What started as a simple dream has turned a 45-year-old woman into a land owner and an established businesswoman.
Harriet Namayanja, a regular listener to CBS radio, was struggling to make ends meet as a poultry farmer when she heard on radio a discussion about a project to empower women through savings and loan associations (PEWOSA).
She picked interest to venture into cottage industries and has never looked back. “When I started the business I only used my children as workers because I didn't have money to pay workers,” she explains.
Since 2012, Namayanja has been able to grow and expand her business, buy land, build a house and support her family.
Through PEWOSA, Namayanja has accessed loans easily and at lower interest rates and a longer time of repayment making her Family Immune Products and body boosters business grow.
Namayanja spotted the business opportunity in 2012 and she eventually started in one room and she named the business Family Immune Products and Body Boosters. Namayanja started with making tea spices from avocado seeds through pounding them in a mortar to get powder. From one product and two employees, she now deals in twelve products, employs 16 workers and gets her products processed and packed from a factory.
She now owns the business in Maganjo, Wakiso district that deals in health products. The products help in body building of especially the infants and curing dehydration. They include avocado, hibiscus, pumpkin seeds and simsim among others.
But the starting was not easy, she says. “I would save 5000 shillings a week after selling my products,” she said.
Namayanja always carried materials and delivered finished products to her clients. Her production capital depended on customers who would pay deposits and that is the money she used use to buy raw materials that is the avocado seeds, simsim, pumpkin seeds among others. She says she gets an average profit of 1200 shillings on every tin sold.
The 45-year-old mother of two says one of the challenges is competition from others in the same business. "I always plan to be exceptional. But there are people in the same business who wait for clients from wherever they are. They do not explore the market. I make unique products like small branded tins and this helps me expand my market base.”
Fazirah Namugga, an employee, talks approvingly of the business now: "We sell our products to people in different parts of Kampala and Jinja among other towns. Since we make quality products, our customers look for us everywhere we are found."
Florence Mukasa, a client rates Namayanja’s products highly. "I decided to taste her products by buying a big tin of hibiscus at Shillings 10,000. I used to make hibiscus juice as she advised me that it helps to solve dehydration and it really worked for me.”
Namanyanja attends different exhibitions like in that organized by CBS PEWOSA, Namboole, Lugogo among others. This helps her get in touch with her clients and also meet other persons who develop desire for her products.
"In a year we attend to nine exhibitions and of these one is organized by CBS PEWOSA at Wankulukuku Stadium where we are given opportunities to display our commodities and interact with our clients," says Bwambale Isaac, an employee.
About future plans, Namayanja hopes to acquire modern machinery for processing and packaging.
"Start with what you have" is what she says to young people who are trying to become independent.
Photo picked from BBS TV