Uganda | Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Ugandan Businessman, entrepreneur, tycoon and motivational speaker Patrick Bitature was born into a well-to-do family.
He is the wealthy man, founder and chairman of the Simba Group of Companies, with interests in telecoms, energy production, mining, media, real estate, travel, and leisure.
His parents worked for the East African Community, so they lived in Kenya and Tanzania.
As a family, they had properties including farms and motor vehicles with personal drivers, a logistics business – buses inclusive and other privileges.
The Family’s Ordeal
However, when Patrick Bitature was 13 years old, his father was brutally murdered during the Idi Amin regime.
He died at 44, just when Bitature had begun to know and admire him as his inspiration. Bitature loved his father so much that it was devastating and shocking when his father passed on. He says that it was his most heart-wrenching experience.
Not only was the family robbed of a father and breadwinner, but they lost all property overnight.
Having been among the wealthiest families those years, the family went through such a rough experience.
Father Grimes of Namasagali College took on Patrick Bitature with his siblings and paid their school fees for the next few years.
Becoming a Man at Just 14 Years
The turning point in his life was about a year later, on the day when the family sat down on a mat, with no dining table, to have tea without sugar for the first time.
His mother of six (6) children insisted they had to manage the situation. Bitature’s youngest brother started crying for their father, making their 30-year-old mother shed tears of sorrow in the presence of her children. Bitature felt a ‘big lump in his throat.’
One night, Bitature boarded the Akamba Bus to Nairobi in search of some sugar. The following day, he returned with 15 kilograms of sugar in a suitcase.
Some of his relatives were concerned when they realised that a 14-year-old had come to Kenya just for sugar.
Travelling that far in those days was uncommon, especially with no communication means. It was like going to Syria today. Crossing the border was scary, but no one suspected a young kid to smuggle sugar in a school suitcase.
When he got back home, there was so much delight and happiness. His mother was proud of him. He started to realise that he was no longer a boy and had become a man who had to act responsibly. That one act had re-defined him.
Patrick Bitature, an Entrepreneur at 14
The neighbours went to them begging for the sugar since they heard he had brought some. The family decided to sell the sugar for four times its price.
Bitature got back on the bus to Kenya for another suitcase of sugar. That is how his business career started.
Looking back, he has succeeded where many have failed mainly because of hard work, persistence, focus on his set goals, discipline, honesty, taking responsibility for his life and the belief that he could change his future.
He started by selling sugar, shirts, ladies’ dresses and shoes. He then opened up a Nightclub, a foreign exchange bureau, and also ventured into selling mobile phones and airtime.
For some time now, he has always tried to provide services or products customers need for a fair return.
He also realised that he got a lot of satisfaction in providing those services or products. Making a profit was simply the bonus that followed most of the time.
Bitature employs over 1500 staff today. He set up Simba Tours and Travel, Simba Forex Bureau, Simba Telecom Ug, Simba Telecom in Tz with Vodacom, and Simba Telecom in Kenya with Safaricom.
He ventured into energy generation, microfinance banking, media, insurance and transport.
His Involvement in Real Estate
Bitature invested in property, hotels and land where he does his farming.
He owns Elizabeth Royal Apartments in Kampala’s upscale Kololo neighbourhood, Moyo Close Apartments in upscale Bukoto, and the Protea Hotel, Naguru, which offers a bird’s eye view of Kampala.
It was only when he had gained more experience and built his reputation, that he could borrow money from the banks to own property and bigger businesses.
Today he is the Chairman of Uganda Investment Authority, Chairman of a listed company Umeme, with thousands of Ugandan shareholders, an advisor to H.E. President Museveni and Honorary counsel for Australia to Uganda.
Advice to the Youth
Bitature says many people after spending six years in senior school and three at the University, also spend the next three years looking for a job, knocking at so many doors and walking till the soles of their shoes are worn out.
With a now-tattered CV in your hand, several people lose their self-esteem.
Importance of Job Creation
He encourages people to go out there and start up a business that creates jobs.
“We need young people who will find a creative idea or a solution to a problem, grab the opportunity, take the risk, and set aside or postpone the comforts of today by setting up businesses that will provide jobs and profit for tomorrow,” he says.
Bitature says that jobs are what allow people to feel useful and build their self-esteem. They make people productive members of the community and worthy citizens.
“It is you the youth of today that go into business with knowledge and skills that have the power to harness the creativity and talents of others to achieve a common good and put labour, capital and other factors of production to work,” he adds.
This should make Uganda more competitive and a useful member of the greater East African region.
He stated that job creation is a priority for any nation to move forward.
Get a Job but Avoid Complacency
One should get a job if it’s their best option since starting a business is not for everyone.
Take the job and work as hard as you can. Learn everything these companies can teach you and build a network of contacts and friends, then leave whilst you still have the energy!
If one dreams of creating something great, one must not let a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job, even if it’s a high-paying job, keep them in a complacent, comfortable life.
Let that high-paying job propel them towards building a business for themselves instead.
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