Jean-Claude has studied IT to a postgraduate level, after being awarded a bursary for academic excellence during his degree, and it was during these studies that he first began thinking about starting his own business. He was working for an IT support company while studying, and at first he concentrated on offering a similar service to them, opening TNT Computer Consulting in Dec 2012. However the experience of working with different clients made him realise how many students were leaving schools and university without any IT skills, and he had the idea to diversify into training. He had very little resources when he started, and found that one of the biggest challenges was convincing people that despite his lack of office space and computers he was still qualified.
Rajel is a macroeconomist and Chartered Financial Analyst. He decided to volunteer for Grow Movement because he had worked and in East Africa, and lived in Tanzania, he was interested by the prospect of working with entrepreneurs from the region.
Jean-Claude and Rajel worked together on strengthening the core business of IT consulting, and on launching the training side of the business. The first issue they worked on was cashflow and categorisation of banking accounts. Jean-Claude was especially keen to pay taxes and operate a lawful operation, his commitment meant that they began to resolve this issue quickly, and they soon moved on to marketing the business. Rajel helped Jean-Claude identify the other businesses that might need IT support, and the fact that his French-language skills helped set him apart from competitors. They also worked on a marketing plan for the training side of business, and Rajel suggested building relationships with schools, universities and IT suppliers, as well as advertising on the radio.
Jean-Claude is now paying taxes, his revenue was increased by 60% and he took on two members of staff. He has been able to develop the training side of his business in particular. Within a month of working on a marketing plan with Rajel he was interviewed on the radio, he was organizing prize giveaways, and offering scholarships. TNT is now thriving, and he has so many word-of-mouth recommendations that he no longer has to advertise. He hopes to open a training center in every country in East Africa.
“My proudest moment was running for the EDUCAT competition. Rajel taught me how connect with people, gave me confidence to talk about my company in front of people and show them what I’m able to achieve.”
“I gained a friend from the experience, and I am still in touch with Jean-Claude. I also learned about aspects of the tech sector, and I would like to visit the area again to explore this sector in Rwanda further as it is ahead of other countries in the region. I would definitely recommend the experience to others, in fact I already have recommended it to colleagues!”