Young Black Entrepreneur Finds Success Making Affordable Wheelchairs

Daniel Habanabakize, young entrepreneur from Rwanda

Daniel Habanabakize, a 24-year old entrepreneur from Rwanda, has found success making affordable high-quality wheelchairs that he sells to the locals in his community. Typically, wheelchairs are imported into the country and thus expensive, but Daniel has found a cost-effective way to make them using metals and other materials that he buys locally.

After making and selling his first ten wheelchairs, Daniel used his earnings to buy basic equipment such as a welding machine, a supply of metal, and a supply of wheels.

Learning the skills

Fortunately, Daniel has a background in mechanics, but he still needed training to jump start his business idea. But he says that it was easy for him to convince trainers and get support to help him with his idea.

He told The New Times, “The skills I acquired from school were enhanced through more training, and I started immediately after the training.”

Getting the clients

The hardest part of any business is finding clients who will buy into what you are selling, and Daniel too is facing this challenge. He does, however, have a plan to connect with schools and various disability organizations.

He comments, “I currently work with individuals and some schools, and I am in talks with the National Council for Persons wtih Disabilities (NCPD).”

His wheelchairs, so far, have been fairly easy to sell because the cost is significantly less than his competitors. For example, an imported wheelchair costs Rwf1.5 million (about $1,756 USD), but Daniel's wheelchairs cost just Rwf150,000 (about $175). That's a savings of almost 1,000%!

Daniel is just one of many entrepreneurs in Rwanda that are a part of a movement called "Made in Rwanda" that aims to increase the amount of products and merchandise in the country that are locally produced.
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