“We rise by lifting others” – Robert Ingersoll
Entrepreneurship is a revolution beginning to unfold therefore having a booming entrepreneurial ecosystem where entrepreneurs are confident that in order to make headway, you have to help others move forward, is crucial. No matter how many years you have been in entrepreneurship and business, every entrepreneur faces their own struggles hence learning must be baked into your DNA.
Oftentimes, learning becomes more captivating if it involves someone who can relate to your challenges. Learning from someone who understands and shares the same experiences with you gives you a wide scope of experience and what you are getting into. The trend of entrepreneurs mentoring and helping fellow entrepreneurs is a healthy one, and has a great influence on the economic conditions and the growth for different startups. As one of the youngest countries, Uganda’s future hinges on entrepreneurship. An International Labour Organisation report indicates that Uganda leads the world in the number of women starting businesses with a rating of 38.2%.Therefore the Innovation Village organised the Founders4Founders project, a training program that took place at our home in Gulu.
We hosted 16 early stage entrepreneurs with disruptive ideas and startups. These were open minded and eager minds to learn about different aspects of entrepreneurship from fellow startup founders. On the first day of our training, the entrepreneurs learnt about how to deal with different aspects of being an entrepreneur for example step by step processes of how one should build startups by paying more attention to customer needs. They also had a conversation on the importance of the business model generation particularly the business canvas model which offers guidance on how enterprises can be managed and run. The second day of our workshop consisted of discussions around branding processes and their importances plus product development and design thinking. Day three commenced with an experimentation session that enlightened entrepreneurs on how partnerships work in line with aligning value propositions and how to experiment ideas. Later, they were trained on how to use the design sprint methodology to solve problems. On the last day, we had lessons on pitching, digital marketing, and marketing strategies.
Starting a new business is a whirlwind venture and there’s so much to do that organization, communication, and learning quickly become critical to continue the much sought after success. Most of the Gulu entrepreneurs did not know that there is a lot to do during the business ideation, planning and execution before you bring your idea to life.
“I thought I knew a lot when I arrived here the first day but I discovered that I didn’t know anything, what caught my attention was the branding, I didn’t know a business name carries a lot , it’s not just about waking up and giving it a name, the brand you give a company gives it a persona.” – Evelyn Akoth, Founders4Founders participant.
New entrepreneurs often look at challenges as incessant plagues and yet hard situations present growing opportunities. If you’re just getting into the game, or you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, get a founder to find you.
Solomon Kitumba, Nicholas Kamanzi, Shafic Sekitto, Brain Gitta and Alex Ssenoga were our facilitators for this project.