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From financial struggles to entrepreneurial success: A journey of funding and opportunity

Christian Gakwaya is an entrepreneur who founded Rwanda Events, a company that organizes events, conferences, and concerts. He started this venture in 2009 while still a student, offering protocol services at various meetings, to earn money for school expenses.

Christian Gakwaya discussed this on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, during a speech at the 19th National Umushyikirano Council meeting.

He mentioned that since 2009, Rwanda Events has visibly expanded, starting with just three employees but now employing 60 people working daily, with numbers increasing during busy periods.

Christian Gakwaya said, “When we started in 2009, we were looking to earn money for school, but by 2014, opportunities began aligning with government plans when the Rwanda Convention Bureau was established. They helped us in training and made us understand that our sector is one of the pillars the country’s economy is built on.”

Christian highlighted that one of the factors in the growth of Rwanda Events was the international conferences Rwanda began hosting in 2014, including the ‘World Economic Forum on Africa- WEF Africa’, which provided significant learning opportunities and professional growth.

He stated, “This was like another door opening for us to change our operations, and prepare for the country’s future direction.”

Between 2016 and 2019, the Rwandan government invested in infrastructure, including facilities like the Kigali Convention Centre, BK Arena, and Kigali Marriott Hotel.

Christian announced that they approached these facilities to establish collaborative relationships, which led to Rwanda Event hosting many conferences and significantly expanding its business.

He said that due to the advancement of this sector in Rwanda, there should be an effort not only to host conferences in Rwanda but also to compete internationally. “I encourage entrepreneurs, private sector, and other associations that this opportunity to compete for international conferences exists; we at Rwanda Events have that capability.”

Christian requested the government to implement training programs in this sector, both short-term and long-term, to keep up with its development and ensure it yields substantial results in and outside Rwanda.

Currently, Rwanda Events offers three main services: ‘Destination Management’ including hosting visitors to Rwanda for conferences, organizing their arrival, accommodation, and meals; ‘Professional conference organizer’ which involves managing conference attendees, assisting in drafting resolutions and interpretation; and ‘production’ services related to video, audio, and lighting equipment used in conferences for smooth operation.”

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