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The CEO 100

TREATING SMALL BUSINESSES: Dr. Innocent Nahabwe’s practical guide on how to handle partnerships, money, people and competition for entrepreneurs

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Dr. Innocent Nahabwe is best described as a jack of many trades, and perhaps, master of many of them. He is an all-round entrepreneur, marketing pundit, writer, veterinary doctor and father.

He recently outed a book, Treating Small Businesses- a smooth cocktail of how to handle partnerships, money, people, competition and marketing and how to remain sane in a crazy business environment.

CEO East Africa Magazine’s Muhereza Kyamutetera, sat him down both for insights from his book as well as from him experience running small businesses.  


Describe Innocent Nahabwe for us.

I am many things. I am a human, 38 would make me middle age, male. I am a veterinary Doctor by training who has ventured into Marketing (I hold an MSc Marketing from Makerere University). I am businessman, media practitioner who has made attempts at writing.

I am a father and son. In short, I am a hustler struggling to stay afloat.

What inspired you to write your book, Treating Small Businesses?

I realised that whereas everyone aspires to have big business, most of us will realistically only do small business. Access to capital; the issues with the stock exchange that keep out small business from the Stock exchange hence denying them capital, lack of accessible investment banks or firms continues to limit how far most entrepreneurs will go.

Uganda has been listed among the most entrepreneurial countries but most entrepreneurs will remain small businesses and the bulk of these entrepreneurs are into the service sector – boutiques, saloons, bars, restaurants, cottage firms etc. Most of these start and fail before their first anniversary causing lots of frustration to budding entrepreneurs and those after them.

I have been lucky to run and sustain several small businesses and it was my hope and desire to share the little information I have with fellow small business owners.

This inspired the book.

Why should anyone want to read or buy the book?

The book serves two purposes. One, it shares my experiences told in a humorous manner that most people will relate to. I am within the age bracket of most of the targeted readers. I go through their challenges. I lose some, win some and share honestly my experiences. It’s best to buy the book and learn from my mistakes than learn from your own. Books I have read have helped shape my approach towards business and I share honestly and in detail.

TREATING SMALL BUSINESSES is Dr. Innocent Nahabwe’s practical story on how to handle partnerships, money, people and competition in a crazy business environment

Also, I share my lessons and insights on what makes or breaks business. For anyone trying to do business, this is important for them.

What would you say are the top 5 pieces of advice from the book?

I don’t want to pre-empt the book but I share about how to handle staff, how to handle money, how to handle competition, how to market and how to remain sane in this crazy business environment.

Based on your experience- what would you say are the top 5 mistakes small businesses make?

  1. Most people want instant success: Business grows slowly. Even Apple started in a garage many years ago. Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia and others have taken 30 or so years in the game. We can’t want to live like them in 2 years. We will kill the business.
  2. Most people mix business money and their own money: The business is an extension of their pockets. This makes accounting hard and most of us kill our businesses ourselves by being bad parasites. We become cannibals.
  3. Lack of book keeping: Most people have shops and don’t know the value of the stock they have. Money comes in and goes based on intuition. Stocking is done based on requests. In the book, I suggest simple mathematics (Primary 4 mathematics is enough) with a simple equation to use to track performance, and have proper records. It is a must for every business to have proper records and track performance.
  4. Not giving business enough time: Most people have business as their side hustle. We keep our jobs and hope business will grow on its own. Just like a baby, I explain in the book how to look at your business and create more time within the regular day and get the best out of the business. You can’t invest in a business and let it be a by the way.
  5. Mixing emotions and business: Many of us get emotional. We look at business as our baby. We do what we love. We do business for us and not the customer. Even when it fails, we stick with it and it sucks us dry. We need to understand that business is business. It is about money- treat it as business; principally for money.
TREATING SMALL BUSINESSES will be launched on 12th July 2019, at Kingdom Kampala Mall, at 6pm.

Don’t mix family, relatives, friends in the business. Debts must be paid. It must make money. If it fails to work, regardless of how much you love it, let it go. If you get a good offer that makes business sense, sell. Don’t be attached.

More, I share in the book.

Given your experience, would you say government has been helpful to small businesses?

I think so.

There are still many challenges but there have been improvements in power, infrastructure, and government systems such as Uganda Revenue Authority (URA). You can now handle your own taxes easily. However, a lot more can be done. We need more skills. We need centralised marketing. I think cooperatives that allow small holder firms to trade together like Coffee Marketing Board , Lint Marketing Board etc. can help farmers manage quality, work on prices, take advantage of economies of scale, bargain for supplies, access extension services and expertise, buy similar equipment for ease of repair, have strategic partnerships which would make it easier.

The book is selling on Jumia  at a special price of UGX35,000

If you were appointed the minister of finance today or if you became president what are some of the things you would do to help small businesses?

I fear politics.

I would probably give one look at providing advisory roles. I would organise all industries into cooperatives. We would zone businesses so that particular areas produce particular products. That helps in corroboration and government support. If Coffee was from Masaka and Mbale, focus would be easier. Then milk from Mbarara, millet from Soroti and may be rice from the Eastern region. This would help support farmers and small industries with market, storage, extension services etc. As of now, everything is everywhere.

Considering that most people are into agriculture, most support would go to value addition and agricultural processing followed by aggressive marketing. We have a competitive advantage as well as comparative advantage here. All year good weather, multiple seasons, fertile soils, central location within the region, a vast hinterland. All these would help make us a food basket mostly for organic food.

What next, after this book? Are we going to see another book soon?

Yes, I am working on another book. We are also going to do a small business clinic, a multimedia platform for helping small businesses. We will have small business master classes and work towards spreading this gospel of growing small business in as many places as possible.

About the Author

Dr. Innocent Nahabwe is a serial entrepreneur and a man of many firsts as well. He is CEO and founder to Kagwirawo, Uganda’s first online sports betting company; Bluecube, a leading mobile solutions company before SMS business became commonplace and Howwe.biz, the No.1 music streaming and showbiz platform, as well as Club Amnesia a popular city nightspot.  
He is also CEO of 100.2 Galaxy FM – a Pioneer urban Youth Luganda station that he founded in 2013, but had by its 5th anniversary risen to an award winning station and amongst the top 5 radio stations in its category.  
He also holds an MBA (Marketing) from Makerere University.  

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The CEO 100

Meet Paddy Muramiirah, the man spearheading Crown Beverages’ aggressive comeback

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Muramiirah has grown Pepsi's turnover in Uganda by 52% from UGX228.7bn in 2016 to UGX347.9 billion at the end of 2018. During his time, profit has grown by 222% from UGX9.1 billion to UGX29.3 billion. He has reduced the sales gap between Pepsi and Coca Cola from a historic high of UGX154.7 billion in 2016 to UGX78.8 billion

Engineers; Mechanical Engineers at that, rarely make it to the top leadership levels, unless of course it is an engineering firm.

For brands in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) categories such as soft drinks or alcohol where the flamboyance and exuberance of the brands is one and the same with that of the brand guardians, the top jobs have often been reserved for marketers and sales people and every once in a while, CEOs with a finance background.

Not that there is anything wrong with the Engineers, but somehow, since the marketers are already customer facing, it is easy to keep it that way. In fact one, can in Jesus’ speak say, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for an engineer to become a star-performing CEO of an FMCG brand.

Such was the mythical pessimism that greeted Crown Beverages’ Paddy Muramiirah, when he was appointed Chief Executive Officer in November 2016.

Muramiirah has grown Pepsi’s turnover in Uganda by 52% from UGX228.7bn in 2016 to UGX347.9 billion at the end of 2018.

But Amos Nzeyi, the Executive Chairman and one of the company’s shareholders, knew better. While announcing Muramiirah’s appointment then, he said, that he had emerged the best from a number of applicants because of his “his leadership, immense experience and knowledge” in the carbonated soft drinks industry as well as his “strong track record.”

“Mr. Muramiirah has demonstrated throughout his career the ability to work successfully, designing and leading strategies which resulted in impressive value creation. And given his credentials, I am certain he will make a significant contribution to the role and create the next chapter of CBL’s story of success; Mr. Nzeyi said.

Crown Beverages is 100% Ugandan owned. Its range of carbonated soft drinks includes: Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Mirinda Fruity, Mirinda Orange, Mirinda Pineapple, Mirinda Green Apple, 7UP, Evervess Tonic and Nivana Water in four variants namely; Tangerine, Strawberry, still and sparkling. The products are available in returnable glass bottles and plastic/PET bottles

Creating value and the next chapter of CBL’s story of success

Muramiirah, a Mechanical Engineer by training, joined CBL in 2005 as the head of operations and rose through the ranks. He has also overseen the company’s aggressive production expansion throughout the years.

At the time Muramiirah becme CEO, CBL was year in, year out, losing ground to their archrivals, Century Bottling Company Limited the bottlers of Coca Cola. For example between 2013 and 2016, while Crown Beverages’  Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in sales turnover was 4%, Century Bottling was growing at an average 6%, thus widening the space and share of wallet gaps between the 2 cola archrivals who between them control an estimate 80% of the soda market in Uganda.

The confidence of a star-performing CEO

In 2013, while Century Bottling sold UGX302 billion worth of drinks, Crown Beverages sold UGX195.4 billion- a variance of UGX106.6 billion. Century made a UGX13 billion profit, while Crown made UGX15.4 billion. In 2014, the sales turnover gap widened to UGX115.1 billion, as Century sold UGX346.4 billion and Crown Beverages UGX231.3 billion. Both companies made UGX7.3bn in profit. 

(Left-Right): CBL CEO, PAddy Muramiirah, FInance State Minister, David Bahati and CBL CEO, Amos Nzeyi display the award

In 2015, Century sold UGX384.3bn while Crown turned over UGX240 billion- widening the market share gap by UGX144.3 billion. That year Crown made a trifle UGX 100 million in profit, while Century made a handsome UGX20.2 billion in net revenue- their highest in recent history, if not the highest ever!

In 2016, the year Muramiirah was appointed CEO, both companies slowed down in turnover- Century by .23% to UGX383.4 billion and Crown Beverages by 4.7% to UGX228.7- creating an even wider gap between the two companies’ sales turnover of UGX154.7 billion- the highest ever in the companies’ history in Uganda.

Crown however made a profit of UGX9.11 billion and Century UGX2.5bn.

Under Paddy Muramiirah, profit has grown by 222% from UGX9.1 billion to UGX29.3 billion.

Within the first few weeks on the job, Muramiirah oversaw the company’s biggest shakeup, letting go of several senior managers and went on to shock naysayers, by making a 28% come back in 2017 sales turnover to UGX291.8 billion while Coca Cola’s only grew 3% from UGX383.4 billion to UGX394.5- reducing the gap between the 2 companies from UGX154.7bn to UGX 102.7bn- the lowest in 5 years.

Profit also grew by 69% from UGX9.1bn to UGX15.4 billion. Coca Cola on the other hand had profits turn to losses- from a profit of UGX2.5bn in 2016 to a loss of UGX800 million.

2018 saw yet another good year for Crown Beverages- a 19% growth in turnover, from UGX291.8 billion in 2017 to UGX347.9 billion. Century on the other hand grew by 8% from UGX394.5bn to UGX426.7bn and as a result the gap between the 2 rivals further shrunk, this time to UGX78.8bn- a historic low in over 5 years.

Crown Beverages also had, their most profitable year to date- UGX29.3 billion in profit, up 90.3% from the previous year.

The smile of a champion

Thanks to this great performance, in June, 2019, the company won the PepsiCo Europe and Sub-Saharan African (ESSA) Bottler of the Year 2018 award. The company was also named the 1st Runner Up for the global PepsiCo Bottler of the Year award, beating over 200 other PepsiCo bottlers from all over the world.   

Speaking at the ceremony to mark the milestones, Mr. Amos Nzeyi, the Chairman CBL commended the company’s customers, staff, shareholders, partners and the government for their contribution to the success.  

“The journey has just started,” Mr. Nzeyi notified whoever cared to listen.

About Crown Beverages

Crown Beverages’ is a franchisee bottler for PepsiCo Inc. in Uganda that bottles a range of carbonated soft drinks that include: Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Mirinda Fruity, Mirinda Orange, Mirinda Pineapple, Mirinda Green Apple, 7UP and Evervess Tonic. The products are available in returnable glass bottles and plastic/PET bottles.

They also bottle Nivana water in four variants namely; Tangerine, Strawberry, Still and Sparkling.

The company is 100% Ugandan owned; by Amos Nzeyi, Chris Kayoboke and Prof Maggie Kigozi, who in 1997 bought a 51% stake from South Africa’s International Pepsi-Cola Bottler Investments and in  2001, acquired the remaining 49%.

The shareholders have since invested over $200 million (Ugx740 billion) in the business to date, creating the company into one of Uganda’s top 20 taxpayers. According to Muramiirah in a recent media interview, the company has between 2013 and 2018 paid a total of UGX284 billion in taxes.

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The CEO 100

Orient Bank’s Julius Kakeeto to head Post Bank

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(R-L): Julius Kakeeto, MD of Orient Bank Limited together with Alhaj Kaddunabbi Ibrahim Lubega, CEO Insurance Regulatory Authority, Herbert Mukoza, General Manager IAA and Arjun Mallik, MD Prudential East Africa on July 24, officially unveil Medilife, a new medical and life insurance cover for Orient Bank customers. Kakeeto has spearheaded a number of innovation at Orient Bank, that have contributed to the bank’s stable growth and return to profitability.  

Julius Kakeeto, formerly Orient Bank Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, is set to head the troubled Post Bank, CEO East Africa Magazine has learnt.

Kakeeto is to replace troubled Managing Director, Steven Mukweli who is facing corruption charges at the Anti-Corruption Court. Mukweli along with 7 other senior officials at the government owned Post Bank were charged with abuse of office, causing financial loss and conspiracy to defraud their employer.

The officers are: Safina Wabuna, the Executive Director for Information and Communication Technology (ICT), David Mwesige, the Head of Information Technology, Augustine Kisitu, the Head of Business Technology and Emmanuel Mwaka, the Finance Manager. Also charged are: Alex Kayaayo (Executive Director for Credit and Business Growth), Fred Samuel Wasike (Head of Business Growth) and Gilbert Nuwamanya (Sales Manager).

CEO East Africa Magazine, understands that Kakeeto has already sent in this resignation at Orient Bank and a farewell message to staff and is serving his notice period.

A highly placed source at Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, under whose docket Post Bank falls, also confirmed to CEO East Africa Magazine that indeed Kakeeto is crossing over to Post Bank.

“Off the record, I can confirm that his name has been submitted to Bank of Uganda for approval,” said the source.

Section 54 of the Financial Institutions Act (2004) requires all bank board directors to undergo a fit and proper test, carried out by the Central Bank.

Who is Julius Kakeeto?

Little is known about the largely press-shy Kakeeto, but according to research done by this publication, he wields more than 19 years in banking.

Kakeeto turned around Orient Bank from a UGX13.3 billion loss in 2014, bring about 4 years of straight profits

The Alliance Manchester Business School (MBA, Finance) and Strathmore University (ACCA) alumni started his banking career at the Citi Group in London in September 2001 and rose to the VP Global Markets position in London before returning home as Finance Director at Equity Bank in September 2009, a role he did till May 2011 when he moved on to become Director of Business Development at Orient Bank. Betweeen October 2013 and July 2014, he briefly served as the Executive Director before being appointed substantive Managing Director in July 2014- a role he has served for 5 years and 2 months.

(L-R): Prof. Waswa Balunywa, Makerere University Business School Principal together with Mr. Julius Kakeeto, Orient Bank’s Managing Director at the launch of the 3rd annual Orient Business Academy aimed at equipping small Ugandan business owners with skills to enable them grow their businesses and ensure sustainability.

During his 5 years at the helm of Orient Bank, deposits grew by over 59% from the UGX388.1 billion he inherited to UGX618 billion by close of December 2018- a compounded annual growth rate of 10%. Lending grew by 147.5% over the 5 years from UGX135 billion in 2014 to UGX334.1 billion at end of 2018- an annual growth rate of 201%. Total bank asset book also grew by about 56% from UGX480.8 billion to UGX750 billion at end of 2019.

As a result he managed to turnaround the UGX13.3 billion losses he inherited in 2014, making a profit of UGX1.5 billion in 2015, UGX5.8 billion in 2016, UGX4.8 billion in 2017, closing 2018 with a UGX5.6 billion profit.

Little is known about his package at Post Bank but at Orient Bank, his monthly salary was a reported UGX44,580,000.

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The CEO 100

Geologist, Proscovia Nabbanja appointed as UNOC caretaker CEO

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Nabbanja, a geologist has been COO at UNOC and wields a combined 19-years’ experience in oil & gas. A Makerere university alumni, she holds an Msc (Petroleum Geoscience) and MBA both from the Imperial College Business School, London.

Proscovia Nabbanja, the Chief Operating Officer at the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) has been appointed by the board as the interim caretaker CEO.

Wholly owned by the Government of Uganda, UNOC is a limited liability company whose prime purpose is to handle the Government of Uganda’s commercial interests in the petroleum sector and to ensure that the resource is exploited in a sustainable manner.

Nabbanja steps into the shoes of Dr. Josephine Wapakabulo who resigned in May this year over- what she said was the need to focus on family and pursue new opportunities.

Considered an insider, Nabbanja has been part of Uganda’s baby-steps in oil & gas and has matching education qualifications to match the job. Chances are that she will be confirmed as the substantive CEO

Some insiders however say although Dr. Wapakabulo was an engineer by background, with a PhD in Information Science from Loughborough University and a Global Executive MBA from the prestigious                

Institut Européen d’Administration des affaires (European Institute of Business Administration) INSEAD, she was seen by many of the oil & gas experts at UNOC, many of whom were part and parcel of oil & gas story and history, as an outsider and imposed upon them by president Museveni.

This resistance could have fast-tracked her self-ejection.  

Who is Nabbanja?

Nabbanja has been in the COO role at UNOC since November 2016.  

Before that, she served as a geologist at the Petroleum Exploration Development and Production (PEPD) of Ministry of Energy for 15 years, rising to the level of Principal Geologist, a role she held between April 2015 and October 2016.    

A holder of Bachelor of Science in Geology & Chemistry from Makerere University, Nabbanja also holds an Msc, Petroleum Geoscience from the Imperial College London as well as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Imperial College Business School.

She also holds a Diploma in Management of Petroleum Operations and Development from PETRAD Norway.

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