Abraham Mbuthia is the Co-founder and CEO of UzaPoint, an Enterprise Resource Planning tool for small, medium and large enterprises enabling them to automate their business processes
Company Name: UzaPoint
Year Founded: 2016
Industry: Automation – ERP
Abraham Mbuthia is the Co-founder and CEO of UzaPoint, an Enterprise Resource Planning tool for small, medium and large enterprises enabling them to connect with their clients and automate business processes.
Through UzaPoint, businesses are able to make more informed decision through the business intelligence tool which gives them real-time information about their sales and stock levels enabling efficiency and profitability.
He is a graduate of Strathmore University having pursued a Bachelor in Business Information Technology.
What in particular drove you to venture into entrepreneurship / starting your own business/company?
While in the second year, my good friend from Church, linked me up with one of the biggest Software Companies in Kenya that makes Mobile Banking Software Solutions for banks. For about two months I got a chance to intern in Quality Assurance where I tested all banking solutions before, they went out to the market. This exposed me to a lot of software development techniques.
This was my biggest turning point in life; I noticed how easy and satisfying it was to come up with innovative solutions. This is the more reason, even after my internship I was still being consulted for the same role. And it was at this point it hit me that I wanted to be a tech-solution provider.
Shortly after concluding my internship, I was requested to recommend someone to take up an open project in the company. Having grown an entrepreneurial mind, I quickly asked the top student in my class, Erick Mabusi, to take up the job on a contractual basis and we would work on it together to get it done. This marked the beginning of our entrepreneurship journey together. It was after 2 years later when we registered Uzapoint Limited, where we are both co-founders.
Current impact/milestones reached for the company
I have managed to get some accolades due to the impact created through my project. In 2017, I won the Techpreneur of the Year in the annual FOYA Awards. In 2018, I was recognized among the Top 40 under 40 Men in Kenya in the Annual Business Daily Ranking. In 2018, I was shortlisted among the 100 Most influential Young Kenyans by the Avance Media Group. In 2019, I was the second runners up in The Total Startupper Challenge winning a grant of Kshs. 1,000,000. I have also been featured on local dailies and TV stations.
As a company, our key milestones include having approximately 200 SMEs signing up to our subscription as a service software. We have also serviced approximately 10 corporate customers that include listed companies, top manufacturing companies in Africa as well as some of the high-end restaurants in Nairobi.
Moreover, through our solution, we launched our reseller program to create sustainable livelihoods for the youth in Africa. So far, we have about 10 resellers registered on the platform and we hope to create at least 5,000 jobs and sustainable livelihoods by 2030 through our reseller program.
How do you know if your tech startup idea is good or not?
I believe the best way to measure whether a tech startup has a good idea or not is by the impact it has created, the lives it has touched, the pains it has relieved and the gains it has brought to people’s lives. Our company exists to enhance the efficiency, profitability and intelligence of small-scale businesses in Africa. Through our solution, business owners now have more control over what is happening in their business, especially when they aren’t within their premises.
They are also able to make more informed decisions courtesy of the business intelligent reports we provide on the platform. Also, thanks to consolidated financial reports these businesses easily have access to financial services such as loans. Last but not least, these businesses have increased sales since they no longer have to depend on walk-in-customers alone and can now leverage on the rising E-commerce market and gain immensely from online orders through our free E-Commerce platform.
Because of such gains, pains and jobs we help to get done, I believe our solution is a good idea. Every budding entrepreneur, therefore, has to narrow down their idea to what problem they are solving and as long as they have a feasible solution, then they will definitely get a customer who will be their product ambassadors and many other customers will flock afterwards.
What kind of a mindset should a first-time entrepreneur have?
One of the biggest reasons many young people shy away from entrepreneurship is the fact that, they say they don’t have the capital to start their business idea. This kind of mindset is what is still holding Africa captive and continues to be a developing country.
We tend to trap ideas and solutions in our mind and hope that someone better than us or with more resources will implement that solution. The furthest we go with these ideas is side talks with our friends and it all ends there. When asked why we cannot be part of the change we want, we always say we do not have enough capital or we are not in an influential position to be the changemakers.
I believe the mindset every first-time entrepreneur should have is the ability to do the most with the current resources available to them. Entrepreneurs need to start from somewhere. It could be as simple as writing an article about the problem they have identified in society and they can recommend a solution to address that problem.
I believe the mindset every first-time entrepreneur should have is the ability to do the most with the current resources available to them.
Who knows, with the growing online presence, someone interested may see the vision in the article and choose to invest in the potential idea. Point is, one has to start. Make one step at a time with whatever you have towards achieving that bigger goal. As long as it’s viable and you are passionate about it, in Paulo Coelho’s words, “If you want something bad enough, then the whole world will conspire to help you achieve it.”
Also, it’s important to mention to first-time entrepreneurs that Rome wasn’t built in a day and in business you have to trust the process. There is a whole process before an idea is painted successful. It takes so many years of empty bank accounts, rejections and failures.
As much as things may seem thick and giving up may seem like the easiest option, first-time entrepreneurs need to know that this process will only make them stronger over time and their vision clearer. They have to keep their fire burning with the hope that everything will make sense in the future.
What sort of general advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur in Africa?
Having practised entrepreneurship for close to 4 years now, I have gone through and I still go through quite some obstacles that always make me feel like giving up. If anything, it’s a feeling that gets to me at least once every 6 months. I am not alone in this, in fact, according to the Small Business Association (SBA), 30% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 50% during the first five years and 66% during the first 10.
With an overview of these statistics, I would advise aspiring entrepreneurs to consider the following:
Entrepreneurship is overrated and has been fashioned to look cool. I would like to say it’s not cool and more so, it is not easy and one should not take it thinking it’s the easy card to play. Entrepreneurs sacrifice a lot (Financially, physically and emotionally), they have less time for themselves, families or friends. To survive, it takes God, hard work, discipline, passion and persistence. Without these, it’s very easy for one to be part of the statistics.
First-time entrepreneurs have to keep their fire burning with the hope that everything will make sense in the future.
All aspiring entrepreneurs should get into this pledging to give the business idea 101% dedication and commitment to the business. The other thing is for them to know that a business idea is not all about them, it is all about the problems their solution solves and the sustainable livelihoods dependent on their business. Aspiring entrepreneurs should, therefore, have this in mind so that they push the business over and beyond their limits and exceed their dreams and vision for a better Africa.