Young entrepreneur Keila Gasabwa has brought in yet another boost towards Made-in-Rwanda move through her online platform www.madeinrw.com through which she sells products from Rwanda to the United States, Canada, Europe and soon reaching out to Australia.
Gasabwa is a Rwandan national living in the USA where she is pursuing her university studies since 2013. She has recently started a company named ‘MadeInRW Inc’.
Speaking to IGIHE, the 25-year Gasabwa expressed confidence that she will take Rwandan products to all corners of the world drawing from the success of her project’s six-month pilot phase during which 21 metric tons of foodstuffs and wares from Rwanda were sold abroad via her website.
Gasabwa, emerging name to fame
Little was known of the Rwandan young girl, Gasabwa, until she came out as one of the best meeting and events coordinators at the recent Rwanda Day held in San Francisco, California, in the USA. At the occasion, she proved her competencies as she superbly coordinated a session that discussed culture in the presence of many dignitaries including Minister for Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo and Prof. Anastase Shyaka, the CEO of Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), among others.
Gasabwa has origin in Nyarugenge Sector of Nyarugenge District in the City of Kigali. She is doing Political Sciences in Sacramento, State of California where she has got a job in Wells Fargo Bank as the assistant to young entrepreneurs, a job she acquired due to her proven competencies.
She got into USA in 2013 after completing primary and secondary education in Rwanda at La Colombiere School and Riviera High School.
Business as passion
Despite her current studies in Political Sciences, Gasabwa says she felt passionate about business since her early age, inspired by her mother. She pursued her childhood dreams until recently when she started a company ‘MadeInRW’ which is registered and operational in California. She targets to sell Rwandan products to all corners of the globe to let everyone experience the quality of Rwandan products as well as contributing to the country’s economy growth.
“I started this company after realizing that it was so hard to find Rwandan products at foreign markets and I am committed to giving my contribution in developing my country. Via my site, people buy different products from Rwanda and products are delivered to them wherever they are in the USA, Canada and Europe,” she said.
Gasabwa started selling products of Urwibutso Ese, also known as Nyirangarama by Sina Gerard, flour of Kinazi Cassava Plant (KCP), Rwandan coffee and other local drinks. She also sells fashion products by UZI Collections and Kabash Fashion House.
Through Gasabwa’s online platform, products in 21 tons have been sold to the USA and Canada including mainly 20 tons of KCP’s flour and one ton of other foodstuffs and wares.
She is facing challenges of high prices on Rwandan products which make it hard for clients abroad but she is seeking a solution in collaboration with Rwandan exporters.
MadeInRw winning foreign customers
Gasabwa’s MadeInRW company seeks to win more non-Rwandan foreign customers from the current 40% while the remaining 60% is comprised of Rwandans living abroad. She says that more foreigners are turning to Rwandan products due to their quality and through her efforts in publicity using digital marketing strategies.
“For example, we use ICT tools to help interested customers to get information about Rwandan coffee rating and other buyers’ reviews,” she says.
MadeInRw currently employs a number of people but Gasabwa wants to keep expanding the business to employ more in a bid to fight unemployment. She targets to export at least 40 tons of Rwandan products by 2017 and multiply the sales several times in the years ahead.
“I am currently selling to USA, Canada and Europe but want to penetrate Australia’s market in the near future as I keep reaching out to more countries. My objectives are to help Rwandan exporters to get their products to international market and grow the country’s exports,” says Gasabwa.
Efforts of different entrepreneurs, like Gasabwa, have contributed to the reduction of Rwanda’s trade deficit by 25.2% in the first two months of 2017, according to Central Bank (BNR).
By Jean d’Amour Mugabo and Munyengabe Murungi Sabin