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Nakassi Nuulu: Empowered to Diversify for a Better Life

My name is Nakassi Nuulu, an entrepreneur in Nakawa market who sells matooke, cassava, sweet potatoes and pumpkins. I have been in the market for 33 years. I joined the market with the major goal of providing for my family and paying school fees for my 8 children. Although this dream is being achieved, I have been able to surpass it due to the business and financial literacy skills training I received from Institute for Social Transformation with support from UN Women.

PHOTO: Nakassi prepares to pack sweet potatoes for a customer at her stall in Nakawa Market

I had only one stall in the market where I used to sell only one item – Cassava. The business was not moving well as I had accumulated a lot of debts especially in the operation costs of running the business especially the transportation of items from the village to the market. I was struggling to balance the money for the business and basic needs and challenges with record keeping. There was no clear leadership structure for their department in the market.

In 2017, I was approached by a colleague to attend a business training at St. Jude Church in Naguru.

In the training, I acquired skills in record keeping to be able to track the profits, losses and expenditure of the business. The idea of business diversification where one can deal in selling of more than one product was well explained with its magic wins. I mastered the art of networking and building mutually beneficial relationships amongst ourselves as business people and above all, it was encouraged to always save money and reward our efforts by paying ourselves a salary.

To say the least, this training transformed my life and opened my eyes for bigger money-making opportunities.

After the training, we created a savings group where each group member was saving 1,000 shillings per day. In 2018, the group transformed into a cooperative called Nakawa Market Women Cooperative, Savings and Credit Society Limited where each group member saves 10,000 shillings per week.

After saving in the group for a year, I was able to borrow money from the group at a favorable interest rate and I used this loan to open another stall in Nakawa market. Diversification, as learnt in the training was put to practice because I brought other products on board and these were; sweet potatoes, matooke and pumpkins. I employed a woman to work on the second stall. Diversifying the business and venturing into other products has boosted my income and capital from 5,000,000 shillings to 30,000,000 shillings for the past 3 years.

On the leadership front, the members in the cassava zone elected me as their Chairperson and I accepted to represent them on the market committee.

One of the challenges I face as a seller of matooke, cassava and sweet potatoes is the transportation of these goods from the villages to the market. Since my business had expanded, I approached a car bond in Nakawa to explore the possibility of purchasing my own FUSO truck to ease transportation. After identifying the truck in June 2019, I gave the car bond a payment plan where I pay 2,700,000 shillings monthly for it. The payment of the FUSO truck which has registration number UBF251P will be completed after 6 months. I have already cleared 16,000,000 shillings which is half of the money. This has eased my business operations as the goods arrive on time and I am directly in touch with my suppliers in the villages.

PHOTO: Nuulu’s FUSO truck for transportation of goods sets off for the villages where she picks the sweet potatoes and bananas to sell in the market

I have constructed 14 lodging rooms well-furnished in Kireka-Kiganda. I am yet to furnish the rooms with beds, mattresses, bed sheets and towels to start off the business. My plan is to hire out the establishment to another person who will be paying me 100,000 shillings per day.

PHOTO: Nuulu inspecting the well-built lodging rooms located in Kiganda where she hopes to begin making extra income after furnishing them with beds, mattresses and bedsheets

I have plans of constructing rentals on a 100ft x 100ft plot of land located in Muyenje Buloba near Nabagereka’s School. I hope to construct houses for rent on the piece of land.

I am also looking forward to exploring the use of the Market Garden App as a business opportunity to bring more customers and grow the business.