Alexis has always had the entrepreneurial spirit. He is happy, outgoing, and has an infectious smile. So when Alexis found himself unemployed last year he decided to start a business for himself. Why depend on more short term work when he could follow his dream of running a small business, and create employment for others while doing it?
The primary means of transportation for most Rwandese is the matatu, a mini-bus taxi that is often overcrowded and overloaded with cargo. Most of these buses are very old, and with a lack of proper maintenance and second-hand parts, they are very dangerous on Rwanda's curvy, hilly roads. Alexis saw that the cost of repairs deters owners from properly maintaining their matatus, and set his sights on finding a way to make the repairs more affordable and, in turn, the buses safer.
Earlier this year, Alexis started an auto shop to provide repairs and spare parts to the bus companies. In addition, he has partnered with a local vocational school to hire graduates from its auto repair program. With Alexis these students will receive a full time job—rather than a low-paid apprenticeship—and will provide Alexis with highly skilled technicians.
Right now, Alexis's business is small, but he has finally secured a deal with his first large-scale client to provide spare parts for their entire fleet of buses. This $10,000 loan will give him the working capital to service this client and hire two auto repair students from the next graduating class, giving Alexis the capacity and credibility he needs to bring in other big clients and grown his business in the future.
About African Entrepreneur Collective
African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC) is a business accelerator program that aims to help African youth-led enterprises grow and create new jobs for poor in their communities. This unique, comprehensive program is committed to address the problem of unemployment in Rwanda and to capitalize on the opportunity for sustainable SME growth and fill a demonstrated need in East Africa.
Each year, AEC recruits and selects 100 entrepreneurs to participate in a two-year business accelerator. Once identified through competitive applications, entrepreneurs participate in the Business Training to enhance their business skills. Kiva lenders’ funds are used to impact more entrepreneurs in the country and create more job opportunities.
AEC joined Kiva through our Experimental Partnership Program, and has therefore received a lighter level of due diligence. Accordingly, loans associated with this partner carry a higher level of risk than typical Kiva loans.