A graduate of entrepreneurship from Makerere University Business School in Kampala, Uthman started his graphic design business while still studying for his degree. He learnt the trade while helping out in his Uncle’s printing business before striking out on his own. Narrating his start up journey, “I started out as a “brief case” company, moving from office to office looking for business. One year later I was able to get a small shared office and another year later, we got our own office.”
A business consultant who has spent the last 13 years’ providing business development and support services to SME’s in Africa. An active member of the Rotaract club while at University, Yahya says he has always been interested in voluntary work. He has volunteered as a mentor for other entrepreneur support programs in Rwanda and saw Grow as an opportunity to apply his skills to help entrepreneurs in other parts of Africa.
Uthman wanted the help of a consultant to take his business to the next level. He wanted to apply for bigger contracts and needed to get a better understanding of the bid process and the financial management required to take on large contracts. Uthman and Yahya therefore discussed marketing, human resource management, proposal writing and the bid process requirements. They also went over the financial analysis processes that would enable Uthman make informed decisions before taking on large contracts.
After getting a good understanding of the bidding process, Uthman hired an accountant to put his accounts in order and register his business to meet all the necessary tax requirements. Equipped with new knowledge about how to better manage and motivate his staff, Uthman implemented a new tiered commission system that put an emphasis on new business acquisition. It was a discussion with his Grow consultant that got Yahya thinking about alternative revenue sources. As a result he is now looking to get into supplying printing materials in addition to the printing and graphics services he offers. But it is the new analysis and decision making tools he acquired from his consultant that he credits for the three new jobs created and 40% increase in profitability since completing the programme.
“I found out that business is business. You only need to understand the principles. Grow teaches you the fundamentals of business such as book keeping. So many people are doing business without understanding the concepts behind their actions. The business environment is changing. A time is coming when no one will be able to survive in business without these principles.”
“I was proud to have something to give. The most exciting thing is to have an impact. It is a small time investment that can give a high impact reward. Professionally it really opened me up to the world of remote working. With technology now you can do business online or through teleworking. This experience made me think more about using these tools to take on more international clients.”