Meet Gabin Sano, a student and owner of Rwf5 million restaurant

Sano Gabin after he had prepared tea for customers by 7am. ( Pacifique Irene Kwizera)

Being a student doesn’t mean you can’t make your own money.

In fact, starting a business is possible in between classes.

At least that is what Gabin Sano, a third year student at University of Rwanda, did.

“My dream is to own the biggest restaurant in the town. And the only way which will lead to the fulfillment of my dream is to work hard and be more innovative”, said Gabin Sano.

Now he owns a Green Land Restaurant in Kicukiro District, Gikondo sector.

Gabin Sano is a third year student at the University of Rwanda, College of Business and Economics. He is from the Northern Province and he started his restaurant business in 2015 despite  his studies.

Sano was motivated to open the restaurant after conducting market research and found that some restaurants provide poor delivery service.

Wanted to fill the gap

“I had problems to get lunch because restaurants were still few and they provided poor services, yet there is a high number of clients. I thought of how to fill that gap by creating my own restaurant, believing in the possibility to win the market.”

Sano said that at the time of making his business plan he had little money on a personal savings account, which he increased by borrowing some from his family and friends. He started with a capital of Rwf2 million.

“A business idea is the most important key tostart a business. I drafted my project and shared it with my friends. Fortunately, they appreciated it and committed to lend me some money,” he said.

“It is very difficult to manage both school and business but I do my best. Obviously, studies are my priority but I have to ensure that the business too is running efficiently. I am on an evening programme so  I dedicate most of my daytime to my business. I work with my brother who stays also takes charge when I am not around”, he explained.

Lots of challenges

Gabin Sano devotes to work days and nights to fulfill his dream of having the biggest famous restaurants in the entire city.

A continuous increase in food prices at the market is the main challenge Gabin Sano faces in his business.

He said that it is not easy to increase the prices on the menu every time prices go up, because this can turn away the clients. In case the prices increase, he takes measures to manage the situation, such as cutting on expenses to avoid losses.

Opportunities for students

Sano noted so many available opportunities for students, things they can do in addition to their studies.

“Students should change their perceptions that a business should be started with millions, because even little money can be good capital. The most important for us is to keep thinking on how we can explore the opportunities which are around us. Again, all students can’t be employed. Thus, it’s better to start thinking of how to become job creators instead of job seekers.”

Sano advises his fellow students to come up with dynamic business ideas, adding that there are sponsors out there who are ready to support business start-ups.

Sano started  with Rwf2 million and today his business is worth Rwf5 million.

His tips on how to start your business
  1. Identify a problem that you want to solve.
  2. Make a business plan.Be creative – think outside the box.
  1. You don’t need a lot of money to start – your time and engagement are the most important stuff.
  2. You probably won’t make a lot of money for the first year, but don’t give up. It’s great having your own business.
The front side of Green Land Restaurant, Sano’s business.