Supporting the Professionals of Tomorrow – Norman Musengimana

Norman Musengimana is the quintessential community builder, a self-made leader, and philosophically inclined to see the good in people and the upside of life. He possesses that rare blend of wisdom and perspective found only in people who’ve thrived in the face of true adversity, gaining know-how and resilience every step of the way. Today, at home in Kingston, he’s committed to help others overcome their own obstacles. Making a personal difference for others not only defines Norman’s career path, it’s his calling.

One thing that I’ve learned is that there are good people everywhere. If you go looking for the good in people, you will always find them.

Norman brings this energy to Kingston Economic Development as Business Development Manager, Start-Ups and Entrepreneurship. Equipped with the vital insight that solving business problems is significantly more difficult for those facing personal challenges, he seeks to fully understand and connect with the people he meets. This holistic, empathetic approach to solving problems comes naturally and is heartfelt. “More than ever I am inspired and convinced of the power of human connection and the spirit of never giving up.” It’s a personal, difference-making outlook imbued with a practical upside: communities thrive when its citizens are at their best. It’s also where Norman is at his best: opening the door for all Kingstonians to make the sorts of game-changing civic and economic contributions upon which great communities are built.

Changing the game is a massive motivator for entrepreneurs, particularly when personal passion animates the work. Prosfata, Norman’s startup, is designed to help experienced newcomers establish successful careers in Canada. Clients navigate the nuances of the Canadian labor market and workplace culture more quickly and easily after Prosfata matches them to industry experts from their field. BizSkills For Good, a non-profit, addresses a troublesome gap faced by new Canadians and other underrepresented professionals: business acquisition services. He and network partners, like Empowerment Squared in Hamilton, support Black entrepreneurs and shepherd those who would like to acquire businesses through the process of identifying and acquiring established businesses. For clients the rewards are exponential: it’s not just about talented people becoming business operators and employers, it’s the incalculable joy of self-fulfillment.

What is life without people? It has no meaning.

Coming from a background of well-intentioned individuals who prioritized doing the right thing, even in challenging circumstances, the concept of giving back has become an integral part of Norman’s personal philosophy. Finding the good in everyone, he believes, leads to positive network effects that make navigating life’s complexities easier. Norman attributes his success to others: the network of extraordinary people he has met across his international journey. It is a true odyssey, including a decade in Kenya, a year in Congo, a return in 2005 to his homeland, Rwanda, and subsequent stays in Dallas-Fort Worth, South Sudan, Belgium, and the UK before finally settling in Kingston, which he now calls home. His view of Kingston warms the heart, “What’s very attractive about Kingston is the human side. People are patient. They’re kind. They’re always smiling. They care enough to ask what you do and what you enjoy.” That personal touch is a powerful difference maker in a world dominated by technology, big-city lifestyles, and limited time. “The moment I am driving back from Toronto, Montreal or Ottawa, and make a turn off the 401, I feel the calmness in Kingston,” says Norman. “Less honking, less aggressive driving. This is how I know I am back home. We take these things for granted but they are essential to our productivity and lifestyle.”

“I am grateful to have the opportunity to live and serve this community. I am enjoying and living every single second of my life in this community. This is the one thing I have refused to trade for anything because I feel loved, welcome, and empowered not only to serve, but supported to be able to bring my ideas to life. What else can I ask for? Thank you, Kingston!”