My Entrepreneurial Experience

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By Aisha Ganda 

I have always wanted to be an Entrepreneur and someday I knew it was going to be a reality although I hadn’t correctly figured out how.  As a girl, I used to venture into whatever was within my means, as long as it could bear a profit.  I remember buying second-hand clothes and selling them to my peers, and crafting among other things. However, it was not long ago that I seriously decided to embark on realizing this dream. 

Here is my story

I am a finalist pursuing a Diploma in Business Administration.  My inspiration for real business started when I had shortcomings that almost saw me leaving school during my first year, second semester. At the time, my dad, the sole breadwinner in the family had to undergo his first operation after an accident that injured his spine. When we first learned of the situation, we were optimistic about him getting better even without surgery but as he went for physiotherapy and massage, he only got worse and had to be operated.  

As a first-year student, I used to witness my dad’s struggles to pay tuition for his children among other home obligations, even with his little salary. However, after the first surgery and now in debt, this could no longer be possible. We had to find a way out and like they say, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. We decided to hold a family meeting to discuss the situation and the conclusion was that I had to apply for a dead semester. Giving up was not an option being the “survivor” that I called myself.  I then decided to ask for a soft loan from a friend without my family’s knowledge and with the assurance I got from the KIU Finance Department, I would get an exams clearance if I paid a certain percentage of the fees owed. This was the point at which my inspiration to do business started, I had to find a way out.

I then started a confectioneries business supplying samosas to the school canteen among other eats in order to lay some weight off my parents’ shoulders and hoping that this business would stabilize. However, this didn’t work out so well and after a survey I undertook, I then changed strategy and starting selling simsim balls because it’s less demanding in terms of labor and yet the profits are higher.

Simsim is a food crop majorly grown in the Eastern and Northern part of the country. It’s sweet aroma and taste after preparation explains the mouthwatering goodness it brings even before it is tasted.  It is also used as a substitute for blue band or butter and boosts health benefits such as bone health, managing diabetes, and prevention of cancer among others. 
 
Last month, I was one of the 68 young entrepreneurs selected for the Start-Hub academy which is an entrepreneurial training organization with participants from different Universities in Uganda; KIU inclusive. During the academy, my group, “The Dream Chasers” succeeded as the best team with a profit of 67,000 shillings in the ‘5000 Shillings Challenge’ competition.  In this entrepreneur competition, every group was given a start-up capital of 5000 shillings and tasked to accumulate the capital plus profits in two hours’ time. The groups had to come up with business ideas and implement those ideas in order to multiply the 5000 shillings to get profits. The team with the most returns/profits was the winner.

This moment of success from the Start-Hub competition has inspired not only me but other youth to join the Start-Hub Academy and am looking forward to winning the grand prize of 5,000,000 shillings at the pitch event in May 2018.

My advice to young people like me is that they should pursue their dreams early enough because you will never know what tomorrow brings. “Tomorrow is the only day of the year that appeals to a lazy man,” said Karen Lamb.                   

I believe, if one invests enough time and energy in doing something, then success is a guarantee.

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