Pictured: Professor Juma Waswa Balunywa (C), Dr. Diana, the Alumni and members of the MUBS EIIC

For those this may be familiar to, or those who didn’t, in my other life, I am a student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Marketing at Makerere University Business School (MUBS) 🙈😁 , and happen to be having Entrepreneurship Development as one of my course units at the moment.

Thursday last week, an opportunity to learn presented itself; and being that it was many miles away from Kampala, the travel enthusiast in me was more than excited.

The mentorship seminar was organized by the Entrepreneurship Innovation and Incubation Centre (EIIC) of MUBS, and the attendees set off from the university premises to Entebbe where it was to take place at about 5 Pm.

Upon checking into the venue, scholars, and the alumni of the EIIC were registered, sanitized, and later assumed their seats.

The 2-day study trip brought to the fore many valuable financial, leadership, and entrepreneurial lessons that bettered the perspectives of over 20 participants who attended the event as hosted by MUBS’ Principal, Professor Juma Waswa Balunywa.

The 66-year-old institution head is not only a leadership trainer but an entrepreneur as well, and he therefore in his remarks had this to share with those in attendance:

On Leadership:

Most entrepreneurs are by default leaders. Prof. did echo that it is important to remember that “Leadership is not about you, but rather is about uplifting others, mobilizing resources to serve others, and empowering them to become better. 

On Coming up with unique business ideas:

Entrepreneurs do this by learning, knowing that something has multiple uses, and this is achieved by not being satisfied with what you know. “Thinking this way opens one’s mind to recognize the opportunity.”, he adds.

On why some businesses fail:

One of the reasons why some businesses fail for entrepreneurs is that some fail to fall in love with what they are doing. “You cannot succeed at what you don’t like.”, emphasized Professor Balunywa.

He also attributed this to the failure to plan. The scholar says having a business plan enables you to articulate what you are going to do, and understand the details and resources of what will happen and when.  It also gives direction to the business and where you wish to take it, and identify the source of resources.

One other hindrance to entrepreneurship he mentioned was insufficient resources. “Some fail because of lack of resources. These have two types: the funds/ physical and the people.”

To counter this, he offered guidance on when to borrow money: “Borrow not for the business, but for working capital of up to three months. Only borrow if you are going to use the money to purchase equipment that you can use for up to 3 years, but again this can only be achieved by planning as elements like a budget comes in as one of those to include in the business plan.”

He also talked about the rationale of networking. “Build a network. Those who you work with, sell with, they can also serve as a source of ideas. Make your contacts, and multiply the people in your circle. It is also key to motivate and empower the people/ talents that you employ. This can be in form of empowering them with information etc.”, added the good Professor.

In his concluding remarks was the need to enterprise and avoid being trapped in the salary routine. “My final advice to you as you continue to study is don’t look for a salary, look for a profit. With salary, you earn the same amount after a period, but with profit, you are able to grow.”

Day two of the seminar was opened with an aerobics session, meals, and later group discussions to discuss the various challenges Ugandan entrepreneurs face, and later certificate awarding to the alumni of MUBS’ EIIC who participated in the “Start Your Business While Still At School Programme” of August 2021.

While representing the leadership at the EIIC of MUBS, Dr. Diana Ntamu opened her remarks by appreciating Professor Balunywa for picking interest in the young people, and for always sparing time to engage them on such a level of mentorship.

It was capped with the guest of honor informing us about the Hi Innovator Business Academy; an online short course for all entrepreneurs. To participate, click here.