We have had a team of Business Support Associates working to support enterprises across Kampala, Uganda. The latter, are exciting businesses that we hope to take from investment readiness to investment worthiness. So, it is time for you to meet the enterprises:
Best of Waste
Brief Description: In Uganda, a reliance on charcoal and firewood as a source of fuel has led to an alarming rate of deforestation. Unless measures are taken to reverse this trend, experts predict the nation’s forests could vanish by the year 2050. With resources becoming scarcer, and an ever-growing population, charcoal prices continue to soar.
Best of Waste is helping to reduce the pressure on Uganda’s forests by providing a cheaper, eco-friendly alternative fuel for households. By recycling agricultural waste, they are producing carbonised briquettes. These briquettes burn longer than regular charcoal, do not emit smoke and are suitable for urban households in Uganda.
Best of Waste is located in Kiteezi, in the Northern suburbs of Kampala, and was founded by Betty Kaddu. She is invested in helping improve the quality of life for her local community. Best of Waste involves the community in the value chain, by training people to carbonise their household waste in order to make the raw material for the briquettes. These people, many of them women and unemployed youths, earn an income as suppliers of the raw material.
Brief Description: The Calabash Collection is a Hand Made in Uganda Initiative. The concept was inspired by the growing demand for eco-conscious and repurposed products in the East African Region and globally coupled with the high youth unemployment rate in Uganda. Calabash ethos is making one man’s trash another man’s treasure, while simultaneously providing eco-friendly, educative and employment opportunities for Uganda’s most vulnerable youth.
Calabash is a business within the Non-Governmental Organisation Youth Rising which is led by a married couple Martin and Felicia. Youth Rising provide young people with the skills in producing bags and helping them to become self-reliant. After the training, the volunteers then manufacture the products and complete a work placement. Some people then set up their own businesses with the skills they have acquired, however, they are welcome to use the Calabash Workshop. Calabash and Youth Rising support young people throughout their journey and there is a community orientated atmosphere.
GMSD (Graca Mashel Skills Development Centre)
Brief Description: GMSD is an amazing organisation that aims to provide vulnerable women with skills in tailoring, baking, and hairdressing. Alongside this, they provide these women with soft skills in workshops that teach financial management skills, safe sex, family planning, as well as guidance and counselling sessions. Their mission is to equip the vulnerable groups with sustainable entrepreneurial skills.
The team consists of three volunteers who work at GMSD full time and run day to day activities, these are; Janat, Amuli and Mulago. They also have three wonderful instructors. The centre was founded by Theopista Ntale, or Mama Theo, who has a passion for female empowerment, this starting with making women able to support themselves financially. Not only do they provide this skills-based education but also, counselling and a safe space for these vulnerable women and their children.
Brief Description: Herbal Concepts was born out of a hobby but after a while, the CEO Tony Bandabye and his wife Susan discovered that healing properties of aloe vera can have a great influence on human body and skin.
They use aloe vera as the main ingredient for body lotions, creams, soaps and juices, which by the way taste amazing!
Aloe vera isn’t the only amazing raw material they use, as lots of their products contain also Shea butter, tea tree and fruits and vegetables and it all comes from local suppliers and markets. They hope to open a branch soon to be easily identified by existing and potential customers.
Brief Description: Livara is a brand that sells unique organic cosmetics that works wonders for both hair and body. The key ingredient is Shea Butter. Shea Butter is a natural material that is now frequently used in brands that pride themselves on being organic. Livara, however, seems to have an edge in the market. This edge is predominately down to the branding, helping Livara stand out and expand quickly. The enterprise has a wide variety of products and there is something for everyone (kids, adults and the elderly).
There is a sense of pride throughout the enterprise which stems from the CEO herself, Maxima. With products being sold in stores, franchises, and supermarkets, the products are easily found around Kampala. In the next month, it will be expanding as a new store and salon are going to be opened up in Ntinda.
Brief Description: Munu Technologies Associates, founded in 2012 and started operations early this year is a Business Process Outsourcing company whose mission is to improve the livelihood and skills of youths. The company is striving to grow by securing jobs for both the graduate youths and skilled non-graduate youths in Uganda.
With a team of 12 members, Munu Technologies provides four products; Contact Centre, Data Services, Infrastructure as a Service and IT support. Through these products, services to clients include access to in-house communication channels, data processing and conversion, cloud computing, server hosting, and IT support services for all levels of technical enterprises.
Brief Description: Tamithi is a digital art company based in Uganda that create animations, games and illustrations. They have been a business for two years and have made Uganda’s first 3D game called Noga. They have also won Uganda’s best animation award in 2015. Tamithi want to create entertainment that is also going to provide morals and education by learning about cultures and other lessons.
Brief Description: Solar Aqua is a company born out of engineering research at Makerere University, and they specialise in the design and manufacture of solar powered water pumps. Solar Aqua also provides irrigation installation services. Their water pumps currently provide irrigation systems to farms in various districts in Uganda. One water pump and solar panel combination are currently able to irrigate up to 5 acres of land. This provides food security against the increasing frequency of droughts in the country, reducing hunger and poverty.
Whilst they’re a very new company, they have big plans to build their own factory in order to manufacture their pumps themselves, being the first of its kind in Uganda. They plan to train and employ youth, along with training members of the community for the maintenance of the irrigation systems. They also plan to work closely with women (the majority of Uganda’s farmers), whilst promoting clean energy systems.
Expert Co. Ltd
Brief Description: Expert Co. was established in 2015 and engages in several different activities. Firstly, Expert Co. set up a driving school which provided the platform and funds for a fish farm and forest farm. The main focus of the placement will be on the fish and forest farm and their growth. Promotion and enabling youth skills development in Uganda is one of the main aims of the business. Other aims include improving the quality of lives of families through income diversification and good quality decision making, whilst promoting and developing youth skills in aquaculture and transferable business skills.
The enterprise currently has three operational fish ponds annually generating 10 metric tonnes of fish for domestic consumption, with plans for international trade in neighbouring countries. Similarly the forest farm has vast potential, currently, around four acres have been acquired. The enterprise grows hundreds of trees with future plans for expansion and opening of new revenue streams. The business positively contributes to preserving the environment, providing a sustainable healthy food source and gives the opportunity for a decent standard of living and job prospects.
Brief Description: Gatha Uganda Limited is a small Arts and Craft enterprise that makes hand-made hair accessories, scarfs, bags and jewellery in Uganda for every trendy woman. The enterprise also aims at creating a social impact by giving back to the community. It does this by empowering women and young girls, especially school dropouts through hands-on skills and helps them start and grow their own businesses.
The CEO is an advocate for women empowerment and enterprise directly contributes to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It specifically targets goal 8 which aims at promoting sustained, inclusive, sustainable growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. With Gatha, accessories will make you stand out even in the dark.
Brief Description: If you were to just scratch the surface, Smart Toto would appear to be just another small publishing company trying to tackle Uganda’s poor reading culture. Delve a little deeper and it’s clear they are so much more than that. Though following the same pattern of similar enterprises in producing their own books, this is where the similarities end. The Smart Toto ethos is to complement these books with grass-roots projects, notably their reading days and outreach projects with what they call their ‘partner communities.’
Just last week, we went along to one of these outreach days and saw first-hand how Smart Toto keep the product in line with their own vision. In this instance, the Smart Toto team read and taught young boys from the streets to ensure development in their reading and writing. Smart Toto’s services don’t stop here. Similarly, they offer ‘Reading Days’ at their offices for young children, parents and teachers to come and improve their skills; the focus for the children is literacy whereas, with the parents and teachers, Smart Toto offers training in the importance of early child development.
Though only a year old, Smart Toto have managed to refine their niche. They are an exciting small enterprise using unique methods to achieve a common goal in Uganda.
Brief Description: Wild is an enterprise that, as the name suggests, is determined to disrupt the speciality coffee market. Overturning the traditional coffee business model, the enterprise is roasting coffee in its African homeland. Using both high-quality Robusta and Arabica, Wild’s unique flavour profile and location guarantee full control of the production process, ensuring a high-quality product. This also keeps the added value in Africa, improving the situation of farmers and the local industry.
Endre Vestvik is the passionate managing director who seeks to improve the speciality coffee production in Uganda. With a great product coupled with a strong, defiant and fun brand, the enterprise is sure to be a game-changer for African coffee.
Brief Description: Power Trust Uganda Limited was founded in 2011 by current Managing and Technical Directors, Tony Ssimbwa and Ronny Masereka. Their mission is to provide innovative and affordable clean energy solutions tailored to their needs of their clients in rural and urban areas of Uganda.
Previous clients have included the government, schools, hospitals and households. As a way of making electricity accessible and affordable to everyone, they will soon be releasing a pay-as-you-go service on their new solar kit, offering reliable electricity to those in the most rural areas of Uganda. This is in addition to their current solar system loan offered through the Centenary Bank. As well as being affordable, Power Trust is one of few solar power companies in Uganda to offer long term warranties on their products, setting a new standard within the market.
21st Century Sustainability Options Limited
Brief Description: 21ST CSOL is an organic company which deals in honey and other organic foods like beetroot, chia seeds and hibiscus. The company also offers training to people in the bee industry and have set up over 35 bee hives. The CEO is a very determined, educated and experienced young man. His business partner is also educated and studied forestry so she has vast knowledge about the environment; this is a big advantage in the sustainability adventure.
The honey supplied in 20-litre jerrycans by a woman’s cooperative in Aura on buses that travel to Kampala, the enterprise currently packs honey and sells it to supermarkets and to individuals. The CEO drives the honey to the market in his private car. The enterprise discourages deforestation because bees thrive in a forest environment. The enterprise also employs both educated and uneducated people which helps support the wider economy.
Brief Description: The word ‘Kona’ means ‘corner’ in Swahili, Luganda and Hindi. Kona first started in a garage in 2013 selling beads and has now grown into a shop with onsite production facilities. Kona is a fashion, lifestyle and craft enterprise and produces products that are a fusion of African and Indian design. The influence of the mix of cultures provides Kona with a unique brand of different styles, patterns, colours and materials. Raw materials are sourced from local markets in Kampala and India. Items sold range from clothing, jewellery and bags to cushions, aprons and door stops.
Kona focuses on empowering local women with skills and employs only women within the business. The enterprise concentrates on improving manufacturing techniques rather than their employees’ educational backgrounds. They provide coaching and training on those techniques that are unknown and ensure that staff have good working conditions. At its core, the enterprise aims to keep local skills within Uganda that are currently being lost elsewhere and to inspire women to focus on their own careers to support families and communities.
Brief Description: UltraTec is a local private company established in 1999 by Mr and Mrs Abhay Shah to serve the needs of the growing energy and telecommunications sectors by supplying appropriate products and services. The company represents reputable international manufacturers, which has ensured that the products and services offered are of the best performance and high-quality standards. UltraTec is an ISO9000 Quality Certified Company.
UltraTec sometimes engages in projects with NGOs, for example selling pico-solar systems (affordable portable solar home systems). This was cost-shared with GIZ to rural communities. They also offer discounted prices to some charities, in particular to those who work with women and children. All their products come with a warranty and so in case of any faults they are either repaired or replaced. They work with GIZ and Solar Sisters as an impact investor.
Brief Description: Destiny Farms is a small chicken farm, located in Bulobba just 2 hours outside of Kampala. Destiny Farms is run by CEO Andrew Bamugye who is based in Zambia. He has expanded his enterprise in both Zambia and in South Africa, however his farm in Uganda is the most profitable of all. Its role in the market is to raise chickens for its only supplier and off-taker, UGACHICK, and through this process, it generates profit. An interesting fact about the farm itself in Bulobba is that the workers are all 16-18 years old and they actually live on the farm. The workers are extremely dedicated to raising the chickens, and this is why Destiny Farms is the best Broiler Raiser for UGACHICK as the quality of the produce is unmatched. They have the potential for economic growth and to become economically independent but time will tell.
Brief Description: The Innovation village is a destination that entrepreneurs call home. Their ethos is that everybody who has an idea that could transform society should be given the opportunity to do so. The village also provides co-working spaces for these startups and free internet (highly coveted in Uganda).
Their goal is to help foster a wave of companies that make not just a measurable impact in the world, but a noticeable improvement in the lives of everyone on the planet. They have created the largest destination of entrepreneurs in the country by bringing together key players from startups and global brands, from government agencies, academic institutions, tech incubators and accelerators to create an entrepreneurial environment like no other. As a result, they attract investors, corporations, academics and global partners like Andela, Challenges Worldwide, EnVentures and FinAfrica who are collaborating with The Innovation Village start-ups.