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Mr. Uwimana Jean d'Amour

Uwimana Jean d’Amour, Managing Director of New Art Style that make shoes

On my way home from school, I would always pass by the same shoe factory. Every time I passed by, I said to myself that ‘one day, I will do more than that.’ I went to the very factory to learn basic skills and by luck, I found other people to teach me how to make nice shoes. My name is Uwimana Jean d’Amour and today, I am the Managing Director for New Art Style Made in Rwanda shoes located in Kimisagara. I have been in business for 6 years now and during this time, I received the opportunity to participate as a beneficiary for the YouthConnekt bootcamp and awards in 2018 and I won 500,000 Frw. With this award, I opened a new shop in Rubavu District, and I was also able to establish 2 new selling points.

At the YouthConnekt bootcamp, I learned about business management, marketing, client satisfaction, customer care and customer service. This encouraged me to compare myself with others in the same industry and make the necessary changes to increase the production and quality of my product. These skills also motivated me to explore other markets beyond what we’ve had before. Before YouthConnekt, I had 33 employees. Using my award and skills learned from bootcamp, I have been able to train more youth to produce shoes. As a result, I have been able to gain 17 more employees. Before YouthConnekt, we were also producing 50 pairs of shoes per day and now we produce 70 pairs of shoes per day.

Hand made shoes

One challenge that we are currently facing is gaining capital. I want to expand my business. I have raw material and products, but I need a car to supply these products. In addition, it is hard to apply for a loan because I do not have a fixed asset. Another challenge that I am facing is that I cannot supply the demand. If we could get funding (grant, credit), we could buy new machines and establish our selling point. We can also meet our market target and match our supply with our demand.

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Background

In 2012, The Government of Rwanda partnered with UNDP to initiate the YouthConnektprogramme that is a multifaceted youth empowerment model focused on leveraging youth employability, entrepreneurship and civic engagement through innovation with a specific mission to serve as portal of connecting youth with their peers, role models, skills and resources for their socio-economic empowerment.