Posted on 11 January 2007
by Alexis Priddy
Money makes the world go round
Back in Rwanda by critical acclaim, Sabra (above left, with Harriette and Jeanne) held court at Richard’s office. She met with three Fast Runners to review their finances and discuss how, as she says, “The numbers tell the story.”
Sabra is a financial consultant in the U.S. and Anguilla, so is one of those lucky Bpeacers who directly translates what she does for a living into her Bpeace mentoring and training. Brigitte, Harriet and Jeanne—who all own separate beauty salons--are working together to refine their financial tracking systems. They're struggling to manage their inventory (hair care products) and to understand the differing levels of profitability for all the services they offer.
Brand, baby, brand
Barbara, Stephanie and Marla visited Francoise, who is currently running three related businesses in Kigali-- a restaurant, a party decoration business, and a catering operation. Her restaurant is doing well because of Francoise’s engaging personality, as well as its high-traffic location close to a main Kigali bus station. Francoise provides internship opportunities for women looking to gain business and restaurant skills.
Right now all three businesses operate under different names. We emphasized the need to trade on Francoise’s restaurant success and brand the other businesses to effectively cross-market all three. Francoise also needs to acquire a loan in order to purchase equipment to expand the catering business. And hey, Bpeacers and friends reading out there—Francoise needs a mentor! Who do you know who can help her build these businesses and create a brand?
Leasing? What a concept
Pierrette and Peggy (above) operate a freight-forwarding business, critical to any country on the rebound. We talked about the feasibility of our Fast Runners leasing, instead of buying, a large truck, so they can move beyond their domestic service and expand into international transport within the East African Economic Community. They've got to grow to be a sustainable business.
The growing reputation of their business--the only one in its industry owned and operated by women in Rwanda--is reflected in Pierrette’s recent selection to participate in a USAID training program. She'll attend regional seminars with other local freight companies to learn new industry regulations. Pierette and Peggy need a mentor who can help connect them to freight forwarding partners in the U.S. and Europe, as well as create a logo and website for their company. Who do you know who can assist?
Floriculture is a $194 million export business for Rwanda, selling mostly to Holland and Belgium. Solina focuses on the domestic flower market and operates Saintpaulia Flower Center, where she sells plants and flowers, and provides landscaping services and gardening contracts. Her clients include individuals and a few businesses. Appropriately, when we visited Solina’s lush operation, it was the first full day of sun since our arrival.
The team listened to Solina’s current business issues, and Anne reviewed recommendations and questions from Solina’s mentor Madelyn Simon, who operates a similar business in the U.S. Solina was beyond grateful for Madelyn's input. Solina and the Bpeacers brainstormed on ways to help her generate more contract clients, including the exploration of cross-selling with other Associates to provide greater visibility.
Piqued your interest? Read the entire January 2007 Rwandan Mission blog here.