Promoting Self-Reliance: IFE Welcomes Daniella Odette Mukayiranga

The JCU Institute for Entrepreneurship (IFE) welcomed entrepreneur Daniella Odette Mukayiranga, Founder and CEO of Notes Solutions Ltd., for an online talk on February 25, 2021. Mukaryiranga was a guest in the Introduction to Entrepreneurship class taught by IFE Director and Business Administration Professor Silvia Pulino. Notes Solutions Ltd. is a digital strategy company based in Kigali, Rwanda that focuses on business development, product and project management, and sales.

Outskirts of Kigali, Rwanda, by Oledoe

Outskirts of Kigali, Rwanda, by Oledoe

A passion for entrepreneurship
Mukayiranga has a background in Information Technology, but over time she has acquired expertise in sales, banking, and customer service. Her passion for entrepreneurship started after high school. Upon realizing that people in her community had financial difficulties and struggled to pay their children’s school fees, Mukayiranga committed to supporting herself and her family. After earning her university degree, she applied for a job in a bank and was hired the next day. 

Before launching her company Notes Solutions Ltd., Mukayiranga held several jobs. She started out as an Administrative Assistant at RSwitch, a Payments Solution Company, serving as the national e-payment switch of Rwanda. Four years later, she was promoted to Sales and Relationship Manager. A couple of years later, Mukayiranga was hired as Project/Product Manager in charge of payment channels at RwandaOnline Platform Limited, a technology solutions provider.

“I’ve always been eager to learn,” she said, explaining that she always strived to learn new things, to better understand the organizational structure, and to be aware of what each department did. This is one of the things that allowed her to acquire new skills and to sharpen the ones that she already possessed. “Be ready to work, as it can help you understand what you’re good at,” she added.

In 2015, Mukayiranga founded Notes Solutions Ltd., a company that focuses on business, management, and consulting. Shortly after, she decided to diversify her business and entered the hair care industry by opening hair salons and providing people with the necessary training for the profession. She then started purchasing land, and currently owns two hectares on which she plans to build affordable housing. In 2019, Mukayiranga was approached by Flutterwave Technology Solutions, an online payment platform for businesses around the world. She became Country Business Development Lead while also continuing to run her own company.

Talking about her experience as a female entrepreneur in a predominantly male field, Mukayiranga said that it wasn’t easy. As a woman, and as a mother, she feels like she often had to prove her worth by working twice as much as her male colleagues. “You have to learn to keep your head up,” she said. According to Mukayiranga, finding a balance between work and family requires a lot of commitment, so as to focus on each one without neglecting the other. She added that she is trying to develop an entrepreneurial mindset in her two daughters as well, by teaching them to save money in their piggy banks, and by making them understand that one needs to earn their money.

Tools of the trade
As for advice for entrepreneurs and working professionals, Mukayiranga recommends reading a lot, being informed about what is happening, networking, and doing specific training. She stressed the importance of working and not turning down a job just because it’s not the one we studied for or the one we wanted. The important thing, according to Mukayiranga, is to focus on gaining experience, rather than the money or the position. “Equip yourself with knowledge and the money and positions will come, people will start looking for you,” she said.

It is also crucial to learn how to save money and to prepare and plan before launching your own business. But, at the same time, implementing your ideas without waiting for things to be perfect is also important, as entrepreneurship is a journey based on trial and error, from where improvement stems. For Mukayiranga, “the key is to ask yourself why you’re doing it. Start with the things that matter to you the most, the things you believe in.”