By Asenath Were
According to Joseph P. Kennedy “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”
Some of the students at Uganda Christian University (UCU) are trying to find means of survival. The students are embracing entrepreneurship in order to survival in a harsh economy. The students are choosing to start small. The zealous students are selling sweets among their fellow students.
Zipporah Faith Asiimwe, pursuing bachelor’s of mass communication in year 2 (BAMC-2) is one of the many carrying out the famous sweet business.
Asiimwe started the business towards the end of her first year and that was around March 2021 when the going got tough. Part of her tuition had not been paid, had no upkeep and her hostel fees were also lacking hence starting up the business to meet some of these needs.
“I started in my first year towards the end of the semester after my friend Pamela Elizabeth Nabwire told me we should start that business of sweets. She inspired me and even gave me the capital to start.” Asiimwe said.
She carries out the business with the help of two of her friends, Pamela and Beatrice Aguti Otwili, also a second-year student of mass communication.
When she buys the box of sweets, she splits it into two, gives one half to Pamela to help her sell from her class then the other half she sells in class with the help of Beatrice who also drops some of her own into the tin.
According to Asiimwe, she chose the business of sweets because it was the easiest at the time and it was very convenient.
“I was in a financial crisis, I needed some upkeep, clear my hostel fees but also it was the easiest thing to do, convenient and people generally love sweets so I gave it a try,” She said.
However, it is not always a bed of roses for Asiimwe, this year when she went to buy the sweets, she found that prices had been hiked. The sweets she always gets at Ug.sh. 17,000 are now at Ug.sh. 23,000 while the one she used to get at Ug. Sh. 23,000 is now at Ug.sh. 40,000 which somehow lessens the profits for her.
On some occasions she may run out of stock yet the demand is high and cannot get the sweets from Mukono because they are so expensive, she may end up not making any profits if she buys from Mukono town.
Asiimwe gave some advice to students such as herself to stop degrading jobs because the only thing that can save them right now is money.
“The problem we have is students degrading jobs and my advice would be to stop doing so. In case a friend gives you an idea, start it up for the only thing to save you now is money and get friends who can help you in times of need just like Pamela did for me,” Asiimwe said.
Dickson Turyasingura, a student pursuing bachelor’s of social work in year one is another student selling sweets for survival.
Turyasingura is under sponsorship and is a resident therefore, his tuition and accommodation are paid for however, feeding and all other necessities are on him hence selling sweets to help him meet these needs.
He started the business in the middle of his first semester after seeing someone else at school who was mainly investing and selling lollipops, he therefore got the idea of starting up his own sweets business but different types.
Turyasingura said that from morning to lunch time he sells chocolates and biscuits then from lunchtime to evening he sells hard sweets plus chewing gum. “On a good day, I make a profit of Ug.sh. 5000-10000 which I use for my upkeep and keep saving off some for a bigger plan.” Turyasingura said.
According to Turyasingura, he has other bigger plans in his third year and is diligently saving up so that he can start up a boutique in the near future.
“I had planned to begin something big when I joined campus but because of the busy school schedule I couldn’t but hope to do so in third year,” He said.
Just like most of the businesses, the students’ sweet selling businesses have many challenges. The students in sweet business are facing a problem of debtors who do not want to pay for the sweets they take on credit. The students are also grappling with the rising prices of commodities in the country.