How a youth group inspired a female entrepreneur

Joining the youth group

Agness Nanyunja is 21 years old woman from Uganda. She lives in Mawanga Busujju village with her husband and son, where she sells chapati (a type of flatbread) and he is a fisherman. Both of them have been taking part in the Twekembe youth group since the start of the Youth Enterprise Challenge, in June 2020.

Upon joining, Agness explains that she was chosen as the secretary of the business. She says: "I was voted in office by the group members because I have gone to school, write well, and I am also an organised person". The group's business is an agricultural input shop at the trading center in the local town of Mawanga, which sells seeds and pesticides to farmers in the community.

Developing the skills to be a better businesswoman

Agness has greatly benefited from taking part in the youth group, as she has acquired knowledge that she is able to implement in her own business. She says: "Attending lessons on business planning has taught me a lot, if I was alone it would have been very hard to teach myself". In addition, she explains that the lessons have helped her improve her approach to the sales of chapatis: she was able to identify her competitors and improve her products to stand out.

For instance, she focused on providing better customer service, and found ways to both increase the quality of her chapatis, and to expand the variety of products she was offering. She also pointed out that the financial planning lessons gave her a better understanding of the importance of record keeping for the success of her business.

Building aspirations

Participating in the youth group has changed Agness’ ideas of what she could do, as she has now decided to enter a business partnership with someone else, which she had never considered before. While she had been looking at different saving groups in her community before to start a big business, she points out that “the lessons have taught me how to start a business using the local resources in my community and how to start a profitable business using little capital”.

Ultimately, joining the youth group helped her improve her confidence and has changed the way she relates to her community. “As a business woman, I feel good and like it so much because I want to develop and become a role model in my community”, she explains.