Don't Worry, Beer Happy
Maranatha Uwukundo is a young woman who resides in the Guhanga Sector of Musanze District. She makes a living by harvesting sorghum and then brewing it into local Rwandan Sorghum Beer, “ Ikigage.” She began her journey in the HDAK Program in April 2019, and ever since, she has been able to grow her profits to approximately 191,000 RWF per week. Maranatha has gained many skills since joining the youth group in Guhanga Sector: she has improved her financial management skills, business management skills , and as a result, has learned how to strategically grow her profits. She has testified that going through the HDAK pathway, especially the Work Ready Now (WRN) and Be Your Own Boss trainings, has changed Maranatha into a forward thinking business woman and provided her with a support system of peers that serve as her creative springboard for new business ideas and help hold her accountable to the goals she has set for herself.
Word-of Mouth marketing is one of the leading ways through which youth become aware of HDAK and the work it is doing in Rwanda; the word of the trainings, resources, and support that the HDAK program is providing youth is usually spread from youth-to-youth, and that’s how they become interested in joining the initiative. Word-of-Mouth Marketing was one of the pull factors that drew Marantha to join a youth group in the Gahunga District; she overheard some friends discussing their involvement in HDAK and the training they received, and she immediately became motivated to join in. She was most interested in the self-employment track of HDAK because of her strong passion and desire to become her OWN BOSS.
Like many entrepreneurs, Maranatha faces some challenges when it comes to her business model and cycles. Some of the challenges that she faces include unfavorable weather conditions, such as the rainy-season in the Northern Province, and an exposed harvesting location for her sorghum (children can potential play near her sorghum drying sheets and disorganize it). Furthermore, she struggles with finding capital to invest in order to grow for her business. The need for financial assistance is one that many youth experience, and AKA along with its implementing partners (IPs) , through HDAK, are constantly working to make sure that the youth have access to capital.
Finally, Maratha shared her 5 year plan and goals: with further training and investment, Maranatha aspires to become a leading beer producer in Musanze and Rwanda. She believes she can achieve this by growing more sorghum and improving her brewing practices; she aims to yield at least 50,000 tons of sorghum per week.
Maranatha story is encouraging to any young entrepreneur , and illuminates that value there is starting small but always maintaining a big vision.