Gulu AwardMany say that “life is a gamble”, but ever since we joined Gulu University to study for a Bachelor of science in Agri-entrepreneurship and Communications Management, our perspectives of life has since changed said Nakwasa Robinson at student and the General Manager of their Initiative Nana fruit salads.

The Entrepreneurship training program at the faculty of Agriculture and Environment has accorded us a chance to face the world on our own. Under the program, we underwent intensive business plan training, sketching, editing and scrutiny under the guidance and mentorship of university staff.

Nana fruit salads enterprise is an initiative by three students. The business started operating in July 2018. The experience of running a business enterprise has been enormous for us as students. Moving out of our comfort zones, we took a decision to participate in a business pitching competition organised by the Faculty of Agriculture and environment to promote entrepreneurship amongst Gulu University students.

In a group of three, we were presented with an opportunity to pitch our business ideas, the plans were vetted for economic, technical, social and financial feasibility before being funded by the Agribusiness incubation project at the university. Nana fruit Salads enterprise emerged winners, with a prize money of 200,000 Uganda Shillings (USD 54) awarded to us. Having tasted the fruits of engaging in business, Nana Fruits salad enterprises participated in a business plan competition organised by CEED Uganda. After undergoing interviews, a four day business training and a business pitching, we emerged as the first runners up, for which we were awarded a 2,000,000 Uganda Shillings ((USD 540)) by CEED-Uganda.

For instance, the deviation between the approved business plan and the actual business implementation/ground works was almost 70%. Consequently, we had to blend in with reality, adjust and flow dance to that rhythm. In the process of business implementation, Nana fruit salads enterprise mentored three community youths; two ladies and a gentleman who had taken interest in learning the tricks involved in the fruit salads business. The youth were trained in marketing skills, human resource management and quality control.

There has been no greater achievement that we have attained at the Gulu University than the student enterprise program. Although reality will hit us upon completing university training, hitting it back in the face with our skills, experiences, accrued networks is the best weapon to face the world.

For offering us this opportunity we are grateful to our mentors, particularly Dr. Odongo Walter and Mr. Daniel Okello; and the Faculty of agriculture and environment, Gulu University. We Also thank the mastercard foundation and the RUFORUM for proving funding targeting skilled youth but from disadvantaged backgrounds. We are because you have willed it into being, we pray that others after us may take even greater strides to exploring the different sides to life.

By Nakwasa Robinson a student beneficiary of MasterCard Foundation funding, studying at Gulu University, undertaking a Bachelor of science degree in agri-entrepreneurship and Communications Management and the General Manager of Nana Fruits Salads.

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