Success Story: Meet Nelson

Nelson at his internet cafe in Kigali. 

Nelson at his internet cafe in Kigali. 

Nelson lives in Kigali and runs a small internet café and computer maintenance business—utilizing skills and knowledge gained from the Akazi Kanoze project. When he graduated from high school he struggled to find a paying job and settled for helping his family without remuneration. As an orphan, he knew that he had to find a way to make money and support himself rather than relying on his extended family. He has always been interested in technology and enrolled in an electrical maintenance training course through Akazi Kanoze. While being enrolled in the program, he worked part-time as an electrician and started saving his earnings. Shortly after he graduated from Akazi Kanoze in February 2013, he bought his first desktop computer with the money he earned as an electrician. With his new purchase, he started typing letters and printing them for people without computer literacy skills. While this work was enough to support himself, he wanted to do something more. Although his sights were on something bigger, he learned the importance of customer care in the Akazi Kanoze curriculum and made an effort to stay in contact with his clients and build customer loyalty. 

During Akazi Kanoze he learned about resiliency and risk management. Before taking the risk of starting his own business, he did a market analysis in his area and found that nobody offered internet, printing, or computer repair services. He explained that while his neighborhood is low income, it is surrounded by middleclass households that pass through the area and demand these services. He rented the space and opened his internet café with only two computers—his own desktop and a friend’s broken computer that he had repaired. Building off of the customer base that he had fostered during his first business, Nelson is now unable to keep up with the high demand. He says that Akazi Kanoze youth cannot be idle because they are not ashamed to start small and work their way up. Today, he has four computers with internet access and there are several more stacked on a table that are there for repair. 

Although Nelson has no competitors yet, he is already thinking about diversifying his business. On the wall is a sheet of paper that reads “my wish”. It is a collage of his dream of starting a wedding DJ/video business. People frequently ask him if he would film and DJ their wedding, but he has no video camera. He explains that this business is his dream because he would be able to hire employees and create jobs for other youth.