From the Field

Microloans make an unexpected CEO

Years ago, when Helen Gurley Brown wrote about women “having it all,” she couldn’t possibly have imagined Rwandan entrepreneur Jacqueline Mukacyemayire.

Jacqueline has it all — a thriving business, great kids, and a husband who loves her dearly.

I always look at her and thank God.—Antoine Mukacyemayire

Several years ago, Jacqueline was featured in the video “Meet the CEO,” and she is a true success story. Today, Jacqueline employs 15 people full time. She’s received six microloans from VisionFund — the microfinance subsidiary of World Vision — and that’s just a start. Her first loan for $100 was shared between eight women. It started a small sewing business, making dresses with a borrowed machine. With her second loan, an individual loan of $200, she bought her first machine.

Several years ago, Jacqueline was featured in the video “Meet the CEO,” and she is a true success story. Today, Jacqueline employs 15 people full time. She’s received six microloans from VisionFund — the microfinance subsidiary of World Vision — and that’s just a start. Her first loan for $100 was shared between eight women. It started a small sewing business, making dresses with a borrowed machine. With her second loan, an individual loan of $200, she bought her first machine.

Jacqueline Mukacyemayire's transformed into a small business owner with the help of a microloan.
Jacqueline Mukacyemayire, center, started her dressmaking business with one sewing machine and was barely making it. But add a World Vision microloan and her work ethic, and today she runs a small business employing 15 people. (©2015 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Transformation to a small business owner through a microloan

Jacqueline credits VisionFund with her success. “When you go to VisionFund, they ask, ‘What is your plan?’ They advise us on a plan. They don’t just give money. VisionFund trains us on financial systems and cash flow,” she says.

With subsequent loans, Jacqueline hired staff, rented space for clothing shops, and bought specialty machines to create finer dresses and shirts.

“To be very honest, if it wasn’t for VisionFund, I wouldn’t be the businessperson I am today,” she says. “My staff is even opening businesses. My children are healthy.”

Daughter, Oda, 20, will enter college soon. Her four other children, including an orphan the family adopted, are enjoying success in school. Jacqueline hired a tutor to ensure their grades stay high.

Jacqueline’s new dream is to create a factory right next to her home. “I’d like to employ 12 people in the factory,” she says. “I plan to start soon. I will make fabric instead of importing it from Congo,” she says.

Jacqueline and her husband, Antoine, recently purchased a sky-blue Toyota RAV4. Antoine uses it to transport cloth to his wife’s businesses. He clearly loves his very successful wife and partner.

“I always look at her and thank God,” says Antoine. “When I was dating, my prayer request was how my wife would look and be. If you want to see how God answered my prayer — look at Jacqueline.”

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