Emmanuel Uwamahoro- is a former leather shoe designer in a leather industry, who turned into a job creator after the collapse of the factory he worked for – Rwanda Leather- formerly known as Saban Centre du Cuir).
Using his experience of shoe designing, Uwamahoro worked shortly with various leather companies but later on decided in 2003 to start a small business (Mult Barry Shoes Ltd) a shoe making enterprise with an initial capital of Rwf204, 000
After many years of struggling in the business with limited and old equipment, Uwamahoro finally received a boost in his business after receiving funds from a government job creation programme dubbed “Hanga Umurimo program” which handed him Rwf14millions.
Uwamahoro used the funds to purchase modern shoe making equipment (Rwf7million) and the rest was used for materials. This has enabled him to work effectively, create jobs and earn a better living.
“I started with old machines and my products were not meeting the demand of the market today. The Hanga Umurimo program was an answer to my dream of making my business produce trendy leather products”
I received training and funding, which has so far enabled me to produce leather products that can compete with other foreign products and also employ and train some youths” he says.
With the funding from HUP, Uwamahoro now employs six workers at his workshop located in Nyarugenge district, near Hello Phone center, in the heart of Kigali city. He has managed to purchase better machines and produces leather products such as: shoes, sandals, hand bags, belts, and wallets among others.
Since there is a problem of lack of raw materials and expenses of importing quality leather in the business, Uwamahoro has planned on starting small, but ensuring on feeding the local market with high quality products that are in line with the changing designs leather market.
It is now three months since he received funding from Hanga Umurimo program, but he also envisages that the business will be able to bring in more than Rwf200.000 per month as a result the boost in his enterprise.
In a bid to promote his business, Uwamahoro says the ministry of trade and industry and the private sector should continue its support to leather producers to participate in Trade fairs and workshops, so that they can acquire more skills, techniques and compete effectively.
“The training on business management was very vital in my business, since I didn’t have any skills, but since the market needs keep changing every day, we need to be exposed more so that we can produce products that are trendy and marketable” he says.
In five years from now, Uwamahoro would love to have his business and products expanded through the main trading zones in the country and also export the products to the regional market.