Wavamunno tells his entrepreneurial journey
Posted Tuesday, October 30 2012 at 02:00
Starting small. The self-made businessman has scooped the Ugandan Businessman of the Year award seven times.
Even simple things like snacks and cakes, what the foreigners are doing here. The facilities should be set up by government or local governments like KCCA, with the youth allowed access and use. This way, they will gain skills and eventually go into big business.
The Future of Corporate Uganda
‘Honesty.’ This is the prompt, curt prescription he gives. Ugandans are not honest. The corruption in the public sector has affected the private sector as well. When the shareholders and managers are honest, each knowing that they earn a living from this company, then, the company will survive. The other factor, he says, is the ability to read the trends and re-adjust accordingly. ‘You let go what cannot continue...we had a city bus service, City Link, but we could not compete with the matatus. We moved out of hotel business, banking, flowers...’
Born in 1943 in Rugaaga, Mbarara( present-day Isingiro District), he ventured into business at an early age after his secondary school, having acquired skills and the acumen from assisting his father in running the family retail shop. From his autobiography, he started working for an Asian family in their produce stores in Mbarara, later graduating into buying produce from the villages around Mbarara, selling to the Asians.
Using his first car, he ventured into taxi (special hire) business in Mbarara, eventually growing into a driving school and then, Spear Touring when he relocated to Kampala. This is the mother company that gave birth to the flagship of his business empire, Spear Motors.
The flagship of the group, which he calls the Jewel in the Crown, is Spear Motors Ltd. Principally a Mercedes Benz franchise( with an installed capacity to assemble vehicles at semi-knock-down, SKD stage), the company has diversified into the American brand Jeep and recently brands from China, notably Great Wall and Wingle. Other companies are Wavah Broadcasting Services (WBS TV), Star Times digital satellite television service, Spear House, one of the first modern office blocks in Kampala; Wavah Water; GM Tumpeco, Fancy Furniture that imports high-end office and domestic furniture, Wavah Books and Nakwero Farm in Gayaza.