One does not need money to start a business. It all starts in the mind. That is what Mathias Tumwijukye assures everyone.
In Early 2011, while working at Vision Group, Tumwijukye decided to employ himself.
“I got the Vision Group job when I was still studying Electrical Engineering at Kyambogo University. But when I completed and having worked for more than 10 years, I requested for a promotion and a salary increment which was turned down by the company.
“I left and decided to look for a job in my area of qualification,” says Tumwijukye.
He says that when he left, it gave birth to his company Safety-Link to employ himself.
Because while at Vision Group, he used to work at night or in the evening shift, he used the morning hours to scout for business.
“I printed business cards and started moving around town looking for clients. Remember I had no company, no operating capital, no equipment, and no physical office in place, I just had the idea in my head,” stresses Tumwijukye.
He faced a challenge of people not willing to deal with him because he lacked a registered company and people were only willing to deal with companies, not individuals.
“People were asking me. Where is your company located? I couldn’t give them a broad answer hence losing out on potential clients,” he recalls.
“Luck fell on me when I got a contract to work on a razor wire fence valued at UGX1.6 million. Because I had no technical expertise, I got people to work on it and then I earned a commission,” recounted Tumwijukye.
It was the routine when again luck fell by my side when I landed on a contract to construct a house in Makindye and the Danish Refugee Council. I used to get contracts then get experts to do the work.
“I had to first register the company before I could get a chequebook but I was fortunate it took me a few days and I earned UGX1.5 million from those jobs,” he said.
From that money, Tumwijukye says he was able to rent his first office space in Nsambya, a city suburb in 2013.
For the nature of his job that runs on contracts, once there are no contracts coming in, work comes to a standstill and money is hard to come by.
That’s what Tumwijuke realized when after several months without a contract; he could no longer afford to pay rent for the office space he had rented.
“So I carried my office equipment home and started to look for jobs afresh,” he says noting that along the way he realized that it was hard when operating alone.
“If you are stuck, you are stuck alone and you are finished. But in a partnership, your partner can come in and rescue the company,” he notes.
He went to partner with someone else and the company was revived and relocated to Namasuba, along Entebbe Road where the new office is located.
Tumwijukye says he feels he has achieved a lot because he was able to register the company formally and it is now in full operation. He has also provided employment to about 6 Ugandans.
“If I am able to provide employment to someone, I have achieved something. We are 2 directors, 3 technical people and one secretary.”
He has running capital of about UGX10 million that is able to sustain daily operations of the company and is able to look after his family and support a few relatives financially.
Tumwijukye says success in the mind and he is working towards it. He says he is will feel a sense of success if, the company builds its own building which will house offices and a showroom among other things, employs more than 50 employees.
Is able to fly in products directly from their places of manufacture, grows the technical team from what it is today.
What it takes to start
For anyone trying to start a similar business or any other business, Tumwijukye says, “If you have a business idea in your mind, and you have the zeal, you have already started.
Capital just supplements the ideas, the only way is to start with or without capital, have the courage, do not fear challenges, persistence is key; do not give up if you fail, keep going.
Safety Link provides and installs: Live Electrical Fencing Systems, Razor wires, Alarm systems, Closed-circuit television (CCTV), Access control, Gate automation, Fire detection systems, Fire extinguishers, Car shades, Intercom systems, and Air Conditioning systems, among other modern security systems.
BY EDNA K MWESIGYE