It’s never too soon to pursue a good idea
It has been estimated that while 20% of young people have the potential to become entrepreneurs, only 5% do. While this discrepancy is due in part to the many challenges that young entrepreneurs face, it is also a result of the numerous common misconceptions about what is required to start a business.
Grace Naikazi, a 30 year old pharmacist from Uganda, was nearly held back by a mistaken belief that becoming an entrepreneur required resources she did not yet have.
“It looked impossible to start a pharmacy, since I was told it requires too much money. I thought I needed three years to save and raise the capital I needed”, she remembered.
However, after she heard about Enterprise Uganda’s Business and Enterprise Start Tool (BEST) training through a Whatsapp group, Grace decided to enroll in the program. By the last day of training, Grace was excited about the prospect of being self-employed, and as a consequence, made the decision to start her business as soon as possible.
The (BEST) training helped Grace to realise that rather than delaying her entrepreneurial aspirations, she would be better off making use of the various assets she already had. She applied this advice to the areas in which she had previously felt restricted. Rather than looking outwards for the capital required to outfit her shop, she decided to use personal savings that she had intended for home improvement to rent a commercial space and construct shelves.
The training also convinced Grace to make use of the knowledge and personal skills that she already possessed when deciding upon her market. “Though I am a pharmacist, I thought I would start a drug shop,” Grace recalls. However, by the conclusion of the program, she had resolved to utilise her previous experience by opening a pharmacy.
Enterprise Uganda also encouraged Grace to complete market research before establishing her business. After researching potential locations, Grace realised that there was no pharmacy in the Kulambiro neighbourhood in Kampala, thus enabling her to fill a gap in the market and give her business the best chance of success.
Once Grace had started down the path towards business ownership, nothing could stop her. Even after her loan application was turned down by a leading commercial bank, on account of low cash flow, she made use of connections to source her initial run of merchandise. By convincing her wholesaler to provide her with her initial products on credit, as well as approaching a friend for a personal loan, Grace was able to begin trading and get her business off the ground.
Grace’s decision not to delay starting her business has proved hugely successful. All but UGX 2,000,000 of the UGX 10,000,000 that she borrowed has been repaid, and Grace currently values her business at UGX 30,000,000. What is more, her average daily sales now range from UGX 250,000 to 400,000, of which 50% is gross profit.
The success of the pharmacy has led Grace to prioritise growing her business over personal financial gain. All of the profits she has made have been re-invested, and while she is still not paying herself a wage, she already has three employees.
However, the success of her pharmacy is reward in itself.
“It feels good to run a business and to be assured of money the next day. I feel good and proud of what I have achieved in five months so far.” – Grace Naikazi
What is more, Grace is not content to stop there. She plans to expand her business by opening more branches, as well as serving as a consultant to monitor and supervise another pharmacy that has not been able to grow at the same rate. Grace finds the ability to help others in her community to achieve similar success another powerful motivation.
Grace’s story is an illustration of the importance of encouraging potential entrepreneurs to focus upon the assets and skills that they already possess, rather than potential limitations. What is more, Grace would not have considered starting her business so soon had she not participated in the BEST program.
“I advise young people to look out for Enterprise Uganda’s training.” Grace says. “They will never remain the same.”