· 1 year ago

Julius Muwonge: What Being a Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program Fellow Means to Ugandan Startups

Ugandan Entreprenuers Julius Muwonge and Benjamin Rukwengye at 2017 Tony Elumelu Foundation Conference

Julius Muwonge (Right) Founder of YoHomu, With Benjamin Rukwengye a fellow Ugandan at the forum

The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme is the flagship entrepreneurship programme of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, founded by the entrepreneur, respected investor, and philanthropist Tony O. Elumelu.

In March 2017, the Tony Elumelu Foundation announced the selected 1,000 Tony Elumelu entrepreneurs for 2017. Out of which, 74 were Ugandans – representing 7.4% of the selected candidates. Making it the country with the highest representation after Nigeria – 509.

Out of the entrepreneurs that represented Uganda in Lagos this year was Julius Muwonge, the founder of a Ugandan startup YoHomu – an online supermarket. He walked us through about what being a Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneur Program fellow.

Startup Digest Africa: What does being a part of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program mean to you? And what does it mean for your startup?

Julius Muwonge: The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship program is a pan African platform with the biggest network of entrepreneurs on the Continent. This gives me the opportunity to learn from others across the Continent. Secondly, as YoHomu its an opportunity to benchmark on similar business models across the continent.

What is your biggest takeaway from the conference?
Interacting with fellow entrepreneurs on the Continent that go through the same challenges I encounter every day and so resilient to make their business success. This gave me hope and rejuvenated my spirit of perseverance.
Julius Muwonge with Vir Parminder CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation

Why should a startup founder in Uganda apply for the program?
The 12-week online course is worth giving a shot, given it simplifies all the global business jargons. As a business head, it exposes you to the 360 sphere of business; marketing, sales, finance, and innovation.

Also read: Meet Manuela Pacutho: The Founder of The Cradle and a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow

What do you think the program can do to serve the entrepreneurs better?
A lot of it improvement is needed on the mentorship. Many mentors didn’t come through.

What are you planning to use the $5,000?
Expanding on our delivery structure.

Having interacted with fellow African Startup founders and entrepreneurs from other countries at the conference, what are they doing differently?

A few I interacted with are building continental businesses. We should think similar for the sustainability and scalability of our businesses. Kampala is a small market for all of us.

Having attended several fellowships and accelerators programs, what is different and unique about the Tony Elumelu Foundation?
This is my second fellowship to attend, haven’t yet participated in any accelerator program as yet. However, the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship programme vision of Africapitalism (African solutions from native entrepreneurs) makes the entire program outstanding.