Many people have a lot of money but do not know what to use it on, yet they would like to make some profits off it as well as getting a satisfaction that comes from setting up a successful enterprise.
For any business to prosper there should be an entrepreneur with a robust business plan detailing market research and competitor analysis and a good knowledge of the market. And that’s when Jimmy Kwoba comes in; to help would be investors put their money into proper use by selling them already standing lucrative businesses.
Born 35 years ago, Kwoba is a university dropout skilled at Information Technology (IT). After dropping out of university in his second year, Kwoba says he started his own business with a strong urge to make money.
But before, he had worked for several IT companies including True African, SMS Empire among others.
Around 2008, Kwoba started his own company known as SMS Channel that used to send short messages to customers, partners, or employees.
“By that time the SMS business was booming in Uganda and the companies used to make millions of money monthly unfortunately the investment did not last for long after Uganda Communications Commission [UCC] interfered.”
“I was also the pioneer of the first e-commerce business in Uganda, it was called Shopping Uganda.”
Cutting teeth into real estate business;
Kwoba reveals that he was disappointed with his SMS business since he had invested in a lot but ended up in losses.
“We were so unlucky that for the first six months in business, UCC banned all SMS companies so I lost morale for IT things and I was like let me give it a break.
“As a businessman you have to move faster because this world is so fast if you stick in one place and get stagnant, everything will go, that is why most businessmen are diversifying a lot. Look at Uganda’s richest man Dr Sudhir Ruparelia, he is the richest because he didn’t put all his eggs in one basket.
If Sudhir had only Crane Bank, he would be poor by now but what saved him is that he has diversified all his wealth into different ventures.”
Kwoba says that after undergoing such a bad experience, he decided to join the real estate business after being inspired by youthful billionaire, Hamis Kiggundu popularly known as Ham.
“I was so blessed to work with Ham at his office at Ham Towers in Makerere. My office was within his office. I saw how he was conducting his real estate business and I learnt a lot from him.”
“He had a hotel [Ham Suites] on Ham Towers, I looked at how I could add value to his businesses and here I used to get him clients and he would give me commission and a lot of commission. About 80 per cent of the clients for his hotel used to come from me.”
After settling in comfortably, Kwoba chose to start his own property business. Between 2015-2016, he opened up a company under the name Kampala Suites.
“I was making a lot of money yet it was not mine so I was like why can’t I make mine. I looked at people who have buildings around. I talked to my friend Rajiv Ruparelia who told me about a building they were building at the time [Crane Plaza, Kisementi], I inspected it and rented all the apartments on it. Later I fully furnished them and that was four years ago.”
So far he owns more than 50 apartments.
“I create these and then sell them as a business because people right now are buying businesses they are tired of buying houses, they need things that can generate profits. Some people in offices are a bit comfortable with their salaries so am helping them to have a side hustle.”
“Many people are not entrepreneurs but if you direct them they could be able to invest and have successful businesses. So I looked at that gap and I decided to start creating small companies, I register them and they start working. In turn I sell them to people.”
On the other hand, Kwoba is also into construction under his Kosh Construction company. He builds low income earner houses which he puts on market. These houses range from Sh45 million and beyond.
“I built an estate in Nansana and people are seriously buying them especially those who work from United Arabs Emirates (UAE). People in the diaspora are tired of being swindled by their relatives/friends so they buy already built houses to avoid such issues.”
“I travel to Dubai a lot so I get to meet these people about my business and surprisingly they have trusted me and they buy them.”
Besides owning a real estate business, Kwoba also has a string of businesses that include Sarafina Tours and Travels, Vira Africa; a digital marketing and events company, and Beba Express that deals in deliveries.
His business chain is run by about 25 employees who help him manage the day to day activities of the company.
When it comes to challenges, Kwoba says he always finds it difficult to find the right team to work with because most people are not trained, do not understand my ideas all they want is to make quick money.
He says he has embarked on mentoring more youth to become entrepreneurs.
“I am helping many youth and people to be job creators, not job seekers.” That’s another reason I start businesses and prove to them that it is working. I sell them already running businesses.”
Looking at the future
The enterprising businessman states that he wants to set up a five star hotel through his Kampala Suites.
“I’m in talks with a financing company that wants to partner with me to set up a five star hotel around Kisementi. So we are looking for a stable place in the area where we can set it up.”
What he considers before starting up a business;
“The biggest and the most biggest is the gap, I look at the gap and I’m like how can I solve this problem in my community or in this area for example why I put up furnished apartments is because most people especially foreigners when they come to Uganda they do not have where to sleep so I looked at that gap and I have not been let down because it has worked for me a lot.”
Kwoba attributes his success to his mentor Ronnie Nsubuga as well as Ham Kiggundu and Rajiv Ruparelia who have helped him a lot in his journey as a real estate entrepreneur.
He says the best thing he can do to give them back is himself mentoring more entrepreneurs like they have mentored him.