UR business student turned 2000 Frw into a 20,000,000 million Frw project

7 juin 2019

NIYIDUKUNDA Mugeni Euphrosyne, UR student says she has managed to create her own business which is now worthy 20 000 000 Rwf despite starting with 2000 Rwf back in 2017.

NIYIDUKUNDA Euphrosyne is a fourth-year student at the University of Rwanda’s College of Business and Economics. She is also the founder, CEO, and owner of AVO Health LTD, a small avocado cooking oil processing plant based in Mbazi sector, Huye district, Southern province.

NIYIDUKUNDA Mugeni Euphrosine

Many people think that opportunities are plenty in cities rather than their home villages, but Euphrosine saw the fact that she comes from Mbazi, one of the most avocado producing areas in the country as an opportunity and thought of how she could grab that chance to start a long way journey of becoming self-employed and the CEO of a team of eight people.

Back in 2017, there were plenty of avocados in Mbazi Sector that people including Euphrosine’s parents used to rear pigs so that they could consume those avocados. "That is the main reason that pushed me to think about something else that can be processed from avocados. Cooking oil is what came into my mind very fast" says Euphrosine.

Despite having a long list of challenges including having no funds, skills of processing avocados among others, she bought fresh avocados for 2000 Rwf and tried to process oil from those avocados. "I failed because I did not have any formula to get oil out avocados but I knew it was possible and that was my only motivation".

Euphrosine says that she managed to have 60 ml of oil (at the third trial) that she kept in a simple Inyange water plastic bottle. She took this small quantity of avocado oil that was processed in what she calls her simple self-discovered way, in a competition that featured young innovators and her project won 400,000 Rwf.

Ms. Euphrosine during a presentation at Kigali Serena Hotel

That’s when she started getting convinced that her things might work. "I bought a simple processing machine that enabled me to start producing between three and four litters of avocado oil before going to compete in youth connect where I won three million Rwandan francs," says Euphrosine.

At that stage, she started to get good connections ; people from NAEB, MINAGRI and other partners in agribusiness were then encouraging and orienting her in the right places to go for sponsorships and exhibitions until she got another chance to compete in post-harvest loss reduction project where she won 5,000 USD. With that amount of money, she bought another processing machine that enabled her to reach the level of producing between 80-100 litters every week until today.

Reading documents from the internet is the key that led point Euphrosyne to have skills of processing avocado oil. It was not easy for her to do all these things after accomplishing her school duties, but she knew she was going to sacrifice some of her time that was supposed to be for sleeping and relaxing, but she was driven by her high level of commitment.

One can feel that she has made it, but this young lady has got a bigger dream. She still spends a lot of sleepless nights because she has a high level of demand that exceeds her producing capacity. Euphrosyne has now a big demand from Indian companies that want full containers but her investment is still insufficient to be able to produce such a big quantity.

Avocado oil produced by the Avo Health Ltd

She has a dream of producing the same quantity she produces today in one hour to make sure that she satisfies her demand to the market. She doesn’t look at this as a challenge. She looks at it as an opportunity instead.

Despite her business being still on the infant stage, it has changed the lives of people in her locality. Avocado farmers now have a stable market for their harvest as well as getting training about planting good seeds and taking care of their avocado trees from Euphrosine. She has also employed 8 staff permanently and she gives temporary jobs to others where they dig holes for her when she wants to plants new avocado trees.

Ms. Euphrosine believes that there are several opportunities for youth and she emphasizes that university students should not wait until they graduate to start thinking about what to do because it will delay living their dreams. She agrees that lack of capital is a challenge for all young people who feel want to do businesses but she also knows that there are plenty of opportunities where there is one challenge.

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Story by : Joshua Mathias SEKAMANA, Internee