Driving your business forward and making community impact
- Name: Claudine Niyonzima
- Job title: Co-founder
- Company: SAN TECH Ltd
- Programme: Survive to Thrive
- Country: Rwanda
- Partners: Mastercard Foundation
“I have learned that when a business is well managed, it cannot fail, and knowing your customers and their needs is the foundation of your business’s success.”
Claudine Niyonzima is an entrepreneur and co-founder of SAN Tech, a smart application and networking technology service provider based in Rwanda that equips young IT technicians, especially young women, with innovation and development skills. She is one of the African Management Institute’s Resilience Prize winners. AMI caught up with her to discuss how winning the Prize and joining the Business Survival Bootcamp and Survive to Thrive programme took her business to new heights.
Founded in 2019, SAN Tech was born from a thought that Claudine and her colleagues had back at university to make their skills profitable.
Beyond developing computer applications and repairing computers, SAN Tech has established a Tech Hub to provide students with training, internships, and career guidance to contribute to Rwanda’s ICT sector. Claudine believes that their X-Factor is being able to not only equip students with entrepreneurial skills but also create learning opportunities for them, which is a launch pad for their innovation.
After completing AMI’s one-month Business Survival Bootcamp and a three-month Survive to Thrive programme, both fully covered by Mastercard Foundation, Claudine says that these programmes have given the business a clear purpose.
“They trained us on setting smart goals as an entrepreneur. This enlightened me about identifying monthly profit and loss in the business as well as identifying which side is more profitable than others, thus identifying where to put a lot of effort. Last but not least, having goals helped me to know how to manage and best use our business assets,” Claudine says.
Claudine adds that the programmes not only equipped her with goal setting skills but also provided her with effective problem solving tools designed to help entrepreneurs address internal challenges or customers’ complaints.
“Whenever we have a pressing business issue, we use these tools to analyse and understand the root cause. This helps us to come up with an effective solution,” she says.
In mid-2022, Claudine won the AMI Resilience Prize representing the City of Kigali thanks to her business growth and its impact on the community. Through the Prize, Claudine received Rwf 1,000,000 to invest in the business – an opportunity she describes as a game changer.
She encourages and urges other entrepreneurs to join one of African Management Institute’s programmes in Rwanda. She believes these programmes will play an important role in her business success.
“My message to fellow entrepreneurs is that AMI has different programmes designed to help their businesses thrive and reach new heights. That’s why I would encourage them to apply and take advantage of this opportunity,” says Claudine.
With the aim of enabling 2,500 Rwandan entrepreneurs to bounce back from the COVID-19 crisis, the Mastercard Foundation and the African Management Institute (AMI) expanded their partnership in Rwanda with new entrepreneurship development programmes, namely Business Survival Bootcamp, Survive to Thrive and Take Your Business Online. Through the support provided to entrepreneurs, Claudine and other graduates have been able to make their business stay on its feet and increase revenues.
To learn more about the African Management Institute and its work in Rwanda, visit www.africanmanagers.org/ami-rwanda.
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