March 22nd 2016, Selection announcement was a memorable days for Frank Mugarura on his journey as a Tony Elumelu Entrepreneur but that cannot be compared to the excitement of been bestowed the mantle of leadership as Rwanda Hub Lead of Tony Elumelu Entrepreneur.
Frank’s passion for entrepreneurship started early from his University days he says “I always saw potential in my university classmates; I am someone who sees good in others. I always imagined what together we can do not for class marks but then for something bigger like selling creative services and solving problems, I wasn’t driven by the potential of the market or being frightened by our incapability to start and grow the business but I was motivated by a resilient team that can overcome any obstacles and a burning desire of offering the best creative services in the country, I moved forward and I Created Gravity Rwanda with my colleagues at the University of Rwanda/Creative design faculty.”
Gravity Rwanda is a marketing and branding company providing and visual designs: website design, Logos and Design consulting services: marketing campaigns, delivering eye catching brand identity and creative visual design that attracts viewers to businesses.
From the early start in business, Frank and his team had a mission to create a branding and marketing creative agency that provides services at a fair price, superior customer service that exceed customers’ expectations.
Achieving this mission however comes with challenges, a key challenge for Frank was starting out in business with no business skills, “I have been kind of entrepreneur who focus on providing good services but forget to focus on the systems of the business that produce a good service and that affected a lot the expected quality also I have been orienting my team to what we want to do rather than what we are currently doing that affected my sales because I wasn’t focusing on my current sales to be able to assess my profit and loss and appropriate measures instead I was focusing on launching a new product/packaging that will hit a market segment , that was a great challenge because I was really playing below the ground.”
Getting on board the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship helped bring solution to the problem of his business skills and as well improved his business “ From creating a unique value proposition, market research, and cost structure to bookkeeping and profit and loss statement these opened my mind to understand why my business wasn’t progressing and actually making non profit, secondly, having a mentor who truly understand marketing and branding equipped me with a more perspective to that shaped my understanding of my market segments, channels and pricing strategies. The seed capital also made everything happen from assets purchase to delivering my services, it helped me to target more market segments and gain credibility with my target audience, now in the past 6 months I have grow from 1 new client a month to 10”
Beyond the direct impact to his business, the network at Tony Elumelu Foundation also offered a chance to be a part of a wide and growing network “TEF made me dream Africa, it’s quiet interesting what you learn and how your mind expands when you belong in a wide network. Getting to know entrepreneurs from West Africa was a game changing experience, it made me realize the potential of what can be achieved and the economy that the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs will create for Africa, being part of that something big never made me the same again, it is helping me to expand and scale up my business to attract new markets especially West Africa”
Leading the Tony Elumelu Foundation Rwanda Hub Frank says is an opportunity to affect lives of Rwandan youths who make up 68% of the population. “Being the leader of the Tony Elumelu entrepreneurs in Rwanda is the beginning of a journey towards economic transformation, as the Rwandan Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs we come together , we will be able to share challenges and work out solutions, we will be able to influence policy makers to look at our side, we will be able to reach out to those with dreams but lack training, coaching, and mentorship. On a short-term, I will be working with other entrepreneurs to increase the number of selected applicants for the 2018 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme to 100. We will create a community of entrepreneurs who will drive the national economy.”
Through consistency and networking, Gravity is not holding back in expansion as they are discovering new locations and increasing sales and recently capturing a new market in NGOs through providing services of social media, website management and photography, and focusing on a campaign of least gaining 2 contracts a month. This expansion drive is being executed through a team of marketers who are commissioned on every deal they close, using a door to door strategy to insure communication and exposure is effective. Profit from this expansion drive will be invested in building capacity and procuring more assets including a large format printer and drones for photography.
Frank sees Gravity Rwanda as the center of creativity and critical thinking, hence he has established a community of entrepreneurs giving back by teaching children and young creative entrepreneurs starting a business.