What you need to know:
- When tragedy struck, it almost decapitated Aloesha Organics. However, bad as it might have been, Don Patrick Bugingo, who was part of the business at an early age, stepped forward and has stirred the business through various challenges
Aloesha Organics is a decade or so old. Starting with Aisha Nakasujja, it became a household name.
However, behind the scenes was a young man who watched his mother build the business from scratch in Kisekka Market at HBT Complex.
“In my vacation, I [would] help my mother. In its infant stages, she was involved in everything. From planting, harvesting, sales and dispensing, she did almost everything including marketing through radio talk shows, and expos. Fortunately, I went with her on all these errands,” Don Patrick Bugingo, the Aloesha Organics managing director, says.
These were the training grounds that nurtured Bugingo, such that even when he joined university he chose something close - a Bachelor of Science in Marketing.
“I worked during the day and studied in the evening. The course helped me to understand business. It involved building brands, preparing and drafting marketing campaigns, launching products, packaging and building social media platforms,” he says, and notes that he had to leverage on his mother’s social networks and friendships to keep the business up and running even at the most difficult of times.
Nakasujja, he says, was daring. She got the business in the right places and built partnerships with the likes of Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Uganda Industrial Research Institute that created quality and product confidence among consumers.
Meanwhile, Bugingo had deeply got involved in the business and had now learnt how to do stock taking, deliveries, and making sales.
“I put in more hours and [made it a point to understand] the raw materials of our products,” he says.
After graduating, Bugingo threw all his weight behind the business. But his mother wanted him to do more. She suggested that he goes back to school for a masters in marketing, which would be sponsored through a partial scholarship by the French embassy at the Montpellier Business School.
Nakasujja continued to push on with the business. Her desire was always to change the suspicion with which people treated herbal medicine.
Therefore, she fostered partnerships with National Drug Authority, because she understood it would be a way through which her products would improve. However, with everything going according to plan, tragedy struck in 2021.
“Mother became ill during Covid-19. However, in about two weeks, she was better, only for disaster to strike. I painfully watched life flowing out of her. Without question, the mantle fell on me and the ball has never stopped rolling,” he says.
Bugingo felt his mother had done all she could. He was confident that he was ready to take the business forward in her absence.
“Many of our employees were afraid. They needed assurance that we [were going to] succeed,” he says, and adds that after dealing with staff, they embarked on assuring the external stakeholders, among them clients and suppliers.
The transition, however, has had a couple of hiccups such as slackening in some business areas.
“We lost some clients because mum was gone,” which, as he says, resulted from the fact that some people just simply wanted to see her in person.
In the early days, the business had largely adopted the name of Aloesha Organics with Hajjat Aisha Nakasujja. However, this was changed to Aloesha Organics, which Bugingo says ensured business continuity beyond Nakasujja.
The business has gone on to innovate in other areas. For instance, in 2022, the company opened an ecotourism centre at the site of its main herbs garden. With full-grown trees, chirping birds and monkeys, the idea is for people to enjoy nature in its fullness.
“We are working with Uganda Tourism Board who train our team,” Bugingo says. They also recently opened an outlet in Nansana to serve the many clients in the area.
“We have also recruited more staff [who] are knowledgeable in research,” he says. Aloesha Organics has also won some awards such as the Green Finance Award by Uganda Institute for Banking and Financial Services.
Since Nakasujja’s death, Bugingo has done his best to involve other siblings in the business.
“While they are at school, I copy them in every email I write regarding decision making. That way, they are part of the business journey and they also join me during holidays. Ultimately, I look to have all of us involved [at some point],” he says.
However, Bugingo says that he encourages his siblings to study what they feel is comfortable and will help them to acheive a career of thier chioce.
Away from Aloesha Organics, he teaches French and marketing at Makerere University School of Business and runs a recruitment firm.