Cephas Nshimyumuremyi has always wanted to be an entrepreneur and a solution provider. He knew his teaching salary wasn’t going to be enough to fulfill his dreams.
He saw a business opportunity when he received an information that the Rwandan people were attempting to use local plants for skin infections and to improve their skin quality.
Cephas saw this as a golden ticket for him to launch into his dream, he decided to use his science background and his knowledge for Rwanda’s local plants to create his company, Uburanga products to create herbal smearing jellies and soaps out of local medicinal plants.
He started his production line in his garage and used his salary from teaching to fund his venture.
With just ten dollars, the Rwandan chemistry teacher launched his business few years ago. He knew what challenges awaited him, but he went on anyway, determined to succeed.
Cephas reckons that his business idea came from trying to teach his students how the science they were learning in class could be applied in practical ways: “I teach chemistry so I showed my students how you can test a plant, and know the capacity of that plant to kill bacteria,” he says in an interview with CNN.
His company, Uburanga Products, makes herbal smearing jelly and soap from local medicinal plants that protect the skin from the bacteria that cause skin diseases, living the skin silky and smooth.
Today, the business he founded with his teacher’s mite has become a thriving venture worth more than $30,000 and employs 12 workers.
“In the 7 months I have been working on this project, I have capital of about Rwf5 Million in Additional to Rwf10 Million I got as a credit from Umwalimu Savings and Credit Cooperative I used to buy the place I operate in.” He said.
And that’s not all; the business now produces about four different products on the market including Uburanga Herbal Jelly, Uburanga Herbal Soap, Uburanga Vaseline and Uburanga Glycerin.
Cephas, a graduate of education from the Kigali Institute of Education (KIE) decided to take the bold step in business when he realized that his salary as a teacher was not enough to sustain him.
In Cephas’ words “I have a salary of Rwf90, 000 which is too little for my needs, as a professional teacher I decided to make use of the lessons I learnt in sciences and use plants to make jelly that is desirable to all.”
He is also the winner of the 2014 Educat, A GT Bank Entrepreneurship Award for local businesses. For Cephas, the future is very bright as he hopes to break new grounds. His goal is to produce 12 more products in the next three years and to make Rwf45million profit.
Cephas encourages his fellow teachers to learn how to make the most of their knowledge and their little salaries. That way, students will be encouraged not only to enjoy their lessons, but to apply them consistently.
And to young entrepreneurs he says; “look at the resources you have nearby and make something out of them. Don’t think that you need a lot of capital. Start with a little, but use the knowledge and the environment that you already have.”