A UWEAL Success Story of Mrs. Barbra Ofwono founder Victorious Education Services

Victorious Education Services began 19 years ago, to nurture a wholesome learner.  Mrs. Barbara Ofwono says, ‘Victorious foundation is built on Godly principles and culture which defines who we are and what we do from time to time in providing quality services.’

 

Qn 1. What inspired you to start Victorious Education Services?

My love for children is what inspired me. It’s an inner gift from God.

I started out as a Sunday School Teacher, I believe children need to be nurtured and trained. In the 90s many people despised the occupation of being a nursery school teacher. I noticed a gap in nursery schools, children were not being catered for or trained well, in addition to that the teachers were not being nurturing towards the students. I believe children need to know they are special and need to be explained to patiently. I started my business with one million Ugandan Shillings (1,000,000), 30 chairs, no tables and over the last 19 years, I have grown from 30 students to 1,000 students . I am proud to have students that have gone through Victorious schools and are now graduates from University.

Through setting up Victorious education services, I aimed at changing the attitude the country had towards children and train a team that understood how to provide a conducive environment for children.

 

“If you do not handle the roots well, how will the tree grow” Barbra Ofwono

 

Qn 2. What are the biggest challenges you have faced in developing and running a successful enterprises?

The biggest challenge, I faced was lack of encouragement from my peers. People did not believe a young entrepreneur like me could be successful, with no female entrepreneur role models at the time. Many of my colleagues looked down on my vision to educate children. I lacked the necessary collateral to borrow money to fund my vision,  I used a church loan  to establish my business.

Qn 3. What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs in Uganda?

I would advise young women to identify their passion and talent, focus on your intrinsic inner energy and unique characteristics.

Young women entrepreneurs need to professionalize, in order to compete with the changing world. Young entrepreneurs need to research, know the trends that effect the global economy. In order to ensure the expansion of your business please, focus on training your employees, hands-on through the experience you have gained.

Qn 4. How has UWEAL influenced your business?

I joined UWEAL in search of knowledge and a network of women who come together to empower each other.

Through training’s and mentorship opportunities at UWEAL members are encouraged to pursue their vision.

The UWEAL community helps women grow, from the different trades of women entrepreneur’s present in Uganda. UWEAL taught me how to present myself, how to grow, maintain and brand my enterprise. Through UWEAL I learnt tips on marketing, technology and writing proposals.

Qn 5. What plans do you have for the future of Victorious Education Services?

After 19 years in Education, I feel the need to diversify. Going into social entrepreneurship to empower communities and bring change. Targeting young girls, widows, in order to bridge the gap between rich and poor.

I plan to expand Victorious Education Services, to provide Secondary School Education and Vocational Institute that will promote peoples talent and passions through skills development.  Developing a vocational school is important to me because my father identified my passion for teaching, when I was applying for University. He emphasized that being a teacher was who I really was.

Qn 6. You have been recognized locally, regionally and internationally, How have these awards shaped your experiences and outlook on business?

I have 25 Awards in total, I work diligently and I am blessed that people appreciate my work. When we set up Victorious Educational Schools in Bakuli, the community where the school is located today was deprived of toilets, mothers were not going for antenatal care. We helped the community around the school improve their standards of living and partnered with KCCA to improve the main road in Bakuli. The community in appreciation named the lane after the school. I was honored to win the Global CEO award as the  most influential in Education in East Africa and Uganda.  I recently returned from Geneva where I won a Bronze Award at the World Investment Forum that reviewed my Innovation, Leadership and Impact on Community.

 

Hajjat Nakasujja Bolsters People’s Health with Nature’s Remedies

“You don’t have to have millions of shillings or be an expert in a particular field to start and run a successful enterprise. But you must have courage, determination and focus to achieve your dream.” This is what Hajjat Aisha Nakasujja, the proprietor and Chief Executive Officer of one of the leading herbal medicine, food supplements and cosmetics manufacturing companies in Uganda believes.

Following a crippling personal setback that left her in complete financial ruin, Hajjat Nakasujja was not sure how she would pick up the pieces and start making a living. As she pondered this challenge, she began the activities that would eventually lead to the birth of Aloesha Organic Natural Health Products Ltd. The company was born out of a passionate desire first to help her friends finds find natural remedies for their health problems and second (in that order), to make a financial come-back.

Having been introduced to a variety of medicinal plants by her mother at a young age, Hajjat Nakasujja had always been fascinated by clinical nutrition and herbal medicines. This fascination stimulated her desire to pursue a career and later start a business in this field.

To further polish the skills she had learned from her mother, Hajjat Nakasujja obtained training in nutritional medicine at Plaskett International College, in the United Kingdom. Immediately after qualifying as a psychotherapist in 2008, Hajjat Nakasujja began offering free consultation services and herbal medicinal formulas to members of her family and friends, free of charge. Hajjat Nakasujja soon learned however, that the people she was “helping” did not know how to identify the medicinal plants in her herbal formulas. This compelled her to change her approach. Instead of providing herbal formulas, Hajjat
Nakasujja started blending the herbs herself; using herbs picked form her mother’s garden in Wakiso. Read More

Nakayenga Mints Money from Hibiscus

She just wanted to create a small business that would help her earn an income upon retirement and also create employment for a few close relatives. Today, Ms. Regina Nakayenga is a budding billionaire, having been bitten by the entrepreneur bug that stimulated her zeal, resilience and determination to pursue giant dreams.

Her company, Rena Beverage Solutions, is a home-based enterprise that produces a range of beverage products from both the trumpet-shaped hibiscus flower and hibiscus seeds. The products include Rena Hibi Drink, a ready-to-drink nutritional juice, Rena Hibi Concentrate – a concentrated juice and Rena Hibi Tea, a soluble powder that may be dissolved in hot or cold
water. The firm also produces sweet and dry hibiscus wines.

The single mother of five and former entrepreneurship lecturer at Kyambogo University says that putting the theories she always taught her students into practice, has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of her life. “While a lecturer, I always felt hypocritical when I taught business skills that I had never actually used and had no real experience with. That challenged
me to establish a business,” she explains. Read More

The Women Business Leaders Conference (WBLC)

The Women Business Leaders Conference (WBLC) is an annual event which brings together local regional and international women entrepreneurs and business executives to be empowered, forge solid networks and leverage their individual and corporate strengths to champion and create an enabling environment for women to do business in their countries.

This unique conference aims to celebrate the mileage and achievements that business women have made and help pave the way for future young women and girl entrepreneurs. It is a unique platform for these business leaders share their experience, inspire others and be inspired, to create strategic business partnerships, discover new business and investment opportunities. Women come together to jointly identify proactive measures around local and global challenges and craft innovative solutions and strategies to enable them trade, and do business which contributes to economic growth and development across the continent.

UWEAL MONTHLY BREAKFAST MEETINGS

UWEAL held its monthly breakfast meeting on 31st January 2019 with guest speakers from Nately Creations a Sales and Marketing Consultancy firm and  Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group that held a discussion on the 2019/20 National Budget and the critical gaps effecting women.

Month Of The Woman Entrepreneur (MOWE)

The International Labor Organisation, through its project on Women Entrepreneurship Development and Gender Equality (ILO-WEDGE), in collaboration with women entrepreneurship associations in Uganda, formed a partnership designed to widely promote the role of women entrepreneurship development. Through this concept, the women entrepreneur associations in Uganda dedicated the month of November as the ‘Month Of The Woman Entrepreneur (MOWE’).

During MOWE, a combination of different events ranging from capacity building, business exhibitions and advocacy forums are carried out, with an aim of creating an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs, promoting the role of women entrepreneurship development and recognizing the potential and achievements of women entrepreneurs in generating employment and income.

All MOWE activities address women entrepreneurs, including those with disabilities and those living with HIV/AIDS.

Objectives:

  • To widely promote the role of women entrepreneurship development in national development by recognizing the potential and achievements of women entrepreneurs in generating employment and incomes.
  • To showcase women entrepreneurs as role models.
  • To renew the commitment of concerned stakeholders towards the promotion of women entrepreneurship development.
  • To disseminate information and exchange good practices in the areas of women’s entrepreneurship development, and raise critical issues affecting women entrepreneurs for the attention of policy makers and other relevant stakeholders.

Annual Business Achievers’ Awards

At the end of every year UWEAL recognizes women who have excelled in entrepreneurship. The objective of the award is to motivate winners to carry on and inspire women to work even harder. The awards are open to all women entrepreneurs irrespective of UWEAL membership. Members are also honored for the exemplary and selfless service to UWEAL.

East African Women Entrepreneurs Women Exchange Network (EAWEExN)

This program was launched in July, 2007 as the Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Exchange to provide an opportunity for Uganda’s women entrepreneurs to exhibit their products and network with one another. The network has since grown to include seven countries in the region and 2009 was re-launched as the East African Women Entrepreneurs Exchange Network to create a regional networking platform.

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

UWEAL hosts strong business presenters speaking on knowledge-enriching topics at monthly breakfast meetings. This is yet another networking opportunity for women entrepreneurs, where information is shared on various business topics. Members are updated on upcoming business events and networking opportunities are created. This years AGM is scheduled for 23rd March 2019.