Cooking up business dreams in Rwanda
- Name: Joella Muhimpundu
- Job title: Chef
- Company: Park Inn by Radisson Kigali
- Programme: Inspiring Managers
- Country: Rwanda
- Partners: Hanga Ahazaza, Mastercard Foundation
A start-up chef’s viral move from management to entrepreneurship
Joella Muhimpundu is 29 years old and loves to cook. As a young professional in the hospitality and tourism sector, she has made her way up through the ranks as a chef at The Park Inn by Radisson, one of Rwanda’s premier hotels in the capital city. Joella, who currently works part time at The Park Inn since Covid-19 impacted the sector, has cooked up new opportunities for herself with the help of AMI’s programmes.
With the prospect of less work and less income, she kept doing what she loves, cooking. What she didn’t realize is that it would ultimately lead her to start her own business and grow her reputation through her YouTube channel. However, Covid-19 was not the only reason she decided to start her own business.
Prior to setting out on her own, Joella – with the support of her employer – completed the African Management Institute Rwanda’s Inspiring Managers programme for emerging leaders in Rwanda’s hospitality and tourism industry, as part of the Mastercard Foundation’s Hanga Ahazaza initiative. In the programme, she learned how to set smart goals, negotiate, communicate effectively and manage employees. This experience prepared her to adapt to her new situation, and gave her confidence to start out on her own.
During the first lockdown in 2020, Joella was inspired by her friends who requested her to teach them how to cook. They were not going to work and had plenty of time to learn. She taught them how to cook using the ingredients they had at home.
Everyone loved her advice and encouraged her to start her own YouTube channel. She named the channel “Teka Par Idee du Jour”, a kinyarwanda-french title which means ‘Daily Ideas for cooking’. She hopes to teach as many people as possible and earn a living from cooking.
Joella’s channel has reached over 5,000 views and has 1,400 subscribers. But more importantly, her business started to grow, and has created opportunities for her community.
“Since I’ve started my own business, I’ve gained and worked with more than 10 different clients,” said Joella speaking to AMI in her home kitchen and YouTube studio. “My business doesn’t only benefit me, it’s also a source of income for others, including supermarket owners, suppliers who provide the ingredients for my dishes, and videographers who support me with filming.”
Joella now has two employees responsible for video production and editing and she continues to work for her former employer. In difficult times, she is defining her own path, rather than letting the Covid circumstances define her.
She encourages all professionals, especially women, to join one of African Management Institute’s programmes in Rwanda, offered to entrepreneurs and managers during these difficult times. She suggests it’s an incredible way to advance their skills and knowledge in order to develop their careers.
“I encourage all women and girls to work hard, and know that they’re able to achieve even more than people expect from them,” concluded Joella.
With this kind of encouragement, we know Joella is doing just what great chefs do, cooking up great food and inspiring everyone around her.
AMI and Rwanda Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs partner to offer virtual business training programmes to young business leaders
Through this partnership, at least 600 entrepreneurs from all districts in Rwanda will have access to AMI business training programmes.
The Management of Small Things
To succeed in business or in providing public services one needs obsessive attention to quality and reliability, driven by empathy for the customer and a belief that it is up to me to help them.
AMI’s 2020 Impact Report: A year of struggle, hope and resilience
AMI has released its 2020 Impact Report which provides a snapshot of the company's impact drawing on quantitative and qualitative data from businesses and individuals across Africa. As the outlook remains uncertain for Africa's MSMEs in 2021, the report explores insights gained from supporting businesses and entrepreneurs with practical tools and training.