Looking Smart

Ernestine Mukamuhire, 27

Ernestine Mukamuhire, 27


Ernestine became interested in the events industry after she got a job with an events company. She thought it was an uncrowded space with many opportunities and after learning the ropes, she left to set up her own events business in 2012. She started by hiring out event accessories before moving into providing décor services as well. In her first year of business, she covered seven weddings and one commemoration event.

Wouter Vester, 57

Wouter Vester, 57


Following an 18 year career in banking, Wouter has spent the last decade working on renewable energy initiatives and providing consultancy services to SMEs in emerging markets. He developed a love for Africa after a work trip took him to Sudan 30 years ago. This love lingers until today and was one of motivations for him joining the Grow programme.

Business challenges and objectives of the project

Fred’s big ambition was to increase from 100 birds to 30,000, and to eventually own a feed mill as well. Taku and Fred worked together on a plan of how to make this dream come true using small incremental steps. Taku wanted help Fred move from being a dreamer to an operational entrepreneur. On Taku’s advice Fred wrote a business plan and started to have real clarity of vision on how to achieve his dream.

Fred says that Taku was a real support during this time, but they lost touch in 2013.However Taku’s sound advice stayed with him, and he says that it gave him the courage in his business. He entered into another programme (the Rwanda Business Accelerator Programme), and found three investors.

The Results

Ernestine says working on the cash flow documents with Wouter helped her understand her business finances better. She now saves a fixed proportion of her profits for re-investment in the business. She has seen a 30% increase in profits from improved marketing and cashflow management. As a result she has added to her collection of accessories and fabric, enabling her provide a wider range of options to her clients. She says she is much more confident while marketing her business and is more focused on seeing
it succeed.

The Impact on Ernestine

“Before I used to think about maybe changing business and maybe the next one would be easier. Working with Wouter has taught me that I have to keep focused and by applying the right principles, any business can succeed. It was great to have Wouter’s support when I had a problem. When I made a loss and wanted to give up, he encouraged me. I don’t see a difference between me and him, we worked really well together. ”

The Impact on Wouter

“The sense of satisfaction that I could contribute was great. My advice to volunteer consultants is not to expect too much from the start which can overwhelm the entrepreneur. Build a relationship with them and build their confidence. With confidence, success will follow.”

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