Uganda: Meet Mackay's Students: Richard Ssentongo

Richard Ssentongo is one of Mackay Memorial College’s prominent students who has been able to apply business skills learnt from school and home into running a successful business selling personalised bangles; Hope Foundation. He is a bright student who will play a prominent role in the school’s Poultry & Egg Business which will help him develop his  business skills. Teach A Man To Fish interviewed Richard to discover more about his innovative business.

Richard explained to us how he has identified the need for young people to grow in the principles of entrepreneurship and utilise those skills into running successful business on the side of school or once students have left school for employment.

On a school trip to Nairobi in 2008 Richard identified a possible business opportunity that he could start in Kampala; personalised bangles. Excited about this venture he filmed the traders who were making these bangles in Nairobi  Once he returned to Kampala he studied the video, sourced the materials and began to practice making the bangles. Richard mastered how to weave names  shapes and symbols into the bangles in 3 weeks.  

Richard spent 3 months working after school and on the weekends carrying out odd jobs that allowed home to save until he had 30,000 UGX (approx £70 GBP) to start the business. From market research Richard noted that people would not buy his product without having a sample. He then decided to make 180 promotional bangles and hand them out to his target audience who were namely youth from his local church, the nearby University Campus and fellow school students. This promotion proved to Richard his business was viable as young people from the schools began to place orders; his product was in demand.








Richard began to receive interest from Ugandan charitable companies including: ‘I AM’ 'SPIRIT FM' and ‘I Wish’. Only the challenge was meeting the demand. Richard saw another opportunity to motivate young people and increase profits – Training. Richard began training students to make bangles during school breaks and holidays.  They then could work for him and he could meet the demand in sales.

 ‘Training students to make bangles not only helps meet demand but develops other young people like me to learn business skills so they can earn and have employment"

He initially trained 8 people, but now a total of  30 work with Richard. The money has been used to start more business with the students at school, including a liquid soap business (which they do door to door sales) and Screen printing for t-shirts.

The students involved share the profits and some of the money goes back into the business, towards school needs and personal use.

“Although there has been many challenges with starting your own business my main motivation for continuing is inspiring other young people, being an example, friends and the market. I am keen to get involved in the school business of Egg and Poultry  I think it is a good idea for a school to have a business the students can be involved in. They gain practical business skills, and research skills as the learn about their competitors”

Richard hopes that his business  will continue to expand to other districts in Uganda and be an inspiration to youth people across the country. 

The Teach A Man To Fish team at Mackay are in the final Business Planning stages for two new businesses; Poultry and Egg Production and Cultural Entertainment Services, and we are looking forward  to working with Richard and his fellow entrepreneurs to inspire more students to get involved with the school businesses.  

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