Kato established a tour company with less than Shs1 million
Posted Tuesday, October 29 2013 at 01:00
With less than Shs1 million, Kato’s hunger and determination to succeed pushed him to venture into a crowded tour operators’ business, a decision that to-date he does not regret.
You don’t have to break the bank to start a business. And that is what inspired Isa Kato to start a tour company with less than Shs1 million.
The hunger to strike out on his own didn’t give him time to first accumulate stashes of cash to make a big investment.
Although Kato had a wealth of determination and knowledge, he was short on cash to the extent that registering his business was done in bits.
But because he had determination and patience, Adventure, Culture and Nature Holidays (ACN) was registered in 2010, taking another full year before starting operations in 2011.
Just like many startups, Kato hawked his business in a briefcase with his only possession being a laptop and an internet modem.
His favourite joints were coffee shops and public spaces, where he could think away on his laptop for ways through which he could break into the already crowded tour and travel market.
In cases where Kato could chance on a client, he would look around to outsource the service that would involve hiring a vehicle and a tour guide to take the visitor around to agreed upon sites.
“It was a tough beginning but we are now getting there,” Kato, a bachelor of Tourism graduate narrates to Prosper in an interview.
ACN’s strength, according to Kato, lies in organising cultural expeditions, trips to national parks as well as taking tourists for nature walks in several parts of the country.
“I never wanted to work under anyone for long and I thought three years was enough time for me to get hands-on experience that could help me run my own company,” Kato, a Makerere University graduate explains.
In 2010, Kato resigned from his job as a tour manager after three years. “This was my turning point and perhaps the beginning of my fortunes.
Three years down the lane, Kato has made great strides in the tourism industry, with his firm’s worth estimated at about Shs100 million. In addition, the firm’s asset base has also increased to include three tour vehicles and an office.
Improving client numbers
His client number has also improved substantially from about two tourist groups of five to six tourists about two years ago to more than 30 groups today and he expects the numbers to improve further, supported by the growth of the tourism sector.
According to data tourist numbers have grown from 844,000 in 2011 to 1.2 million in 2012. Kato employs at least three people, including an administrator and an accountant to control the firm’s finances
According to Kato, the desire to have a brighter future, accumulate wealth and the need to discover new bird species has driven him to work harder while he is still young and energetic.