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Why You Should NOT Start An Online Start-up in Uganda Just Yet. It will Fail!!!

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startups

By Ian Ortega

Honesty is something that’s not compatible with the Ugandan society at large, especially in the section of Ugandan businessmen and entrepreneurs. Yet, I think it’s high time some of us took that road less traveled and became honest about a number of things. It is this candidness that could help future start-up entrepreneurs in Uganda to be well-prepared for the jungle of business.

I had a discussion with one of my friends. I told him that start-ups such as Kaymu, Jumia, Hellofood and many others were yet to begin making abnormal profits, it was all a matter of time. I told him that everything we can’t seem to see about online businesses will become clear in the Ugandan context the moment internet penetration goes beyond the 50% mark. I know MTN Uganda is working day and night to make that possible. If at a penetration of less than 30% we can already feel the impact of the online industry, what is going to happen at over 50%?

On what elements play a crucial role in the success of a start-up, the following five were listed:

1. Timing
2. Team
3. Idea
4. Business Model
5. Funding

Timing was considered to play the biggest role in start-up success. The difference between Facebook and Myspace was more about timing. Too early and your idea may fail. Too late and you find the industry saturated.

The Team came in second especially the founders. Most start-ups failed because of intrigue between the co-founders, collisions. Some failed because one of the founders didn’t do his role as required.

The Idea itself was ranked third. Notice something crazy here. Contrary to common thought of the idea being the most important thing, it was third on this research done on over 400 start-ups. But it was still important. How good is the idea? Do people understand the idea?

Fourth was the Business Model because regardless of what you do, if you are working with a wrong business model, it will eventually collapse.

Finally, it was the Funding. This is greatly lacking in Uganda. Unlike in America where Venture Capitalists pour millions and millions at start-ups, in Uganda, most funding for start-ups comes from the pockets of the founders.

But what struck me the most was the fact that Timing was everything. Timing is the difference between life and death on the road. Because of timing, a man who was earlier rejected by a girl gets accepted hours later during a night out. Timing at the airport implies that too early and you have to wait, too late and you find the plane gone. Yes, too late and you find your dream girl already taken.

I have taken a special interest in timing because I have seen it lead to the collapse of many Ugandan start-ups especially those in the Online field. I have seen online businesses in Uganda fail not because they had a wrong business model, not because their idea was poor, not because they had an incompetent team, not because they lacked funding but largely because the timing is right just yet.

If some online start-ups in Uganda were honest, they would confess that they are not even operating at 1% of their potential. Why? Because the timing is not yet right in Uganda.

So then, why is the timing still wrong for online start-ups in Uganda? Simple, the internet penetration is still low. Coupled with this, the internet costs are still high, internet speeds are still low and generally the infrastructure required to start and run an online start-up in Uganda is lacking in most areas.

Thus, most Ugandan start-ups are forced to fight over the market of Kampala and its suburbs. It’s as though other parts of Uganda are not present.

As of 1st December 2014, internet penetration in Uganda was 18.1% of the population. We have an estimated 10 million internet users in Uganda. Of these 10 million users, 5 million are not active users. They are once in a blue moon users who still have to buy bundles once in a week if not in a fortnight. Of these internet users, the computer literacy is still at its lowest. In fact, when you measure by internet subscriptions, there are only 4.2 million mobile internet subscriptions in Uganda and just 100,000 fixed internet subscriptions.

Online Start-ups in Uganda ought to have all this at their back as they venture into this field with all their glossy ideas. They are working to win over just 5 million users who spend no more than one hour on the internet per day.

Is the future brighter? Yes it is. But that could be in the next three years. It’s just not yet time for most online startups in Uganda. They would be better off waiting a little longer or probably starting small and letting their ideas grow organically in line with growth in the internet penetration in Uganda. It’s a hard fact to fathom, yet ignoring it could see many get depressed when their expectations don’t much the reality.

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Celebrity Gossip

The MultiChoice Talent Factory announces the

MTF Academy Class of 2019

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By Staff Writer

MultiChoice Africa is thrilled to announce that the final students for the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) Academy Class of 2019 have been chosen. After a two-month long rigorous selection process across 13 African countries, 60 aspiring filmmakers representing East Africa, Southern Africa and West Africa will begin their 12-month training programme at the MTF Academies in Nairobi, Lusaka & Lagos in October this year.

The final candidates were selected after a rigorous interview and adjudication process by film and television experts, as well as regional Academy Directors Njoki Muhoho (East Africa), Berry Lwando (Southern Africa) and Femi Odugbemi (West Africa). Launched in May 2018 as part of MultiChoice Africa’s ground-breaking corporate shared value (CSV) initiative, the MTF Academy is a 12-month fully-funded training programme aimed at upskilling the next generation of passionate young film creatives. As the first touchpoint of the shared-value initiative, the academy’s curriculum was tailored alongside MultiChoice Africa partner institutions Pan-Atlantic University in Lekki, Kenyatta University in Nairobi, and the University of Zambia in Lusaka, which will respectively confer the course qualification upon completion of the academy programme.

In addition, The Henley Business School offers an orientation intervention to the students at the beginning and end of the 12-month programme. The appetite for training opportunities across Africa is massive within the creative film and TV industry, according to MultiChoice Talent Factory Director Cheryl Uys-Allie, which is exactly why the MTF Academy programme was launched.“As one of the few industry players that not only tell African stories but also invest in them, the need for a dynamic training programme such as the MTF Academy has been a long time coming. As MultiChoice Africa, we always ask ourselves: what’s next in the industry, and how can we better prepare for it? The MTF Academy was the answer to that question: By giving young Africans the chance to hone their television and film production skills,” says Uys-Allie.The Class of 2019 is hot on the heels of the inaugural Class of 2018, who are ready to graduate and have their first films screened on M-Net channels and Showmax.

This year’s class will reap the additional rewards of -new partnerships between the MTF Academy and Jasco Broadcast Solutions as well as Nihilent with its connection to Bollywood, as well as existing partnerships with the New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA), DOLBY Institute and Universal Music Nigeria (UMG). As part of their curriculum, the 2019 candidates will also be exposed to the MTF Masterclasses, aimed at upskilling industry professionals and emerging creatives alike by offering exclusive access to practical, expert-led industry skills workshops across the 13 participating countries. Here’s to another year of investing directly in Africa’s dynamic storytelling spirit through the MTF Academy!

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Supa Sigiri’s Relieve Households In Uganda Of Annual Excessive Charcoal Expenses

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By Staff Writer

The Government of Uganda through the Uganda Clean Cooking Supply Chain Expansion Project, a Government of Uganda project, implemented by Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) is encouraging the public to use improved cook stoves dubbed ‘Supa Sigiris’ designed to use less charcoal, emit less smoke and cook faster than the ordinary cooking stoves found in most homes. Currently, Supa Sigiri’s can relieve their users of at least 360,000Ushs worth of annual charcoal expenses.

According to the 2016/2017 Uganda National Household Survey, almost every household in the country either uses charcoal or firewood for cooking, revealing that the dependency on firewood as a source of energy is straining the environment locally, regionally and globally. Ordinary Sigiri’s emit large amounts of black carbon which in the long run contribute to global warming. 

The collective benefits of using any of the Supa Sigiri types are;

  • Supa Sigiris use less charcoal,
  • Supa Sigiris cooking time is greatly reduced thus making them a faster means of meal preparation,
  • Supa Sigiris emit less smoke, and therefore reduce the risk of health issues household members may face in association with smoke fumes released within the home, 
  • Supa Sigiris also ensure a cleaner and safer environment generally in the home because of their unique design.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Capital FM Cook off with Supa Sigiri held last Friday, 23rd August 2019, Michael Oboth Sales Personnel for the Envirofit and Ecozoom cook stoves explained that the Envirofit and Ecozoom are a product of a World Bank research to combat climatic change which has become a global concern. ‘Both Envirofit and Ecozoom cook stoves save consumption rate of fuel by 58%, have a 78% faster cooking rate and 82% smoke reduction.’ Oboth added that one can cook with the Envirofit cook stove in the comfort of one’s choice:  on top of plastic tables, woollen carpets or tiles and they will not cause a fire outbreak.’

Biolite cook stove Representative Uganda Andrew Abacha said, ‘Biolite improved cook stoves can uniquely charge your phone or light up as you cook. It uses minimal amounts of firewood which in the long run addresses environmental, health and financial challenges. It also saves its users money as they need firewood worth only 500 Ushs to cook with every day.’

Charles Akamanya, Sales Representative and Project Development Officer for the Potential Energy cook stove said, ‘The Potential Energy cook stove is versatile, uses both charcoal and firewood, cooks at double the speed and comes with two provisions for cooking both at the top and bottom.’


Debbi Nansumba, Project Officer for the Smart Home Supa Sigiri Cookstove said that being part of the Uganda Clean Cooking Supply Chain Expansion Project has generally created awareness for the cook stoves and widened the market. She called upon the public to use Supa Sigiris cook stoves because of their benefits that make them unique from ordinary sigiris.

Mugwanya Ahmed the Sales Representative for Ugastove cook stoves said, ‘Ugastoves are durable, can work for 4 years, have less carbon emission, save energy and use less charcoal than ordinary sigiris.’

The Supa Sigiris come in 7 brands and are priced as follows:


Stove typePrice (UGX)
1Smart Home17,000

ILF Smart Home17,000
2Ugastove charcoal stove  45,000

Ugastove dual stove45,000
3Ecozoom Jiko Fresh125,000

Ecozoom Jiko Bora165,000
4Envirofit Super saver charcoal stove200,000

Envirofit Charcoal stove170,000
5Biolite Home stove 2180,000
Potential Energy: Berkley Darfur stove95,000
7BURN Jikokoa150,000

BURN Kunikoa150,000

Any of the 7 Supa Sigiri’s can be bought either by cash or loan (PSFU is reaching out to the various office SACCO’s in and around Kampala for the member credit facility option). Supa Sigiri’s sale points around Kampala and Wakiso can be accessed at the following locations: 

  • Shop No. 4 located at Wandegeya market building, Northern wing,
  • Johnrich supermarket Kabalagala entrance,
  • Bugolobi market entrance, 
  • Nakawa market, charcoal entrance shop No. 278, 
  • Seeta Trading Centre next to Stanbic bank ATM.
  • Capital Shoppers Ntinda and Nakawa Entrance
  • Kasubi Market opposite Kobil Petrol Station

Supa Sigiri’s can also be ordered via the phone on 0783813902; via SMS to 8008, Type Sigiri [leave space] your location and send; Email: info@supasigiri.co.ug; or by visiting the website www.supasigiri.co.ug. The Supa Sigiri’s are also available on the JumiaUG shop.

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Companies

Breeze Serenity Saloon and Spa, a perfect one stop serene place for all your body care

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By Staff Writer

Not so many places around town will have you get all your body services at a one stop. Serenity Saloon and Spa is one of those places that will not need you place to place, the Kimathi based Saloon and Spa has services ranging from makeup, weaving, braids, dreadlocks, massage, pedicure & manicure, facial, body scrub, hair treatment, tattoos and physiotherapy services.

From those that have been at the place, the customer care is excellent and in a conducive and mind relaxing environment that has FREE WIFI. Because we have been there to experience the ambiance, the place is convenient for all classes of people including the working class because it opens through all 24 hours.

While is remains a classy saloon and Spa the charges are relatively friendly. Breeze Serenity Saloon and Spa is located at Kimathi Avenue, Pan African House, next to Kampala Casino.

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