With the national push towards increasing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) literacy in Rwanda, the youth of Rwanda are taking their skills to a whole new level.

With an educational background in Computer Science and Beauty Therapy,25-year-old Anne Lise Uwingabiye blends the rather diverse fields in the business world.

The ServiceMag caught up with her to discuss what drives her business choices.

TSM: How would you describe yourself?

Uwingabiye: I am an entrepreneur who makes beauty products, specializing in bridal makeup and braiding. I am working on a software application that will allow people to book appointments for hair and beauty services in different salons in Kigali andto order a variety of cosmetics and have them delivered to their chosen locations.

I also work for DOT Rwanda as a facilitator and employment coach.

TSM: What role(s) do you play to influence change within your community?

Uwingabiye: As an employment coach, I mobilize, select, train, coach and advocate for young people who have dropped out of school to enable them to start a career in business or seek suitable employment or pursue further studies. As an entrepreneur, I mentor and encourage young people who want to start a business they are passionate about but don’t know how to do it.

TSM: Why are these roles important?

Uwingabiye: I believe these roles are important because at some point, we all need help. When we are young, we generally struggle with the lack of experience, resources or skills. We need to seek out people who can guide and encourage us. In my experience, this encouragement and motivation helps a lot, every day I see young people being empowered, getting jobs, starting businesses or going back to school. 

TSM: What do you consider the biggest challenge in your field? 

Uwingabiye: In the beauty field, it is hard to break even because experience counts a lot and emerging technicians have a hard time finding clients. Additionally, there are many shops/ boutiques within the city, however, many services in this industry have not yet been introduced on the Rwandan market. 

TSM: How do you hope to overcome present challenges through your career?

Uwingabiye: I intend to be among the first people who will increase awareness of services like consultations, spa services, nail technologies, makeup in Rwanda. Also in the future, I would like to contribute towards training emerging and passionate technicians so that they can find their way in this business arena.

TSM: What is your biggest success story and how has it made you feel?

Uwingabiye: Having a business in a field I am passionate about is my biggest success story. Irrespective of the fact that starting something new without resources hasn’t been easy for me, little by little I have seen my business grow. When I do bridal makeup and brides like the look, when people tell me that the Vaseline I make is working great on their skin, when people tell me that digitalizing this business is a much needed step, I feel rewarded.

TSM: Where do you derive your motivation?

Uwingabiye: I try to stay passionate about what I do, I stick to it and I believe in my dreams. People who know me personally and professionally admire this attitude and the more they appreciate what I do, the more I feel indebted to improve myself and contribute more to society. This has won me clients, partners, investors and friends and it keeps me going.

TSM: What are your aspirations?

Uwingabiye: My future goal is to have an outstanding beauty firm in Rwanda. I want to take this business to the next level and turn it into a sustainable venture that is internationally competitive, that empowers its employees and gives quality service to customers.

TSM: What is your take on service delivery in Rwanda especially in this sector?

Uwingabiye: I believe we are on the right path especially with going green. When we put emphasis on keeping the country clean, we will have clean streets and through whatever field we are involved in, we should encourage employees to follow suit and maintain a green culture.

TSM: What is your message to the Rwandan youth?

Uwingabiye: I would like to encourage the youth to put their ideas into action.They should do this in strength and courage. Thebest time to invest in your career is when you are still young, for when you make mistakes you still have time to learn from them and do better.

Up Close

1. When are you happiest?When I hang out with friends.

2. What inspires you the most? Prayers and devotion in open spaces with lots of nature and fresh air. I am also inspired by stories of young achievers.

3. What is your saddest moment?When I am broke.

4. Your favorite hangout spot when in Rwanda? Gihindamuyaga monastery.

5. Favorite drink/ snack/ dish? Freshjuice/fish.

6. What gadget can’t you possibly do without?My phone.

7. YourDreamCar? Any!As long as it is comfortable.

8. If you had one wish, which influential person would you like to meet? Jesus.

9. Are you dating single or married? Single.

10. What is the most daring or craziest thing you’ve done? When I was six years old, I pierced my friend’s ears!

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