Business Lessons from the 12th URA Open Minds Forum
The 12th URA Open Minds Forum that went down yesterday (12th July) at UMA show grounds was certainly an event no youth deserved to miss.
The event focused on skilling Uganda’s youth with financial discipline and a mindset for business success. The URA Open Minds Forum successfully set a platform for fostering financial discipline and business skilling as well as provide an opportunity to the youth attending to share and learn from youth entrepreneurs.
The panel discussions held at the URA Open Minds Forum were conducted by successful youth entrepreneurs from various strands of life and professions. It was also graced by Hon. Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi (Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs) as the Guest of Honor and Ms. Doris Akol (Commissioner General URA) as the keynote address speaker.
Here are some of the key business lessons we picked up from the panelists at the 12th URA Open Minds Forum:
1. Quit talking and start doing
The keynote address speaker, Ms. Doris Akol (Commissioner General, URA) elaborated, “The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.” She also added, “Financial literacy is education and knowledge about how money works with key aspects of budgeting, saving, investment and retirement planning.” She also encouraged young people to not be embarrassed by their failures but rather learn from them and stand again.
2. Always talk about yourself and what you do
Ethan Mussolini, the CEO at Success Africa narrated, “My dad always told me, son, wherever you go, talk about yourself or else no one will know who you are. You should always introduce yourself either by the problem you solve or the value you offer.” He further elaborated on how youth need to stand up for themselves during networking sessions or amidst opportunities. Mussolini further said, “Continuous innovation is the only way to go. Never stop on what you have because it’s never the maximum that you can offer.”
3. Learn how to manage your finances
“Even though you are earning millions, if you don’t know how to manage your finances you are working for nothing. After making money, there are two kinds of people, those who build with it, and those who eat it! Which one do you want to be?” asked James Abola, the Team leader, Akamai Global.
4. Learn to make big sacrifices
Mrs. Maxima Musimenta of Livara Cosmetics elaborated, “I dropped a USD $8000 job to start my own company. For the first one and a half years, we didn’t make any profit. The worth of the business right now is UGX 2.5 billion.” Young people need to learn how to take a leap of faith and put all into making their businesses a success. However, she cautioned “Research is important in starting up a business, don’t just jump unto one basing on real-life testimonies from our youth entrepreneurs today.”
5. Seek advice from your successful friends
“When you have friends that are rich, don’t envy them. Kindly ask them to share their stories in order to inspire you. This is one of the reasons as to how I became a manager at the age of 18.” narrated Ms. Ruth Matovu Biyinzika of Skilling Uganda, PSFU.
6. To grow your business, you have to incur costs
Many youths today struggle with starting up their own businesses and somehow get stranded in the cobwebs of registration and taxes. Lillian Katiso the Director of Zaddock Associates Ltd explains, “Registering your business might look stressful but an unregistered company misses out a lot of business. Also when running a business make sure it makes both sales and profit.”
7. Get value from social media platforms you join
“There’s always a lot of kibamo to join all the social media platforms that are launched. But before you join them, do you ask yourself what value it will add to you?” asked Niyitegeka Michael (ICDL Africa Country Manager, Uganda.) He further noted, “If I wasn’t on LinkedIn I wouldn’t have had my job. The internet is your marketplace. Top job opportunity websites include Hire the Youth, Upwork, and Freelancer. Youths must move from being digitally literate to being digitally competent. Equip yourself with digital skills.”
- “Life is about choices, the world owes me nothing, I owe it everything. We all have 24hrs irrespective of time zone I am not a duplicate or photocopy.” – Mr. Michael Niyitegeka
- “As a business owner, you can not afford to simply let anyone sale or represent your business! They can cost you that life-changing client. This one time, two sales girls agitated by one lady’s unending questions in Kikuubo turned their backs to her, I offered to assist her, and a few hours later she had bought goods worth UGX 96million from me.” – Mr. Robert Kasibante
I hope you get to attend the next URA Open Minds Forum. If you did attend this one, well do it again. It is worth it!