Private Sector enhanced competitiveness through partnership

Paradis owns and runs Wood Habitat, a company she started towards the end of 2014. Having always had an interest in interior design works, she turned her passion into her profession and quickly became a rising star of an “eco-friendly home furnishing and decor boutique’’ in Rwanda.

The company specialises in producing custom-made wood products as well as finished furniture and home accessories. Paradis explains that the focus is always in providing quality products and this has led to the success of Wood Habitat. “Eventually people started noticing the quality of the products which ultimately led to receiving more orders. At present, we cater to national clients while also exporting to Burundi, the USA and Germany”.

She describes her journey as a businessperson as very challenging, especially for a start-up and as a woman in a very hostile industry environment. “It’s never easy. Every day has its own challenges but the biggest are getting technically skilled manpower and timely access to investment.”

Once she entered the sector, Paradis equipped herself with critical knowledge about the wood industry through a value chain training organised by the Programme of Economy and Employment Promotion (Eco-Emploi), and joined its wood sector core-group. This led to building connections and relationship with other wood companies and participating in a variety of activities supported by the Programme. “The group is super interesting. We look at different opportunities and challenges we are facing at the market. I meet a lot of strong competitors and I learn a lot about the market, especially about the wood industry and how other companies are dealing with product development or the strategy that they use.” Paradis acknowledges the positive impact of the joint force that comes out of the core-group and the joint analysis of the market in general. “All this contributes towards the development of the wood-sector”.

As Wood Habitat grows, and with the experience and knowledge garnered from the wood sector core-group, Paradis hopes to develop the company further and make it the leader in the local and regional platforms.