32-year-old Belinda Umurerwa is the true definition of a modern day woman; graceful but at the same time bold. Once a journalist, she is now an entrepreneur and the director of events-organisation company, Kigali Entertainment Promoters. Umurerwa will stop at nothing when it comes to exploring opportunities that could take her to the next level. She spoke toWomen Today’s Donah Mbabazi about her journey and the drive behind her determination:
What pushed you to leave journalism to become an events organiser?
I have always been the kind of person who goes for what I want. I don’t fear taking risks and have always been bold and confident. I guess that’s why I am where I am today.
Tell us about what you did previously.
I worked with City Radio in 2008 then joined Rwanda Broadcasting Agency in 2009 till 2015 as a news anchor. Later, I joined UAP Insurance as an executive assistant to the CEO – that was in 2015.
Was it hard moving from being an employee to running your own business?
I realised I could do a lot by myself and since I always had the passion to be an entrepreneur, I thought it was time to follow my dream. Working for other people made me feel like I was cheating myself, besides, as a single mother, I definitely have a lot of responsibilities and when you look at the monthly pay it usually doesn’t cover with your expenses fully. I had to take a step further.
Why events organising?
I went for it because it’s what I thought I was capable of and entertainment was one of the untapped opportunities. It was in 2014 that I opened up that company but by then, I was working with another team called Envy Promotions and I was working with Frankie Joe and some other guys. But later, I decided to go solo because the other partners went into different things, besides I had more projects that I wanted to do on my own.
What are some of the shows you have organised?
My company partnered with Envy Promotions and we hosted the re-union of Big Brother Africa last year. Later this year, I plan on bringing to Rwanda 2face Idibia and famous Nigerian movie stars Osita Iheme and Chinedu Ikedieze. But I can’t disclose the details just yet.
What would you say was your turning point?
It was when I met two Nigerian guys at an event; in the midst of our discussion, I realised they were also into events organising and I also learnt that they were actually good friends with 2face Idibia. They connected me to him and, since then, I have been embracing countless opportunities.
What are the unforeseen facets of business?
Business is so uncertain; sometimes, of course, you have sleepless nights thinking about what to do next. in particular, the entertainment industry is tricky but all this can be driven by passion.
What, in your career, are you most proud of?
I must say I am very proud of having worked with Rwanda Television because it opened up so many doors for me. And, of course, I treasure my experience.
What’s the one thing that confuses people about entrepreneurship?
People think that for one to be an entrepreneur you have to have a certain amount of money as capital, which is wrong. It needs an open mind and knowing what you want. Of course any business needs capital but this isn’t the crucial part. Knowing what you want to do with the little you have can get you what you want, you only have to be determined and focused.
What are some of the challenges you have encountered?
Of course the start is not easy, entertainment is not an easy venture, plus the issue of capital is another thing. But what I’m doing is out of passion and commitment, so nothing can stop me.
Have you ever felt like quitting business?
No I haven’t. I find what I do fulfilling.
What are your objectives as an entrepreneur?
Objective number one is to see my company grow. I am looking at Nigerian artistes right now because I have partners there, but of course, I have to try and see if I can work with artistes from other countries too. Also, I am looking at connecting our artistes to international artistes. I spoke to 2Face and he agreed to do collaborations with our artistes. With this I’m hoping to see our industry grow further.
What do you have to say to women who prefer to stay in their comfort zone?
If you fear risks then you cannot do anything for yourself. Women should be bold and try out whatever they want to try out; they should try and fail but never fail to try. I realised that there is nothing difficult on earth unless you don’t try it out; it’s all about one’s determination.
When I started out, I had no idea that I would meet the people I know now, but through 2face, I met Tiwa Savage’s manager and also one of Yemi Alade’s crew members. And now, these are some of the people that are going to help me with my other projects next year.
What inspires you?
I’m doing all of this because I want to be big in the future. I also want money, the amount that I want isn’t specific but I need money and I’m working towards getting it.
What philosophy do you live by?
The sky is the limit, nothing is going to stop me and whatever comes my way should be ready.
What has motherhood taught you?
To be a strong woman. I am stronger than ever and the fact that I am a single mother even made me stronger. I am the man and the woman of the family.