Vianney Saïdi Baseka had an accident after his university studies and was disabled. Despite his disability, he didn’t get desperate. Even though he thought no one was going to hire him because of that disability, he understood as well that “disability in not inability”. He then decided to create his own company with the main goal of creating his own job and jobs for others. With a small loan, in 2018, he created UJEAD-Akeza Company (Union des Jeunes Engagés pour l’Auto-Développement) to start manufacturing hygienic products such as harbor soap, bar soap, and liquid soap. Below is the full interview we had with him.
Akeza.net: Who is Vianney Saïdi Baseka?
Vianney Saïdi Baseka: My name is Vianney Saïdi Baseka. I am 30 years old. I am married and I have two children, a boy and a girl. I hold a bachelor degree in English Language and Literature. In 2018, I created UJEAD-Akeza Company (Union des Jeunes Engagés pour l’Auto-Developpement). Now, I define myself as a young entrepreneur.
Akeza.net: Tell us more about your compagny?
Vianney Saïdi Baseka: My company name is UJEAD-Akeza Company (Union des Jeunes Engagés pour l’Auto-Développement). I created it in 2018 with 14 other young people. Now we are 5 (4 men and 1 woman) who are active. We are producing hygienic products namely harbor soap (for skin treatment), liquid soap and bar-soap. We make the harbor soaps from different products such as caustic soda, palm nut oil, rice flour, carrots, ginger, honey, milk, cinnamon, lemon juice, white and green clay, and water. For bar-soap, we add blue to the substances mentioned above and it is from the former that the liquid soap is transformed. In the beginning, we were producing big soaps that we sold at 15,000 BIF. But we concluded it was too big to be used while taking a bath for example. Thus, we started making small soaps we sell at 5,000 and 2,500 BIF. In the near future, we plan to make smaller soaps to be sold at 1,000 and 500 BIF.
Akeza.net: Why have you decided to create your own enterprise?
Vianney Saïdi Baseka: At the end of my studies of university curriculum, I had an accident and my left hand got paralyzed. Now, I am disabled and while working I only use my right hand. I thought no one was going to hire me because of my disability. I quickly understood that “disability is not inability” and thus I made my mind up to create my own job and give jobs to others throughout my activities.
Akeza.net: What are the goals of your company?
Vianney Saïdi Baseka: The main goals for my company is to make the most affordable, available and accessible hygienic products in Burundi, to create awareness in water sanitation and health by training people to manufacture locally washing products, and to overcome unemployment rate by training young people in entrepreneurship activities which can generate income.
Akeza.net: Are you with your achievements so far?
Vianney Saïdi Baseka: Of course yes, even if there is still a long way to go. I was very surprised when a university lecturer and a GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale) consultant come to learn how to make soaps in my company. In the same line of idea, I am very proud of the fact that people get trained in my company and go on to implement what they have learnt and manage to generate revenue for themselves. One of my soaps, known as “Umwakaka skin care soap” has been very successful. People who use it come back testifying how effective it has been on treating their skin diseases.
Akeza.net: How did you acquire the knowledge to manufacture soaps?
Vianney Saïdi Baseka: That goes back long ago. I was still a young pupil in secondary school and a refugee in Rukore camp (in Tanzania). I was trained with others on how to make soaps by Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) whose aim was to teach refugees how to sustain themselves economically.
Akeza.net: What is your experience as a young entrepreneur?
Vianney Saïdi Baseka: I have attended different trainings, which has enabled me to grow my company considerably. In July-October 2018, I was in Ethiopia for the “Entrepreneurs summit” based on how to pitch one’s business. In 2019 September-October, I was selected by Young African Leaders Initiative Regional Leadership Center/ East Africa to take part in the “Business Entrepreneurship Track” from January 3 to February 8. In the same year, I went to Kampala for Young Water Solution. I was also in Lagos (Nigeria) during 2019 for the Tony Elumelu Foundation in an entrepreneurship program of 12 weeks for an online training with business and financial plan.
Akeza.net: What do you plan for your business in the days to come?
Vianney Saïdi Baseka: In the days to come, I am planning to shift from manual manufacturing to industrial processing.
Akeza.net: What would you ask as support?
Vianney Saïdi Baseka: Like I’ve just said, I would like to shift from manual production to industrial processing. I might need support in acquiring the equipment.
UJEAD-Akeza Company is located at Mutanga sud market (Mugoboka) not far from Lycée Municipal Mutanga sud.