As many as 50 youths have benefitted from Kiyemba’s startup.
KAMPALA - Joseph Kiyemba is an electronics technician that does radio and TV servicing. The 36-year-old started a workshop from where he trains youth, including school dropouts and those who have studied other disciplines.
At the Kyebando-based workshop, the young people are skilled in electronics repair, electronics circuit designing and single-phase electrical installation. It is a one-year training course, and the hope is that participants will leave with the necessary tools to create their own jobs.
As many as 50 youths have benefitted from Kiyemba's startup.
He himself had thought he would land a big job after graduating in radio and TV servicing at Mengo School of Science 17 years ago. It was far from the reality.
After four futile years of hunting for employment, Kiyemba's turning point arrived when he met an old schoolmate. Kelly Jingo, too, was jobless - but after a brief engagement between the two OBs, he introduced the idea of starting a workshop.
Missing in the equation, however, was money.
Fortunately, Jingo's elder sister gave him sh300,000, which they used as startup capital for their business.
"We used all the money to pay rent for three months for a small room on Yamaha building along Luwum street for our workshop we named HiTech," says Kiyemba.
"Luckily enough we had some equipment we had used during college to start the business."
The beginning was encouraging, as the number of clients who checked in to have their radio and TVs repaired was "overwhelming".
"Through those clients, we got students who wanted us to train them in electronics repairing."
Kiyemba started his own business in his garage. (Credit: Jovita Mirembe)
Kiyemba and Jingo worked together for three years, during which the former was not investing in the business he had not made enough money yet.
Later, he started pulling his weight by paying rent and buying equipment.
In 2014, using part of the money he had saved as profit, Kiyemba enrolled at Lugogo Vocational Training Institute in Kampala for a certificate in radio and television servicing.
At the time, Mentor Coach Empower Uganda, a social enterprise, introduced their programmes to the institute in the form of a course. Being optional, Kiyemba decided to join it. Here, they were trained in book keeping, investments, starting a business with limited finances and growing a business.
He passed the one-year course.
Starting own workshop
Kiyemba hopes that his business grows. (Credit: Jovita Mirembe)
Meanwhile, Kiyemba has his sights set on growth. And to get there, more investment is required.
"I need more capital to invest in this business, which I think will be achieved if I got more clients and students to train.
Kiyemba hopes to establish a technical school equipped with a laboratory for practical and research work in electronics. For that, he has set himself a target of ten years from now.
"I believe that even Senior Four leavers, like me, especially those who did chemistry, mathematics and physics, can do this course without difficulty and then become self-employed instead searching for jobs.
"As the business grows, I hope to employ more manpower to so that I can take on larger projects," he says.
He also plans to register his company next year. "For now, I don't issue certificates to the students I train because my company is not registered."
Kiyemba, who is now doing an advanced certificate in radio and TV servicing, plans to start giving his employees a basic salary so as to streamline the business.
But on top of his work and studies, Kiyemba is a family man. He has a wife and three children.
He advises fellow budding entrepreneurs not to despise "small beginnings".
"Rather than wallow in self-pity because you do not have enough capital, start with what you have."