By Gratien Nsengiyumva
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” These are the words of Winston S. Churchill from many decades ago. Today, a person living out this quote in Rwanda is Enock Tuyisunge, a student at Southern New Hampshire University. He is pursuing his dreams as a businessman in the midst of significant challenges.
Enock started rearing five hens on his own back in 2012. After his hens doubled, he faced a pandemic and all of them died. He did not have any savings to overcome this. While many would give up, Enock didn’t.
“I will always be a businessman and I will fulfill this childhood dream,” Enock said. “I remember telling my mother that I will be like Sina Gerrard, the well known Rwandan serial and social entrepreneur, and the owner and manager of the food-processing company Urwibutso Enterprises.”
In 2014, Enock passed his national exams and his uncle gave him a gift of 15,000 Rwandan Francs (RWF) as a surprise. Remembering the lessons of 2012, this time Enock had his mother look over the money to ensure there were savings in the event of another catastrophe. Starting with 10,000 RWF, he began rearing hens and selling the eggs for a profit.
The remainder of the money was used to take care of the hens as well as for food. His project was developing rapidly and Enock decided to not study in boarding school so that he can continue to manage his business.
Enock’s business today is supplying eggs and hens to different markets of the Kiziba Camp, located in the Karongi District of Rwanda. Enock supplies to different shops within the community and its surroundings. With two employees, he supplies hens to the Mubuga and Kibuye markets. One employee cares for the hens and the other is supplying hens and eggs to different shops and markets. As we move into 2021 and the years ahead, his goals are to increase his productivity from the hens and increase the number of employees to six. He hopes to contribute to reducing the unemployment levels in the Kiziba community and its surroundings.
Key Lessons from Enock and My Takeaways
Here is some advice Enock shared for aspiring student entrepreneurs:
Try! Entrepreneurs are always encouraged to learn from their failures. Enock helped me to see this mindset in a very practical way.
“Your destiny is in your hands; you need to determine it,” Enock said. “Sometimes people are fearful of trying because they are afraid of failure. Entrepreneurs should always think that a journey of 1,000 miles starts from a single step. Success is determined by entrepreneurs who learn from failures. It is always better to learn from weakness and then innovate to avoid repeating the same mistakes.”
Be wise financially. “Try to learn how to save,” he said. “ For example, with today’s COVID outbreak, many entrepreneurs failed because they did not save. Always keep in mind future negative impacts.”
Manage your time wisely. This is particularly important for aspiring student entrepreneurs who need to balance school, work and family responsibilities. I appreciated Enock’s perspective that we need to learn how to plan one activity in a way that doesn’t negatively impact a different responsibility.
Commit to your work. It is very important to feel motivated by your work. “I am sure the more you are motivated, the more likely you are to succeed,” Enock said.
To sum up, I was thrilled to hear about the long journey of Enock. He faced many challenges, but he never gave up. I have the idea of running a milk production business that supplies different shops in the Kiziba community. I learned a great deal from Enock and I hope the above advice, as well as my thoughts, will contribute to my success.
Like Enock, I want to do my part to contribute to positive progress.
Connect with Enock Tuyisunge on LinkedIn.
Gratien Nsengiyumva is a student at Southern New Hampshire University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn. He wrote this story after going through Global Innovators Academy's Interview an Innovator online experience.