Young and ambitious, one businesswoman has big dreams
Be job-creators rather than job-seekers, is the government’s mantra towards young people. Justine Uwitonze hasn’t even waited for the end of her studies to do just that.
Although she is only 19 and was, at the time we interviewed her, still waiting for her senior six exam results, Justine Uwitonze has already a few years as an even-organizer under her belt.
“I started a long time ago when I was still in primary school. My mother did decoration for various events, and I used to help her,” Uwitonze explains. “Soon I got a taste for it, and I wanted to start my own business. So I started hiring music system and people hired me for their events. Two years ago I got enough money to buy my own equipment, and since then business has boomed.”
In addition, she also puts to good use the decoration skills she learned from her mother. Business is getting brisk, although Uwitonze admits that it is still much of a one-woman enterprise.
“Most of the time I do everything myself – decoration and playing music. But it happens that I get a big event, when I have to hire other people to help me,” Uwitonze says.
While she is the youngest in a family with six children, she is the only one to have taken up business. It suits her perfectly, she says: if she passes the exams yet fails to get a government bursary for university, then she doesn’t have to depend on her mother but can pay for higher education for herself.
This attitude is typical of Uwitonze’s enthusiasm and determination towards work. “I don’t like sitting at home because I will become lazy and give my mother hard time to provide me with whatever I need,” she explains. “I have two hands and eyes and am in good health, so I can take care of myself. And I intend to be an international investor in different fields.”
As a first step towards bigger business, she now wants to get in touch with like-minded young people to set up a group of peers to collaborate on other business opportunities.
It will be a good occasion to find out who else has heeded the government’s call.