Ornella Uwase’s inspirational journey to success as owner of Calibou Coffee and advocate for youth opportunities.

Ornella Uwase, a wife and mother of two children, is the owner of Calibou Coffee. From a young age, she was interested in entrepreneurship in the hospitality industry. After graduating from university with a degree in tourism and hospitality, she worked as a manager at a private radio station in Rwanda. There, she gained valuable skills in fearlessness and effective staff management. When she heard about a restaurant for sale in Nyamata, the city where she lives, she seized the opportunity to make her dream come true. The former owner was selling it at a low price due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business. Ornella saw it as an opportunity to turn things around.

When Ornella purchased Calibou Coffee during the challenging period of the COVID-19 pandemic, she realized that the establishment was not as spacious as it is today. The compound was not well-structured. She made several redevelopments, including creating a good parking area and making better use of the available space. This created a wonderful outdoor area where customers can eat and drink if they prefer not to sit indoors. Before Ornella’s acquisition, the restaurant only offered food and tea. However, her determination to excel in her business led her to make several changes, including adding coffee and bar services.

In 2022, Ornella partnered with Inkomoko to take her business to the next level. She was impressed by Inkomoko’s support for entrepreneurs and eagerly signed up for the business development services. As part of the package, she received training, coaching services, and a loan to renovate her business space. This enabled her to create separate areas for different services, upgrade her kitchen equipment, and enhance her marketing strategy. Inkomoko provided Ornella with a loan of 20 million Rwandan francs to help her business reach new heights. She is now in the process of building guest houses in Nyamata to continue her dream of investing in hospitality.

“I’m so thankful for Inkomoko’s support in both my business and personal growth as an entrepreneur. Having a business coach to turn to for advice on fresh ideas and overcoming challenges has been a game-changer. The fact that I could still reach out to them even after getting the loan made a huge difference. Their guidance has played a pivotal role in my success,” Ornella said.

Ornella posing with the team at the entrance of the restaurant

Starting with a team of 7 staff members, Calibou Coffee now employs 16 individuals. Ornella actively hires high school graduates, offering them an opportunity to enter the professional world. Additionally, the restaurant provides delivery services to reach clients in remote areas, ensuring quick and efficient service with motorcycles.

Ornella also advises young startups to pursue their passions. She believes that passion provides valuable motivation throughout the challenging process of building a business. Through her dedication, adaptability, and collaboration with Inkomoko, she has transformed Calibou Coffee into a thriving establishment. The cafe serves a growing number of satisfied customers and has even attracted high-profile visitors including President William Ruto of Kenya who sat for tea at Calibou on his recent visit to Rwanda.

Skip to content