When at university especially towards the end of the course, many think of getting corporate jobs that have comfortable offices with air conditioners. They look for and run for that one job advertised.
Mr Leonard Alikiriza, a 36-year old Makerere University Bachelor of Commerce graduate is not one such person. “When I was growing a friend of my Dad always told me that I should fight hard to be my own employer and this advice stuck right in my head,” Mr Alikiriza says.
“After my School I pre-qualified for a transport tender with Tororo Cement under a small company then called Nyaks and Lenny Enterprises. Because of my love for vehicles I knew I would get cars that I would use if my bid was accepted. And as luck would have it, I got the deal,” he says.
In 2012 Nyaks and Lenny Enterprises was incorporated and was set for logistics and transportation of goods. With the contract that they had just gotten from Tororo Cement, they hired trucks from Katwe.
Within a year they strived to own some trucks for them to continue operating. They also subcontracted other companies to do the transportation.
Mr Alikiliza who is passionate about entrepreneurship knew he had to work hard. “Because we had now mastered the art of this transport business, our major aim was to be the number one transport company. Therefore, we started a strong partnership with dfcu Bank and acquired trucks. Dfcu financed this initiative. We stopped hiring and the whole fleet is all ours now,” he says; adding: “We also got contracts with UNRA of clearing trenches and this also made our operations get better.”
Nyaks and Lenny Enterprises has been growing overtime. After running several contracts with Tororo Cement, Mr Alikiriza says that his company has an annual turnover of Shs7.5 billion. It employs more than 150 people who are mostly drivers since their main business is transportation. Some of the employees are administrators, truck managers, among others.
Mr Alikiriza credits the company’s success to high integrity, hard work, high level transparency both to himself and to the clients. He also has great passion for what he does.
“Doing business especially transport has become our hobby,” he says.
Participating in the Top 100 SME competition ran by Daily Monitor and KPMG is one of Mr Alikiriza’s greatest achievements.
They also boast of having employed many people. “Providing employment to us is the best because then we are improving the livelihood of people and their families,” Mr Alikiriza says.
“The business we do is very capital intensive and when our trucks begin breaking down or need mechanical attention, we get financially constrained,” he says.
They also find a hurdle in accessing finance for expansion. They say the cost of getting money whether as a loan or from partners is high and this slows down their business.