With a heart for entrepreneurship, Augustine Busimba always thought that the most important thing to have for any aspiring entrepreneur is a business plan. This changed instantly after attending the two-day Business Foundations Course at The Innovation Village.

“I asked a lot of questions at the training because I wanted to understand why the Business Canvas Model was what was recommended as the most important thing to have before a business. At the end of the training, I was able to see that a business plan is only a subset of the canvas model,” he says.

Even in the position of a sales consultant, Busimba gleaned information that has contributed immensely to that role. The elevator pitch that was taught at The Business Foundations Course has changed his game at work by preparing him to pitch the company services to anyone, anywhere and yield positive results.

He says, “After the elevator pitch, I wrote down some pitches for various products that I submitted to my supervisor. After approving of them, they put them in action and the result has been a spike in clients.”

 With an interest in entrepreneurship, Busimba is now planning to move this newfound business knowledge into his own entrepreneurial ideas that will be spread across various industries. He has already been equipped with digital marketing training and with a mentor acquired through The Innovation Village mentorship programme, he believes that his ideas are about to take off.

 The Business Foundations Course that began in March 2020 was held at The Innovation Village. According to the Ventures Associate, Abdul Rahman Kasujja, the course is meant to give any aspiring entrepreneur the foundational knowledge, skills and tools required for an entrepreneur to start their business and grow the chances of survival in their very early days.

The course is an intense two-day program in which startups are taken through the business model canvas. It is through during this course that they learn about businesses from the idea stage to the large or scaling stage.

The course also corrects misconceptions and myths about entrepreneurship which leaves the entrepreneurs with factual information on growing businesses. The ultimate goal is to bring business ideas to life and to create jobs for the youth.

 The entrepreneurs are found through social media or community outreaches in centres of trade. To date, they have been able to take 425 people through the program. 

From the feedback of those who have attended the training, a  significant change among the entrepreneurs who go through the course has occurred. Some of the entrepreneurs have gone on to start their own businesses while others are concentrating on improving the aspects of their businesses with their newfound knowledge. 

The mentors in the program ensure that the businesses are continuously critiqued to enable them to gradually grow. They are linked to the various services that are available such as the Legal Tech Lab at The Innovation Village that supports them through their legal issues, or Upskill that supports them with knowledge on digital marketing. 

After the business foundations course, the entrepreneurs are given support by tracking their progress and linking them to the services they need and mentors.

At the moment there are 20 startups that are under the mentorship of 14 mentors.

The most important thing is to build a relationship with the startups, to ensure that they are at ease in discussing their growth challenges and expressing their need for entrepreneurship. We are doing this through providing consultation and establishing ourselves as the go-to place for startup questions.

The impact can be seen at all levels for those that have businesses built and those that simply nurse ideas. 

Stacey Nalumansi’s idea is in line to become a business. She has been passionate about Social Media for a year now especially with the increased number of businesses that are migrating online to survive. 

“I have seen a lot of young people who are currently making a living off being online influencers or social media experts. I had no idea how they start or end up dominating that market,” she says.

While Nalumansi was contemplating about this, she visited The Innovation Village and one of the community support persons spoke about a Business Foundations Course that was about to start. It sparked an interest and she registered for it.

 After two days of delving into the fundamentals of building a business, Nalumansi realised that beyond just becoming a social media expert, this could become a business agency that she runs. Since then she has begun thinking about digital marketing on the level of a full-fledged business beyond freelancing. She says that this has given her confidence in her idea and even though lockdown has interrupted the beginning, she is dedicating time to building her idea.

 The Ventures department at The Innovation Village hopes that through the Business Foundations Course, many young people can start businesses and solve the unemployment problem by creating jobs for other people.

 To ensure this, there are resources in place to support this especially through the various arms of The Innovation Village such as the Technology and Data department facilitating businesses to leverage technology to grow. With this support, there is strong belief that Uganda will have the much-needed self-sustaining businesses.

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