In the highly competitive world of event production, understanding the experiential brand and marketing needs of customers is key, and if there is one company that understands this fact it is Jelim Premier Events. Founder Natacha Nduwimana is an entrepreneur with a keen eye for detail and a comprehensive understanding of the power of brand positioning through event activation, delivering innovative and high quality event experiences in the countries she works in.
LoA spoke to Jelim Premier Events founder Natacha Nduwimana to find out more about this growing industry sector and her company’s ambitions
What does your company do?
Jelim Premier Events is a full service event production, brand and marketing consultancy based in Rwanda and Burundi that believes in a new way of driving growth. By fusing insights, strategy, creativity and imagination, we help our clients uncover new ways to grow their brands and businesses. We produce events and offer a comprehensive consulting service for festivals, events and entertainment venues. From large scale consumer festivals and community celebrations to private corporate events and world class entertainment venues, we have a passion for creating memorable event experiences. We understand that creating a successful event takes more than a great idea and exciting programming. It's also recognizing and addressing every detail needed to make the event happen, assembling a quality team and effectively communicating the event objectives, as well as preparing for the unexpected. We strive to offer a great customer experience, better engagement, better design and better answers on how to win. Our clients benefit from our extensive professional experience, unparalleled event production knowledge, as well as strong business relationships and reputation within the industry. Our team has an unwavering commitment to ensure a smooth running event experience for everyone involved including consumers, sponsors, performers, vendors and the community at large.
"We understand that creating a successful event takes more than a great idea and exciting programming. It's also recognizing and addressing every detail needed to make the event happen, assembling a quality team and effectively communicating the event objectives as well as preparing for the unexpected."
What inspired you to start your company?
I am a Burundian and have lived in Zambia, South Africa and Canada and travelled to many countries. My international exposure made me realise the lack of great customer service, innovative marketing and great events in Burundi. I came to realise that whenever I was planning vacations in other countries, I always planned around bigger events which are happening in those countries. Having been back to Burundi to contribute to the economic and tourism growth, combined with my passion for marketing and event production, I decided to contribute to promoting Burundi by providing great events. International tourism can be, and in fact it has been, an important source of economic growth in developing countries. My company eventually grew into an events management and marketing agency operating in Rwanda and Burundi and it has been quite a journey since its conception.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
At Jelim Premier Events, we are passionate about creating unforgettable events and driving growth for our clients though marketing and branding.
Our approach to unlocking growth is built on three fundamentals:
1. Uncovering deeper insights
2. Building stronger brand relevance
3. Delivering engaging customer experiences
We are able to drive impact by bridging the gap between strategy and execution by integrating a full range of growth enabling capabilities like marketing, innovation, digital, and design, and using our deep analytic skills to make the connections between consumer behavior and business demand. Partnering with Jelim yields ‘how to win’ strategies that are insightful, innovative and practical, leading to growth plans that work.
"By fusing insights, strategy, creativity and imagination, we help our clients uncover new ways to grow their brands and businesses."
Tell us a little about your team
We are a unique blend of ‘best-in-class’ thinkers, creators and practitioners. We all look at the world differently, but we share common traits - we are curious, collaborative and optimistic, but also pragmatic. And our international exposure means we can bring the best team to meet any challenge.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I have often been exposed to business situations and I have always had the entrepreneur bug since my teenage years. I used to work for a credit company in Canada that was involved in credit profiling, data analysis and credit collection for different large companies in Canada. So when I came to back to Burundi with that experience and worked for one of the leading banks in Canada, my aim was to start a similar organisation. However, I came to learn that my passion lay somewhere else and in 2014 Jelim was born when I saw a gap in Marketing and Event management in Burundi and opened a branch in Rwanda in 2015. It has been a challenging journey but quite satisfying.
"We are able to drive impact by bridging the gap between strategy and execution by integrating a full range of growth enabling capabilities like marketing, innovation, digital, and design, and using our deep analytic skills to make the connections between consumer behavior and business demand."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
Rwanda and Burundi’s share in the international meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) industry is presently minimal. International Conference and Congress Association’s (ICCA) research ranked Rwanda as 21st in Africa in 2014. The Rwanda Convention Bureau's sales and marketing plan is poised to push the country into Africa’s top 10 destinations for meetings and events. At Jelim, we would love to continue contributing to the growth of tourism in both Burundi and Rwanda by creating and managing bigger and better events. We want to expose our team to international events where they can learn and be inspired. We are looking at exposing Rwanda and Burundi to new and innovative marketing strategies and contribute to making Rwanda the hub of MICE in the East African Region.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Nothing beats seeing the labour of your hands come to life, inspiring many people in the process and contributing to the economic growth.
"Partnering with Jelim yields ‘how to win’ strategies that are insightful, innovative and practical, leading to growth plans that work."
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
I believe that there has never been a better time to be in an entrepreneur in Africa, especially for women, than now. People generally fall into one of three groups: the few who make things happen, the many who watch things happen, and the overwhelming majority who have no notion of what happens. Every person is either a creator of fact or a creature of circumstance. They either put colour into their environment, or, like a chameleon, take colour from their environment. The hardest part on your entrepreneurship journey is having the courage to start and staying in your journey. Take courage and know what you want, and go for it. Color your environment and ponder on challenges faced in society and come up with solutions for them, while generating revenue. It will definitely be tough and you will be tempted to give up many times but don't give up. The big deal is not that you failed, it’s whether you stayed there and faced your journey towards your vision. Lastly, get a mentor if you don't have one.
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Why LoA loves it….
At LoA, we love those women entrepreneurs who have a vision and who are completely committed to making that vision a reality, no matter how great the challenges may be along that journey. Natacha Nduwimana is one entrepreneur who has a great vision, not just for the company she is building, but also for the industry sector she is looking to grow in the countries she operates in, and in East Africa as a whole. She is definitely an entrepreneur to look out for in 2016 as she continues on her journey to fulfilling this vision. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa