The story of Mahamoudou Nikiema – A Young and Vibrant Burkina-be Entrepreneur

Ecole Pour Micro-Projet D’Entreprise (EMPE) of the Navigators in Burkina Faso aims to empower youth and women to create and manage profitable businesses that will dignify their own lives and allow them to support others in need through creating a spirit of responsibility and solidarity for communities transformation. Today, we share the story of one young man we have had the privilege to impact.

story4august2017Mahamoudou Nikiema, a young university graduate after many attempts failed to get a job from the Government or private sector. For some time he was jobless. In 2014, he started to sell mobile phone airtime right infront of a private university in his neighbourhood to earn a living. It was not until 2016 when he met EMPE and attended the entrepreneurship skills training that he started thinking of it as a business with a long term vision. On talking to him in June of 2017 when i had visited Burkina Faso, he shared that his greatest take-out from he training was marketing and the important of keeping records for his business. He learnt that the money he makes belongs to the business and he can separately pay himself as an employee of the business. He has recently graduated from the six months training program where he saids that “Applying what I have learnt in managing my business has significantly made it profitable”
Mahamoudou now owns a Tech Shop where he not only sells airtime, but has added  phones & computer accessories to his stock and provides mobile money transfer services. He started his business with a capital base of 150,000 FCA (€ 228). As we speak, his business stands at 2,000,000 FCFA which is equivalent to € 3050 with a average monthly profit of 200,000 FCFA equivalent to € 305. He shares with me through this business, he supports his parents who live in the village and pays school fees for his younger brothers. “Last year my mother was very sick and from my income I was able to support her medical treatment expenses, something i would not have managed to do in the past” he adds. In the month of July, he will buy his sister who has just finishes her primary schooling a bicycle, which in this culture is used as a critical means of transportation.
Mahamoudou shared with us that following the training, he has officially registered his business. In 3 years, he envision to expand the business to be a one-stop-shop for all matters communication and technology. He will soon be adding mobile phones to his stock to meet the current demand from the students and staff of the private university his business serves. To manage this, he has constructed a proper structure for his business that provides more security for his growing stock. It was important to note that his humble beginning has led to great rapport with his target population as the students and the staff from the university trust him and his products.
Since the training Mr. Nikiema is now confident, full of energy and with a greater vision for his business. He has moved from just selling credit cards for his daily needs to having a vision of a grand communication agency where he could earn a living as he create jobs for other young people. He has currently hired one young man. “I am forever grateful to God for the opportunity I had to be trained with EMPE” he says He finishes by challenging EMPE to better advertise their entrepreneurship skills training because he believes that many more youth could really benefit from it, just like he did. 
Photo and Story by Chelimo Keter & Jacob Nikiema