By Rachel Kobusinge
Like most students, when schools closed because of COVID-19, I returned home and started engaging in small income generating projects, including running a small vegetable farm and shop.
Because I live within a trading centre however, and with limited access to land, it was not possible for me to scale the agricultural project and make it commercially viable. So, I decided to concentrate on the shop. Being a student of agri-entrepreneurship at Gulu University, I had already set up a small business near the university even before COVID-19 happened. Although the business was closed when the government announced a total lockdown of the country, it resumed operations after some of the restrictions were eased. Being fully engaged now in the running of the business has provided me with the experience and knowledge on how to succeed and the challenges that I need to overcome. This is something I wouldn’t have known since I had given the responsibility of running the business to someone else as I concentrated on school.
I have now been able to discover the points of weaknesses that the business faces, and how to manage finances effectively.
Aside from running the shop, I also undertook an online course called Fundamentals of Digital Marketing.
The course covered a range of issues, including how to leverage the power of the internet to grow your business, display advertising and how to compete effectively in the market place.
These courses have enhanced my skills to effectively position my business online in order to attract more customers.
However, despite the successes that I have registered, there have also been challenges. Since mine is a business where face-to-face interaction is inevitable, there was the fear of catching COVID-19 in the process of running the business. But I have ensured that I adhere to the SOPS issued by Ministry of Health at all times.
RUFORUM has also been able to provide us with enough internet data, which has made running my business online easier.