Jolis NDUWIMANA is one of the ten young innovators awarded by the President of the Republic of Burundi Evariste Ndayishimiye during the closing evening of the 2021’s Peace Flambeau, on November 27, 2021. Each of the ten young received an envelope of three million five hundred thousand Burundian francs (BIF 3,500,000) to continue his/her project and will be supported during the realization of his/her project.
A problem, a solution
There are not many like Jolis Nduwimana. His company “Warrior Eco-Green Enterprise-WEGE” founded in April 2021 and located in Karusi is a project of manufacturing biodegradable packaging from banana trees. It was among the 10 best projects selected among the 759 projects of young people who were in the competition organized by the United Nations Development Program-UNDP in partnership with the ministries in charge of communication and information technologies.
All starts when Jolis Nduwimana finishes high school. “It was in 2017. My father was shot by unidentified criminals. Being the oldest in the family, I found myself in a situation that I couldn’t control”, he recalls.
Jolis will be forced to go to Bujumbura to look for a job. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find the right job for him. He began to carry goods by the head. “I was “umukarani” (a porter). The fatigue was uncontrollable. Life seemed difficult to me. I wondered why I was going through such a hard life. My prayer was to one day improve my living conditions“, he tells us.
At the end of 2018, after a long time of reflection, the innovator Jolis will get an idea of starting the manufacture of biodegradable packaging from banana trees. “The idea came to my mind but I had doubts. I did not believe that it would be possible. Little by little I worked on my project and I had the finished product on December 23, 2020. I sold the first packaging on February 15, 2021. Then, my company “Warrior Eco-Green Enterprise-WEGE” officially started on April 20, 2021. And after a few months, it flourishes “, he enthuses.
And now, a sigh of relief
After starting his business, Jolis Nduwimana confides that he has been doing researches on the internet to refine his product. “The internet has helped me with two things: I learned the forms of packaging to make but also I learned how to improve my product, in particular how to decorate my packaging without machines“, he reveals to us.
He adds, “we make 100% ecological packaging from banana trees. If they are thrown somewhere, after two or three weeks, they deteriorate.”
As the entrepreneur Jolis informs, the added value of his company is centered on the valorization of the cultivation of bananas when treating bananas as raw material whereas previously banana trees were considered worthless after harvest. “Now, that is not the case. We are going to buy them and the farmer will make a double profit,” he underlines.
He says he mostly finds his customers through social networks because he haven’t had the points of sale yet. “But soon, we will have some“, he informs.
An opportunity, a profit!
Jolis Nduwimana tells that he benefited a lot during innovation week because he was promoted whilst before he was unknown to the general public. “Having the opportunity to present my project in front of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Burundi connected me to other young entrepreneurs but also opened up new horizons to me and suddenly I had a lot of orders“, he rejoices.
Within 3 or 5 years, the young entrepreneur Jolis hopes to have industrial production that will cover the national and international market. “And besides, I already had an order from Zimbabwe,” he tells proudly.
Jolis Nduwimana advises the young to make efforts for everything is possible. “The ability to think is a great gift that can work a lot. Try as many times as possible. Even if you don’t find good results, hold on. You will one day achieve. If you already have ideas, put them into practice because it is practice that gives results. The problem is not where you are in the process, but the problem is the image you give yourself by being in this or that situation. So, don’t wait for tomorrow. Dare and innovate. “