are now encouraging them to come together and form associations, so that they can have an address where they continue exhibiting what they do. This will help them mature their ideas,” said Uwineza.
Some young entrepreneurs have tried this formula and it is already working.
The Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum (RYAF) was created in this context. They have acquired an office in downtown Kigali to be their permanent location and exhibition of their activities and services that they can offer.
The forum offers consultancy in crop production, agro processing, livestock and forestry services.
They are already working on several projects in agricultural field.
Last week, they signed a MoU with CNFA/Hinga Weze USAID funded project to advance the capacity of youth engaged in agribusiness and break the barrier for youth participation in agribusiness.
Jonah Rugamba, the Marketing Director for Pascal Technology, an established business in the area of technology told KT Press, that all it takes for the young entrepreneurs is “to pitch projects that make sense for the community.”
“They should look at initiatives that bring long term solutions. That’s the only way they will attract investors,” Rugamba said.
But Habimana’s worry is that “Rwandans are yet to appreciate local products. People would buy the same shirt made in China and discredit our own, yet we produce same quality in same material.”