Nzuki Designs

Entrepreneur: Teta Isibo, 28

Teta’s journey to entrepreneurship reads like one of many entrepreneurs in the developed world. A qualified urban planner, Teta left a comfortable job with the Mayor’s office in Kigali to follow her passion. It started out as a hobby, designing pieces of jewellery for herself and getting local crafts women to bring her designs to life. Friends and family soon started to ask her to make pieces for them and the demand kept on growing. Teta attributes this to the fact that the existing local craft designs were out-dated and not to the taste of the growing number of young, trendy Rwandans. With no background in fashion or business, in 2010 Teta took the plunge, quitting her job to set up Nzuki designs.

Consultant: Mimi Ng

A transfer pricing and international tax expert with over 12 years’ experience, Canadian Mimi joined Grow as a volunteer, viewing it as a good opportunity to use her experience and skills to contribute to the development of Africa, a subject she is very passionate about. “I was interested in Africa, and specifically entrepreneurship in Africa, because in addition to aid, I believe that Africa also needs solutions that harness people’s initiative and creativity. Grow provided a great opportunity for me to help, without necessarily going to Africa.”

Business challenges and objectives of the project

Teta had challenges managing her inventory which, being made up of very many product variations, she found difficulty keeping track of. The fact that all her products are handmade and require considerable lead time added to the complication. Mimi worked with Teta to help her get a good handle on her financial and operational management including; supplier management, logistics, sales analysis and inventory management.

Teta also wanted to open up an online store and needed help figuring out how to overcome the IT and logistical challenges of running an online business out of Rwanda.

The results

Following Mimi’s advice, Teta acquired the quick-books accounting system for her store. This, coupled with the stock management system they developed, has transformed her business she says. The result has been an 80% increase in profit and the creation of three jobs; two sales assistants and an accountant.

Teta is still working on setting up the online store which she plans to open by the end of the year.

The Impact on Teta

“It’s helped me plan ahead strategically. I now have a clear picture of which items sell and which ones don’t. I am able to see the seasonal performance trends and plan my stock accordingly. I had no background in business when I started so this has really been invaluable. As a start-up entrepreneur, getting a different point of view is always valuable. Someone who can ask you the questions you haven’t thought about.”

The Impact on Mimi

“We worked so well together and having enjoyed the process so much, I decided that I wanted to stay working with Teta after the project and continue to support her. The experience opened my eyes to some of the unique challenges faced by businesses in Africa. For example I learnt how difficult it is to set up something as simple as an online store when you are not living in a westernized, developed economy.”


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