Learning key skills for business success

Anena Dorcus lives in the Lamwo District in Uganda, which is located on the border with South Sudan and hosts Palabek Refugee Settlement. Anena is one of the Uganda nationals that remain in the refugee settlement, awaiting relocation after the refugee camp was set up in 2017.

Uganda has a long history of hosting refugee populations and now operates an integrated settlement approach, where refugees and host communities coexist and share common services. Through partnership with Education Cannot Wait, Teach A Man To Fish has supported both refugees and Ugandan nationals across Northern Uganda.

Anena lives with her Uncle and took part in the School Enterprise Challenge in 2019. Due to her persistence and skills, Anena, aged 16, was recognised as one of the exceptional pupils in her school and attributes her good grades, acquired knowledge, success and skills to having participated in the programme.

Putting knowledge into practice

Anena Dorcus outside her kiosk with Teach A Man To Fish staff

Keen to put her business and life skills knowledge into practice, Anena decided to set up a petrol selling business with 76,000 UGX (£15) investment, given to her from her uncle. However, using skills acquired from the School Enterprise Challenge she was able to conduct a feasibility study and further market research, and soon realised that a kiosk business would be a greater business opportunity.

Anena purchased some initial products including sugar and juice, that she knew would be popular with the locals and with support from her uncle built a temporary structure for her roadside shop. On a good day, Anena made sales of up to 20,000 UGX (£4) but on less good days her sales would be around 9,000 UGX (less than £2).

Critically, Anena was able to gather important information from her community, including identifying and analysing market trends, market size, target market, customer needs and buying habits, and identifying her competitors to maintain advantage.

Planning for the future

“My business now generates weekly returns as profits that I have managed to save with one of the local VSLA (Village Savings and Loan Association) groups in the community for future investments.”

Anena is keen to construct a permanent structure, expand her business and achieve her dream of becoming a teacher in the future by enrolling in one of the Secondary schools to further her education.

In her own words, Anena explains that determination and patience are key to one’s success.