Ye! Chapter Rwanda explores financial management for early stage entrepreneurs
January 13, 2022
This past December, the Ye! Chapter Rwanda hosted an expert-led discussion on financial management for early stage entrepreneurs. Organised by the Ye! Ambassador (Aline Uwase) and Ye! Anchor Organization (Impact Hub Kigali), the event took place in person at Impact Hub Kigali (The Rooftop Ikawa Cafe). Check out the full recap and key learnings shared by the experts below!
About the event
To mark the last Ye! Chapter Rwanda event of the year, we hosted a panel discussion on investor readiness themed “Financial Management for Early-Stage Entrepreneurs.” Looking back at our past events in 2021 that span skills building, networking and fund raising through events on Digital Marketing For Entrepreneurs, Youth Networking Nights, Overcoming Failure Nights and Youth Startup Products Exhibition at The Sunday Market, it felt only right to end the year with a bang and talk about everything finance for early stage entrepreneurs.
We had a fantastic panel featuring: Philip Gasaatura – Investor, Strategy Consultant and Country Director at Katapult Africa; and Kenny Ntwali – Entrepreneur and Founding Member of Business Angels Rwanda. We closed the event with a contribution from Ye! Chapter member, Peter Ndahiro – Founder of AGNetwork about his journey seeking funds, closing the event out with the early stage youth perspective.
The event’s objective was to expose early-stage entrepreneurs to Rwanda’s investment climate and help them understand the different investment vehicles available to tap into as an early stage entrepreneur. The event also worked to instill in the audience proper basic financial management techniques at the founding stage of an entrepreneurial journey and beyond. Lastly, the audience had the opportunity to hear from the panelists regarding some of the mistakes they have made in the past in regards to financial management, both from an investor and entrepreneur perspective.
While there were many interesting takeaways from the session, we have compiled some of the top ones:
Financial Management is “financial stewardship. As an entrepreneur, you are managing resources which can support you in managing bigger resources later. Protect your cash. Invest in learning basic bookkeeping. Tap into resources including friends who are accountants. Be resourceful.” ~Philip Gasaatura
When looking for investment opportunities in Rwanda and elsewhere “bring an investment that you believe can work. You need to de-risk many elements before bringing it to an investor. Their job is not to de-risk. Life is too short to make something no one wants, so don’t. Then figure out who will pay for it. Far fewer options for the early stage. Grants and bootstrapping are mainly the biggest tools at your disposal. Private equity and venture capital won’t come this far down the food chain.” ~Philip Gasaatura
At Business Angels Rwanda, “ we help entrepreneurs to connect them with relevant linkages” and what we mainly look for in entrepreneurs is “have you made sales? From my personal experience as an entrepreneur, making sales and bootstrapping is your best bet at an early stage” ~Kenny Ntwali
Top tips for financial management for early-stage entrepreneurs. At an early stage, “taking loans is extremely risky. DON’T take loans. Use different alternatives such as finding a side hustle. Bootstrap as much as you can and delay payments” ~Philip Gasaatura
Some common errors early stage entrepreneurs make include “you want a perfect business on day one, a beautiful presentation, and spending too much on capital intensive assets. If you can, beg, borrow or steal. Spend more on revolving cash. Become wealthy with assets, and cash broke. It will take a while. Be ready for the long journey.” ~Philip Gasaatura
How do we break this stereotype that young entrepreneurs will be successful right off the bat? “Get comfortable that it will fail at some point. Be ready to stand strong when it does. Learn from the mistakes and carry on. Failure doesn’t indicate you need to stop or that you’re not good enough. It’s part of the path to success.” ~Kenny Ntwali
Ye! Chapter Rwanda will continue supporting young entrepreneurs in Rwanda as we enter the new year of 2022. Over the past year, we have worked with mainly both aspiring entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas to change their communities and the world at large, as well as early-stage entrepreneurs looking to scale their products and services. In the coming years, we envision to expand our support to this community through activities such as pitching events to allow them to utilize and apply knowledge learnt from 2021 into scaling their businesses or turning their ideas into working enterprises.
We like to hear from you – what was your experience participating in the Ye! Chapter Rwanda’s events in 2021? Get in touch with us by emailing [email protected] today.