The second year Makerere University student of Science in population studies who identified a niche and started business. “I used to move every day to Mary Stuart or Wandegeya to look for food.”
Who is Zam?
Ok my name is Namuddu Zam a student of Makerere University. I am pursuing a degree in science in population studies at the school of statistics. Hmmm any way I come from a simple average family where my dad is married to only one woman my mother although we are Muslims. (She utters this looking straight into my eyes as though to make me believe her point) Am the second born of the children of my parents.
Which kind of business are you operating and when did you start your business?
I fry chips…. I started this sem (to mean semester) and I have been working for two weeks, this is the third week…. (Several people keep knocking at the closed door of her small room where she is flying the chips from. probably they have come to make orders)
With how much capital did you start the business?
I already had the electric machine with me. It was a gift from my boyfriend; he thought I would use it to dip fry fish for myself or chips. (She blushes) but I started with hundred thousand shilling to buy the other materials.
The birth of the business idea?
The entire idea of selling chips was still a suggestion by my boyfriend. Since I like many other girls, would move to different places just to look for food. Sometimes we would go to Wandegeya or Mary Stuart because Complex has no dining hall.
I had always dreamt of having a big business, very big and I remember telling my friends some time back however my boyfriend advised that I can start small.
Wow this is quite impressing. All those orders and calls how have you managed to get all these so many clients in such a short while?
(She smiles)Before I started, I moved door to door around the rooms at the extension blocks hmmm that is AA, BB and CC advertising what I was yet to do. They pledged their support to me…besides my chips are unique from the normal ones. (How do you make them unique? This time she is holding two cloves of garlic) first I wash the Irish in water spiced with ginger and garlic before frying them and that’s my recipe. (Am a good cook by the way a very good one. I can cook all dishes.) She adds.
Who are your most reliable customers and do you ever get clients who take the food on credit?
Students from the three extension blocks and a few from the main block. Honestly people block BB have been my regular customers…..
Do you do this the entire day or only in the evening?
At first my intention was to only work in the evening, but my customers requested that I also help them make at lunch as well. (So how then do you balance school and work?)…..True am a day student but my timetable is flexible and am the group leader of my group .I explained to my members they understood. I never miss out on any of the discussions….so I manage.
On an average day, how much do you make?
On a bad day I make twenty thousand shillings and on a good one, I make forty thousand shillings. I can get seven thousand on profits though I have never put my mind to calculating profits daily because it is a new business.
Which future plans do you hold at heart? Do you intend to make the business bigger than this or after campus you will give up on it.
I want to open up an account and start saving the profits .Time to come I will open up a kiosk around complex and employ someone to work in it. I also wish to start a restaurant .it has always been my dream….
What advice do you have for the young people out there who would wish to have their own business some day?
I have always wanted big businesses I can repeat this over and over but what I have learnt is start small, bigger things will come later. Business is like taking a risk of some sort. You are not sure what will happen. So my advice to the young people who are looking forward to self-employment is; start small, embrace those risks and things will work out.
Compiled by Kafuko Shamim