When Rachael Namirimu completed her studies at Makerere University Business School (Mubs) in 2016, one of her worries was how she would get a job.
Like most youth in Uganda, getting a dream job was just a nightmare; so, her worries increased each day after graduation since she did not know where to start from.
“I did not have a job, I was just sitting at home and feeling very bad because I had the papers but no job,” she says.
But with time, Namirimu and her few former course mates decided to start something small; a business just to keep them going as they looked for jobs.
“We needed something just to keep us in Kampala, let alone allowing us to leave home and also facilitate our movements. Hence we came together and formed a group,” she said.
With only Shs 600,000, they formed Nakawa East Village Bakery and Confectionery Group. The group has 11 members; six males and five females.
The group is trading under the name Royale Dinerz, dealing in cakes for all functions and other confectionery products.
Edwin Bulonge, 24, the Chairperson of the group explains that they had to learn how to bake before venturing into the business and with the help of one of their lecturers, they started the business.
Bulonge, who had previously tried petty jobs here and there, said the youth have to find their footing rather than waiting for government to give them jobs.
Bulonge explained that the turning point came when they received some capital in form of a loan from Youth Livelihood Programme last year.
“We were not earning much; with only Shs 600,000, you can’t expect much but we are proud to announce that we are now on course since government moved to help us. We are grateful,” he said.
They received Shs 9.5 million from YLP. The money was released in two phases.
According to the group members, within the short period, they have been able to expand their business; some members talk of having been ‘liberated’.
“We now have six outlets; we don’t have to crowd in one place. I can say we are liberating ourselves slowly,” Bugole said.
Two of the outlets are located in Kireka, three in Mukono and another in Mubs.
A part from expansion, Royale Dinerz is employing other youth to do the sales and marketing of their products.
“My baking skills have improved, I have been economically empowered and I have saved some money. Also due to the business skills I acquired before receiving the loan, I can start business on my own,” Namirimu said.
The group has diversified; they have a gift shop as well as selling soft drinks to accompany their cakes and confectioneries.
Bugole, however, says the seasonality of the business around Mubs is a challenge; when the university closes, sales drop. But Royale Dinerz plan to continue skilling other youth and also expanding their business to other areas.