From Russia with Love – International Flower Delivery Service brought to you by a Burundian Refugee in Rwanda
Reynolds Butari, a Burundian refugee young writer, psychologist and entrepreneur has opened his own business in Rwanda. A surprise delivery making clients smile ©Reynolds Butari, 29 Aug 2017
Reynolds Butari is a young writer, psychologist and entrepreneur who grew up in Burundi and has opened his own business in Rwanda.
In 2015, Reynolds started a flower delivery business in Burundi. Burundians abroad could pay online and have flowers delivered to their loved ones in Burundi.
“People just try to do everything to make their mother smile when they are far away from home. When I started the business, I thought this business would be for romantic customers and boys wanting to date a girl”, explains Reynold who, in Burundi, apart from being entrepreneur was an active professional psychologist and couple counsellor.
Fleeing to Rwanda and Re-starting his Business
“Now in Burundi you cannot live a decent life, young people are not given opportunities to grow. Everything is complicated: getting fuel, getting electricity or meeting basic needs. Neither do people feel secure in Burundi. Young people are considered to be a threat because they are capable of having a gun and fight. If you see people you know getting killed or threatened, you do not wait for someone in your beloved family to die.”
During crisis in Burundi, insecurity for young people escalated. Friends would get threats and some got killed. Here was neither the environment to expect development in his business nor the place to have a decent life. Reynold decided to flee to Rwanda where he now holds a refugee status. One reason for choosing Rwanda is that there are no traffic jams like Uganda or Kenya. This is an important factor considering the characteristics of his business, where flowers needs to be delivered on time. Moreover, the proximity to his home country, having a network of people and the similarity of the language reinforced his decision to move in Rwanda.
“I did not require a loan or any other financial assistance to get my business running in Rwanda. I already had my website(https://www.greenexpressafrica.com/) which a friend of mine helped to make, and the business was there! I just needed food to survive”
The market in Rwanda requires very quick deliveries: in some cases only 3 hours. The request are made through email or WhatsApp and the flowers are delivered on time to the indicated address. Reynolds emphasize that since moving his business to Rwanda, it has become more international. People from Nepal, Russia or any other country contact him to deliver flowers and gifts to the people they love in Rwanda. He explains that the access to internet brings higher business opportunities. Advertisement and payments are handled online. International clients can pay through Paypal or Worldremit and Reynolds instantly receives his fee onto his bank or mobile account.
Currently, Reynolds has created two part time jobs, but as his business grows he is expecting to employ more Rwandans and fellow refugees. He sees a great potential not only in Rwanda but across East African countries. In the near future he is aiming to expand his business to Gisenyi and gradually into Congo. In parallel to his main flower business, Reynolds also sublets rooms in his house, offer translation services and co-manages a live recording studio in Kigali.
Reynold’s dream is to have his child grow up with a farther that is a successful writer. One of his biggest goals is to successfully finish writing and selling his psychology book that explores “why we do not like nice people” in a relationship and rather tend to seek more adventure with partners who do not like us. Written in French, The book will guide readers to seek more viable relationships. Any capital raised from selling his book, he would invest into his flower business. In 10 years, Reynolds hopes to have his flower business to 5 African countries, but for now choosing to flee to Rwanda where refugees are enabled to start their own companies and contribute to the economy of Rwanda has proven to be a good decision.