To be a successful entrepreneur is the dream of many Ugandans. Brian Rwothomio has faced challenges in manintain his business. With support from Advance Afrika, he acquired essential skills, which helped him to make profit.
The 25 years old Rwothomio Brian resides and operates his business in Padea trading center in Zombo District. Having completed senior four in 2016, Brian joined his father in the Hardware business, where they sold spare parts of bicycles, motorcycles as well as building materials like nails and paint. His father later decided specializing in selling only bicycle spare parts. But Brian realized, that there were some things missing in the shop that were on high demand, therefore he sold some trees on their land and managed to get money, that he used to buy nails and paint. That time they were heavily demanded by the community in Padea as well as the Congolese border.
When Brian’s father handed over the business to him, the COVID-19 lock down started and the cross borders exchange stopped, yet especially the Congolese contributed at least 60% of his customer base. Brian faced also difficulties in transporting stock of spare parts from Kampala due to the high transportation costs. In order to keep business alive during the lock down, he had to increase the price of the commodities and reduce his business expenses , but this has shortened also his income. To survive, he started selling second hand clothes in order to get extra money. When the lockdown was lifted, business started slowly returning to normal and his customers from across the border were able to come and start purchasing again.
At this time Brian had the chance to be among beneficiaries of Advance Afrika’s project in Zombo, which had a component of supporting youth in gaining entrepreneur skills. The training helped him to understand the requirements of business like book keeping, financial management, marketing and sales, negotiation and planning. The project beneficiaries received a booster kit for business, like a banner, which helped Brian greatly in advertising his products: “The banner provided a clear display to customers of the items that I am selling. It also makes the business look new to some customers thus attracting them to buy from my shop,” said Brian.
He started to keep record of the customers to whom he sells goods on credit and gained a good overview over his expenses. Brian gives an advice to other entrepreneurs: “To succeed in a private business, it is very important to acquire knowledge from experts and learn how to manage a shop or a business to make good profit. I am very glad to could join such a training and learn new skills.”