Isa Walusimbi, a motor-vehicle mechanic’s biggest challenge after completing his course at Nakawa Vocational Institute in Kampala, was startup capital for his own business. Because of this, he ended up in the pool of the many graduates plying streets for jobs.
However, he later sought and got employment at a garage in Kisekka market, downtown Kampala where he worked for more than two years and saved money he used as startup capital for his own garage.
“I am glad I did not spend a lot of time looking for a job,” he says. He is currently the manager of Najja Auto Garage on Entebbe Road.
Barter your skills
There are a few money-generating ventures a graduate can engage in to overcome the challenge of startup capital.
Josephine Naigaga, a graduate from YWCA Vocational Training Institute, Kampala, says, “I used the baking skills I learnt during my catering course to teach friends. Also from referrals, I got clients whom I would bake for as well as teach how to bake at about Shs300, 000 a month. I was able to save and purchase a locally-made oven as well as rent space for my bakery and cake shop.”
Accept parental support
Parents can help get you financial help. Sheena Kawalya, 26, faced several failed attempts while job hunting. “On sharing this with my mother, she offered me Shs2m to start up a mobile money business. Using the savings, I was able to to start up a boutique in downtown Kampala where I also tailor clothes.”
Seek a bank loan
Some banks offer soft loans for those starting business. Francis Nabeeta shares how he sought a loan to start up his business. “After my studies at Buganda Royal Institute of Business and Technical Training, I got a job as an office messenger. Although my salary was not adequate, I took up a salary loan to start up an events management business,” he says.
Explore funds from NGOs
“I ventured into farming after my studies at Kyera Agricultural College in Mbarara, so I took on training from Youth Alive. The organisation gave me seedlings to start up tree growing in my home village,” shares Raymond Alinda. Alinda encourages the youth to use small starting up tools to build a business.
Call to government
Dr Wilfred Karukuza Nahamya, the deputy executive secretary Uganda Business and Technical Examination board, says the board has been able to graduate more than 80,000 students since 2011 who are currently in the field.
He, however, notes that majority of them have ended up on the streets hunting jobs like any other graduates since they do not have the required startup kits. He advises that the best support would be providing them with some capital or startup kits for their own business. “Some businesses are very hard to start since they require a lot of capital so if the government initiates a policy of equipping the students with startup capital like it used to, vocational education would become more relevant,” Karukuza said.