We featured Andrew Mupunya on last weeks inspiration, but just for those who did not get a chance to see him featured on the page, we placed him on our interviews and blog category. Read his story and get motivation.
In 2008 the Ugandan government announced that it was considering a ban on the use of polythene plastic bags. Andrew Mupunya, only 16 years old at the time, visualized an opportunity in paper bag production. He was still in high school, and his parents, who were both unemployed, were experiencing great difficulty in paying Mupuya’s school fees.
With his savings and small monetary gifts from family and friends, Andrew was able to raise 36,000 Ugandan Shillings ($18) in startup capital- money he used to start making paper bags on a small scale. In 2010 Andrew registered his company, Youth Entrepreneurial Link Investments (YELI), which is now the first local registered paper bag and envelope-producing company in Uganda. The business has grown significantly, and today it employs 14 Ugandans, including a 53 year-old father of eight. YELI supplies paper bags and envelopes to local hospitals, small scale retail outlets, roadside sellers and local flour manufacturers. Within four years of its launch, YELI has produced more than half a million paper bags. From the company’s revenues, Mupuya has been able to pay for his business bachelor’s degree at the prestigious Makerere University of Uganda, support his family and financially support his 14 staff and their families.
But even more importantly, the young entrepreneur has given back. Through YELI’s social responsibility initiative, Andrew has trained over 500 Ugandans on how to make paper bags. Through this initiative, 16 other smaller paper bag making operations have been established. Andrew plans to employ at least 60 people by 2015 and is gearing up to set up a paper bag making plant.
Andrew was the grand prize winner of the 2012 Anzisha Awards, an award which came with $30,000 in prize money. According to organizers of the Anzisha Prize, Andrew plans to expand his production capability and also build a paper recycling operation.
photos courtesy of Forbes.com