Twin brothers use technology to transform Uganda businesses, schools and more

Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2019/04/twin-brothers-use-technology-to-transform-uganda-businesses-schools-and-more/

Apr
4

Samuel Kakuru (left); the Rev. Canon Dr. John Senyonyi, UCU Vice Chancellor (center); and Andrew Kato (right) at a University Public Lecture in 2015. (Uganda Christian University Partners photo)
Samuel Kakuru (left); the Rev. Canon Dr. John Senyonyi, UCU Vice Chancellor (center); and Andrew Kato (right) at a University Public Lecture in 2015. (Uganda Christian University Partners photo)

By Brendah Ndagire

In today’s globalized world, technology is an increasingly significant tool in improving and sustaining businesses. With the introduction of smartphones, cheaper computer brands and the influx of telephone companies, an estimated one million Ugandans have access to computers. This number could be higher but with poor and inadequate infrastructures, some people especially in rural areas, are still struggling to have access to personal technology devices and the Internet. However, due to the presence and growth of a diverse private sector, which sparks competition and creativity, Uganda is making progress in advancing technology. With access to information, communication and technology, there is a positive shift in how small, medium-sized, and large-scale businesses are conducted in Uganda. Uganda Christian University alumnus Andrew Kato, with his twin brother Samuel Kakuru, are representative of this shift. They are co-founders of a company called The Wit Limited, which uses technology-based solutions to transform all forms of businesses in Uganda. Uganda Christian University Partners spoke with Andrew Kato to understand the role of his company.

Samuel KakuruConducting a Tech Training with students at Sheema Secondary School, Mbarara (Western Uganda)
Samuel KakuruConducting a Tech Training with students at Sheema Secondary School, Mbarara (Western Uganda)

What did you study at UCU?
I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Computing in 2015. My brother studied the same program; we both graduated on top of our classes. Our desire is to practice what we have always been passionate at, and that eventually translated into this business company.

Who are your clients at The Wit Bistech Solutions Center?
We work with local businesses, schools, institutions and non-government organizations. For example, we have worked with an NGO that works with orphans to create, design and maintain its website. We are mostly targeting local businesses to give them the latest information technology (IT) tools, and training business owners to become more acquainted with business management skills. We look at how they do their businesses and we seek ways we can improve them.

What might be future partnerships?
We hope to partner with local universities, to shape and open up opportunities for recent graduates. We want to support them to think about how they can get practical skills in implementing a business. We intend to start a Business Learning Community where we offer training to students pursuing business and IT-related programs at universities. Then those students can offer to volunteer, be trained and be connected to local entrepreneurs where they can learn practically as they help out in running businesses using the latest technologies and requisite business skills.

When you look at Uganda clients, what aspect of technology are you promoting?
Looking at the business as a whole, we ask our clients, “How are you managing your accounts? Who are your top customers? Which ones are your top selling products/services?” Many local businesses just do business without thinking deeply about how they manage their finances, and how general business operates. Many do not separate their personal finances from the business finances. They need to learn how to do record keeping, and how to track their transactions, manage inventory levels, and attract customers. Our company introduces and trains them on how to do computerized accounting. We start with cheap technology such as Microsoft Excel, or QuickBooks. Then, we support them to think about how they can do proper marketing. Today, all the marketing is almost done online. And we support our clients to learn about the power of digital marketing and to setup their strategies.

 How are you supporting people who are doing business in rural areas?
We have a very flexible team that is dedicated to train and work with them. We support rural business owners to learn how to manage their cash flows first. We train them to design small models of managing their money, for instance, to have a book to track their cash in, and cash out. At the end of the day or week, they are able to track how much they have made and spent using a cash flow statement. Step by step, we introduce them to simple methodologies. For example, from creating a table in their book to indicate cash in and cash out, we introduce them to a simple templates in Microsoft Excel.

What areas in Uganda are you focusing on?
We have opened our offices in Mbarara, but being an Information Technology (IT) company, we are not limited by geographical scope. For example, here in Kampala, we have a law firm that invited us to look at how they manage their finances and then offer a solution. We have supported them to come up with a better computerized tool to monitor their finances. We also have supported a Day Care Center with another software to improve their childrens’ learning abilities.

Where do you see the Uganda Christian University role in this company?
It was a life-changing experience to study at Uganda Christian University. UCU prepared us to have a holistic approach to life. It was very important to us to understand that the work we want to do is not for us, but the community and God. At UCU, I was a student leader in our department of Business and finance. Now, I personally apply every leadership experience I had at UCU in my current work with the company.

What challenges have you experienced?
The main challenge is acceptability and adaptability. Many people, businesses, and schools are not embracing and/or adapting to these technological changes in our country. And we have to constantly think about creative ways we can engage with them. Secondly, we are still a new company, and we are still struggling to keep up with the cost of operation.

What message do you want to give young entrepreneurs coming out of UCU?
Current students need to take advantage of learning from local businesses near UCU. UCU’s Business Faculty need to start developing partnerships with local businesses, to create a platform where students can be integrated with the real business community as they learn from each other. Such businesses should act as a business laboratory for all UCU students especially those with interest in Business and offering solutions to community problems.

***

For more of these stories and experiences, visit https://www.ugandapartners.org. If you would like to assist a current student or otherwise support the university, contact Mark Bartels, Executive Director, UCU Partners, at m.t.bartels@ugandapartners.orgor go to https://www.ugandapartners.org/donate/

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