WAKISO – Patrick Bitature, the founder, chairman and Group CEO of the Simba Group of Companies has challenged the youth to exploit their potential when they are still young and productive if they are to become what they want to be in the future.
Bitature had honoured Gudie Leisure Farm’s (GLF) South Western Uganda Business Symposium at its headquarters in Najeera II, Kira Municipality, Wakiso district.
During the two-day symposium, GLF, a social enterprise providing various agribusiness development services to especially youth-owned micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in the agricultural sector enlightened the country about the investment opportunities in the region in order to generate support for young entrepreneurs within and from across Uganda who are already investing in it and celebrated its rich cultural heritage.
The businessman noted that youth have the benefit of age over older people which they should utilize to become productive.
“The biggest advantage you have over me is age, you’re young. You don’t see it as a benefit, but it’s such a powerful thing. Anybody my age will pay any amount of money to become as young as you but we cannot. You have time on your side!”
“Use [the] time to your advantage. Every single day that passes is a day lost, it will never come back. Use [the] time to change your life to achieve your goal, have a purpose [and] set a roadmap [for] how to achieve that goal,” Bitature emphasized.
According to him, everyone has the potential to become very rich but it’s up to everyone to exploit that potential or not.
“You want to be extremely rich, you have to work extremely hard.”
The Umeme Uganda Limited Board chairman also tasked the youth to choose what they want in life when it’s still early.
“Don’t let a day go by without doing anything. My father used to say when he was alive, that’s every single day, ask yourself before you go to bed, what did I do today? And if you’ve done nothing, absolutely nothing, go outside, dig a hole and feel it then go back to bed.”
On choosing the best businesses, Bitature noted that the best one to do is the one you have researched very well.
“If you don’t do your research, don’t waste time. Any small business can work in Uganda there’s so much potential,” he said because there is enough market today.
Professor. Gudula Naiga Basaza, Founder and Managing Director, GLF noted that South Western region has got a lot of potential in all sectors, especially in agriculture and tourism.
“It’s one of those regions that God has endured with beauty, with different attractions that are good in promoting tourism, but which in the end brings in agriculture as well.”
She revealed that in the symposium, they have been exposed to a number of things, having incubated youth from 120 parishes in the region who went back and started incubating other youth and have commenced positioning themselves along the Farm’s value chain in the different 25 cottages.
“In each of our parishes, we have 25 cottage industries, and each of these industries has an opportunity to bring together 100 youth working on one particular cottage industry. This is an opportunity for the business community knowing that you already have a group of people that are already organized and already trained that you can work with to advance your other interests whether you are into processing or into exporting.”
Prof. Gudula noted that one of the biggest opportunities around agriculture is value addition, processing and manufacturing.
“We have the raw materials; we have the hardworking people but we need to add value so that we can get more.”
“If you look at an example of Matooke [bananas], Isingiro alone as a district every day brings out 500 trucks. This Matooke comes with its skin, but who is using this where it goes in Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono? So, we are actually carrying a lot of rubbish around and we are saying let somebody out there come and seize the opportunity and add value to this matooke,” she said.
Kiruhura alone as a district, she said produces over 100,000 litres of milk which calls for more factories that process milk to produce different products of yogurt, powdered milk, and many more.
On tourism, Prof. noted that the region is well endowed for so many features, being the home of the gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and many others like Lake Mburo national park, mountains, and waterfalls among many others which makes it a virgin for many opportunities.
The region, she said, is also the gateway to the East African region, having so many border districts to Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and DRC, a very important feature for business opportunities.
To date, the company, which operates in 27 districts in Uganda including Kampala, Mukono, Wakiso, Lwengo, Kyotera, Masaka, Kiryandongo, Luweero, Dokolo, Moroto, Arua, Amolatar, Nwoya, Soroti, Jinja, Namisindwa, Tororo, Hoima, Mbarara, Isingiro, Kabale, Kisoro, Kikuube, Fort Portal, Kamwenge and Kassanda, has been able to train 112,900 young people who are now part of its business development network.
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