Juillson Kavakerwa is a passionate entrepreneur from the Democratic Republic of Congo, that attended the 1st edition of the Global MBA in Impact Entrepreneurship at the Tangaza University College of Nairobi (Kenya). He is the founder of the Program of Actions for Sustainable Development (PADS), an NGO in the Democratic Republic of Congo devoted to mitigate the perverse effects of development for the well-being of all in several areas such as Water, Food Security, Ecology, and Public health.
Juillson has always been active in the field of Humanitarian Action. After graduating in Management and Economic Sciences, he has worked in several humanitarian organizations, such as the Italian organization Cooperazione e Sviluppo Onlus, Intersos, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). He has also worked for the US Embassy in Kinshasa.
However, being very passionate about Humanitarian Action, he decided to set up his own organization at a certain point in his life. Therefore he enrolled in the Global MBA in Impact Entrepreneurship to get the right skills to hold an executive position.
“Leaving an international work position to go back to school was not easy at all. My friends and relatives kept discouraging me, but I knew what I wanted, and I knew that enrolling in the E4Impact MBA was the right choice for me.”
A few months after graduating, he created a different business from the one he presented while attending the MBA. His passion and determination lead him where he is now, and he’s thrilled with the journey he made.
“Despite everyone’s contrary opinion, I think I have been rewarded from my decision and regret nothing.”
Let’s understand why!
1.How was your Business Idea born?
In 2012 few months following my graduation from the Global MBA in Impact Entrepreneurship (Former MBA Global Business and Sustainability – Social Entrepreneurship Track) sponsored by E4Impact and ALTIS – Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, I was able to convince 15 people to synergize our intellectual and financial means to create a charitable organization called the Program of Action for Sustainable Development (PADS), legally established in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a Non-Governmental Organization.
2.How can your business improve the life of the beneficiaries of your activities?
Food security, Public health, Education, Water, Energy, and Ecology are the areas of intervention for our organization. As of now, PADS has maintained 35 km of road to facilitate the evacuation of the agricultural crop from the field to the city center of the Lubero territory, distributed hygienic kits to Internally Displaced households, conducted a Civic and electoral education to more than 76,000 direct beneficiaries, raised awareness about the risk around Ebola outbreak as an approach to mitigate and discourage local resistance, constructed water catchments in the villages of Labu to prevent hydric diseases, raised awareness of the local population on protective measures to avoid the COVID 19 spread in the Beni territory in the North Kivu province. Moreover, we are designing preventing identity-based violence programs to raise awareness about identity and related feuds to prevent identity-based violence in Eastern DRC.
3.What has been the main challenge you had to overcome in your entrepreneurial experience?
Financial support continues to be the bottleneck of our initiative. We have submitted almost 30 projects to respond to the different calls for proposals. Most of the time, we are unsuccessful in competing because of our fundraising strategy’s lack of lobbying capacity. We usually call partners to support our organization to create more impact on the local population that has gone through armed conflicts for more than two decades.
4.In your opinion, what are the main qualities an entrepreneur should have?
Commitment, leadership, and steadiness are necessary qualities for an entrepreneur. When doubt invades your mind, commitment will keep morale high; leadership is crucial for keeping your staff and shareholders motivated even when uncertainty arises; steadiness will always hold your hand during difficult moments as you look forward to implementing your vision.
5.Is there a person you are inspired by, i.e., an entrepreneur or a particular mentor?
The visit to Nyeri Parish during the out-of-class visit organized by the MBA program in 2011 was very motivating. I don’t have a mentor, but I would be willing to get one.
6.What would you suggest to a new-born entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship is a very challenging path but never give up!
7.Could you tell us a particular satisfactory moment you had in your entrepreneurial activity?
I was delighted with the community engagement and the recognition of our work from the Labu community. Despite UN agencies and international humanitarian organizations passing by a 10 Km village from the city center, PADS has carried the flagship of humanitarian action from this village in comparison to other structures with a larger amount of funding.
8.Could you tell us how the MBA has helped you and your business?
I was a “finance person” before joining this MBA, but now I have become a “program management person,” carrying out an executive role, which I could not take before attending the program.
Learn more on PADS
Facebook Page: Pads ong