By Agaba Cyril
Japheth Kawanguzi, the Team Leader at The Innovation Village, a leading launch pad for startup innovators, has urged youth in Uganda to create solutions that can solve people’s problems in order to attract money. CK as he is commonly known, made this call during a panel discussion at the second edition of CenteThoughts, a new thought leadership forum by Centenary Bank aimed at empowering the youth in Uganda with valuable startup business knowledge to inspire them to own and operate successful businesses.
During his submission, CK said that, “Young people should identify problems around them and think of the solutions even before thinking about financial capital to start a business. Monetization of startups begins when your idea creates and adds value or solves people’s problems.”
“Starting a business is not a simple task given the hindrances such as; stringent policies, unstable business environment, and lack of access to the right market. However, this should not deter the youth from trying. You need to be involved and committed, even on the bad days so as to turn your idea into a successful business,” he explained.
Mr. Michael Jjingo, the General Manager Commercial Banking at Centenary Bank, advised the 165 Zoom attendees and over 2000 viewers on Facebook who wish to venture into business to first discover their passions and then think about business. “It is possible to start a business with no money at all. You need to discover what you are passionate about, establish its contribution to the current market, then draft a plan to action which you can use to evaluate yourself against,” Jjingo said. “Financial institutions such Centenary Bank are ready to support the youth with ideas as long as there’s a clear plan, experience, ready market, and track of record-keeping for the already existing small businesses,” he added.
“Centenary Bank has loans that are favorable for young entrepreneurs and start-ups under its CenteYouth loan offering and provides free financial literacy sessions for all,” he commented.
Christine Turamuhawe, a Makerere University Business School undergraduate, who was on the panel said, “I began my business by sharing my idea with my social media followers, offering cleaning services to those in need and it is from that post that I got my two clients from Twitter who I worked with. One paid UGX 40,000 and the other paid UGX 30,000 and I have not looked back since then.”
Turamuhawe is the founder of CJAY Home Solutions Limited, a 2-year-old business that was started with only an internet connection and social media pages. “Building partnerships and nurturing trust with suppliers can also be a stepping-stone for small business owners and those that wish to start one. Developing these relationships can enable you to get supplies to start with on a credit basis, and one can payback in instalments,” the 3rd year undergraduate student noted.
In Uganda, starting businesses is often associated with finding financial capital which leaves many youth even skilled ones unemployed. The Youth unemployment rate is expected to reach 2.50 percent by the end of 2021, according to Trading Economics Global Macro Models and analysts. This is a clear indication that there is more to be done by the key players to create a conducive business environment for startups to emerge and develop for the benefit of the country’s employment growth rates.
During the CenteThoughts discussion, youth were also advised to learn a skill that is in high demand and turn it into a money-minting adventure. “Having money is not a guarantee for business success, but commitment and starting with the available resources can be a preliminary point for those with limited financial support,” Kawanguzi said.