The youth empowerment program is nearing its end as beneficiaries have presented their final business ideas to a panel selected by Jesuit Urumuri Centre. The group consisting of Rwandan, Burundian and Nigerian youth are currently preparing for graduation.
One of the four universal apostolic preferences meant as a guide for improving the works of the Society of Jesus is “journeying with the youth”. It was on account of this that Jesuit Urumuri Centre felt the need to create hope in and support the youth so as to propel them to higher heights in building their communities.
The social innovation and entrepreneurship program dubbed the youth empowerment program was initiated by Jesuit Urumuri Centre in an effort to alleviate unemployment as research shows that the majority of Rwandan population are the youth and there aren’t enough opportunities on the job market. The youth empowerment program had the aim of training high school and university graduates and then assisting them in starting businesses. The overall outcome of the project is for the youth to earn a decent living for themselves and their families, as well as provide opportunities of employment for their peers.
Jesuit Urumuri Centre with the facilitation of the Business Development Center Rwanda (BDC-Rwanda) takes beneficiaries through this program’s manual which consists of five modules namely;
- Self discovery
- Self realization, innovation development and prototyping
- Marketing and promotion
- Operations, financing and financial management
- Strategic planning and sustainability
During the past week, beneficiaries made presentations of business ideas varying from agribusiness to food catering to animal farming to hair and beauty businesses and more.
Moving forward, businesses showing the most promise will be taken through a 6 month incubation process during which their viability will be assessed.
In the meantime however, JUC will take a second cohort through the training manual. This cohort will go through the same training process and will be accompanied after graduation through a 6 month incubation process.
Beneficiaries of the program have expressed delight and gratitude for having been taken through this training. Mr Justin Ndagijimana whose business he named “Justin Leather” feels a renewed sense of confidence in his future as a business man “I had a business before I applied for this training, but I had given up on it and wanted to leave it alone. After receiving this training, I now know about strategic planning, I know about identifying one product to focus on instead of trying to do everything at once. I have decided to concentrate on school shoes as I had made the field research and have identified a market. While I worked alone before, in the coming days I am planning to employ 9 people because I have new faith in my business. I have even started working already”.
Diane Izere whose business is named “Tembitoto” would like to set up maize grinders in her rural areas where she grew up in Karongi district in the western province; “I will take away a lot from this training. The first is knowing the market and knowing what a client likes and dislikes. The other is identifying competitors and adding a uniqueness to my business such that clients will see more value in me. The other one which is very important is information on registering my business. I had no idea about the first thing to do when it comes to registering a business.”
JUC Communications Officer