By Dr Innocent Nahabwe
While announcing the COVID-19 lockdown measures, President Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Kaguta Museveni said one of his fisher (wo)men, the Prime Minister, the amiable Robbinah Nabbanja, would organise something for the vulnerable.
So, as expected, Nabbanja swung into action and promised each vulnerable person would get Shs100,000. The Internet was awash with memes of how and what they will do with the money; my friend Jonathan, who always doesn’t like picking his phone, has now been picking just in case it was the chairman calling to confirm his name.
As fate would have it, only about 410,000 people are entitled to this COVID-19 cash. Yes! 410,000 out of 42 million+ in Uganda. If your hope was in Nabbanja, I have news (not the best) for you, forget it and start looking for alternatives.
COVID-19 has disrupted business across the world. Many are suffering but while this is the case, many have taken advantage of the situation and turned their life around. Jeff Bezos of Amazon made his most money during this period as most of the developed world had no option but to shop off Amazon during lock down. In Uganda, transport companies like Safe Boda transformed overnight into a courier only businesses while online shops such as Jumia and Glovo flourished.
So, unless you are an essential worker.. I mean a real one like Askari, medical worker, surgeon, ambulance driver, cop, LDU , (Dentists can wait), we have to work to make the best of the season. This COVID thing isn’t going away. Let’s not leave COVID money to only those in government who decide where the supplementary budget goes or those who know someone who knows someone that can supply (air)beans for cash. Let’s be Covid-prenuers; after all, where many see a challenge, an entrepreneur should see an opportunity.
First, Everyone is home or pretends to be. They have time. Their salaries are still coming or they had savings. Others had capital. You can choose to join the eaters or make some ka money.
Here are the 10 Businesses you can do with 1M during COVID;
1. A rolex/Chips/ Fish Stall: You see these were present at popular junctions in the middle of town or at popular streets with a watering hole but now, people have moved to residential areas. Most Estates don’t have a single one but now we have many residents walking, running or just lazying on the streets. Look for a convenient junction and set up. All you need are supplies, one assistant who knows how to make the chapati, eggs (its easy to learn off Youtube or volunteer for a day at the stall of another Rolex stall. You will be making beyond 30K a day if you do well. Add some extras like delivery, custom made items where someone can determine how their rolex should be made e.g one with some meat, others with Chilli etc
2. Laundry: Most people are home but have issues washing. Most bachelors were used to getting weekend visitors who left the house clean and ironed their clothes. It’s your time now. Put up posters at corners. Do fliers and collect laundry and wash it. You can also handle it home to home. Here you can hire some people to help. Soon, you can add machines and make the next Safe Boda but of laundry. This can extend to house cleaning , Car washing (our dusty streets will ensure its dirty all the time even when its not going out), gardening etc.
3. Food delivery: Some of us are gifted with cooking talent. The only person who has enjoyed your talent is your spouse or children. Let’s share that talent. Find a speciality and do some tasters and deliver to your neighbourhood with fliers. Soon the orders will come your way. A good boda boda man will do the deliveroess and you are game. This can scale into a big food business registered with Jumia food and safe boda food. To be unique, you can add some cool packaging, some speciality dishes e.g those of the regions etc
4. Home Saloon: Many fear saloons because of hygiene but also it looks like a good source of Corona. Many of us used to shave others in school. Some ladies know how to plait hair and work on nails. Time to make this a business.
5. Fruits and Food delivery: We are used to people with wheel barrows passing outside the gates shouting that they have passion fruits, water melon etc. Trust me , most corporates won’t buy from them. They think they are dirty. Get one wheel barrow guy to supply you, post in the estate or village WhatsApp group and deliver. Ask your customers to help endorse you among friends. This can be big.
6. BBQ: We love meat. We can’t afford to walk long distances to get it. Identify a good location in your area and get a sigiri, train someone to man it if it shames you to do it yourself, have a few drinks and chairs, some music is an added attraction and you are in business. Presence of a supermarket or any other attraction in the village helps
7. Love connection: Many people are starved. Their regular sources of dates and chow are closed. If you have friends who want to have some , be the link at a fee. Its immoral , I know but so is our country. You are not more immoral than the person who used the money for oxygen to take his family on holiday. See!
8. Coaching: Some of us were sharp in school. Kids are home and primary school syllabus is known. Even that of Secondary school. Others want to learn how to use basic computer programs, code, play music. Identify one area you are good at, market your services in the community
9. Massage: Many people badly need a massage especially from the excerise they are not used to. How about you go online, learn the art and trade it . Then you can visit homes and charge a premium.
The author is the CEO of Galaxy FM