Work for Life entrepreneurs are the true heroes of our program! After attending a Work for Life Entrepreneurship Academy, our graduates create and transform businesses. We equip people living poverty with knowledge and skills to improve their own lives, and those of their families and communities. Read their stories below! We need your help to expand our instructor team. Please donate!
Abbey is a linguist and business man with a passion for teaching. In 2007 he founded the Kampala Langauge Center. Though it was successful, he joined a Work for Life Entrepreneurship Academy to improve his financial management, sales, and marketing skills.
“Everything I learn in class, I go and teach to all of my employees the next day. The concepts are very practical and I can see it’s already paying off,” he said. “I love to teach. The more I teach the concepts I’ve learned, the more of a business expert I become.”
“We are planning on opening another location soon,” Abbey said. “Our original business plan had lots of holes in it. We never completed it. The business plan is the basis of a business so I’m glad we’ll be developing one during this class. All the skills I’m learning here will be directly applied to both locations.”
Joanne is a bright and ambitious young lady who enjoys her current job, and dreams of owning her own decorating business one day. That’s why she enrolled in Work for Life’s Entrepreneurship Academy.
“Finding work was very difficult, so I really appreciate my job,” Joanne said. “I’ve seen so many people start businesses. I’ve always wanted to own my own business, but for some reason I never thought I could do it. But here I am.”
Joanne would like to start a business focusing on home and wedding decorating. “I never understood the sales process before, and I think that’s one of the things that has held me back,” Joanne said. “If the product you’re selling is a necessity, it might sell itself. The items I’m selling are not necessities, so I’m going to need a lot of confidence and strong marketing and sales skills to make my business successful.”
Jim is passionate about shoes. “I love shoes,” he says. “Shoes make a statement. They say a lot about a person.” Jim says there’s a growing demand for stylish, well-made shoes in Uganda, where a new pair of shoes is expensive but often not made well enough to last more than a few months. People needing durable shoes generally go to street markets where they can buy second-hand shoes manufactured abroad.
“Work for Life is helping me understand the business opportunities here,” he said. “I’ve found the information I’m learning very valuable, especially when it comes to developing the business plan. This program is going to help me make good decisions for my business.”
“In the future, I see myself as the owner of several shoe stores,” he said. “People will say, ‘If you want shoes, you need to go to that guy.’”
Janice has been an entrepreneur since she was old enough to count.
“As a very young child, I collected coffee beans and sold them in the village by the cup to earn my school fees,” she said. “By the time I was in 4th grade, I had a profitable business baking and selling pancakes.” Orphaned as a one-year-old, Janice was raised by family friends who couldn’t afford the school fees needed to send her to school. “When I reached high school, I worked at the school in order to pay off my school fees.”
After high school, Janice started a peanut butter business. “I collect bee honey from farmers and have it processed and delivered to people who special order it,” she said. Janice says she sells about 30 liters of honey a month, which generates about $145 in revenue per month. She joined a Work for Life Entrepreneurship Academy to grow her existing business and start new ones. She also hopes to help other family members realize financial independence!
Saudi is a refugee from Sudan. When he was young, he was forced to fight as a child soldier. Eventually he escaped and make his way to a UN camp for former child soldiers.
In addition to being a student, he owns two small businesses — a motorcycle taxi service and a small cafe at a local school. He would eventually like to return to his homeland in Sudan, to help his homeland’s economy, but can’t go back now because the region is still too dangerous.
He joined a Work for Life Entrepreneurship Academy because he was inspired by our mission and the purpose of the program. He said, “I’ve been having a dream of being an entrepreneur, so I’m interested in learning as much as I can about business skills.”
“When peace comes to the Blue Nile State, I will go back there,” he said. “All the indigenous people of my homeland are peasants. My dream is to improve living standards there by setting up an institute to teach business skills to the local people.”
Work for Life is a non-profit organization founded by a group of business leaders in Austin, Texas with an interest in using business to help improve the lives of people living in poverty. Our entrepreneurship programs have been operating in East Africa since 2009. As we continue to see lives impacted, we are constantly on the look out for new opportunities. We are currently looking to expand into South America and South East Asia.
We have a unique opportunity to get behind our friends living in poverty and help them take action and become the solution to the problems that exist in their communities. We celebrate THEM as the change-makers. The entrepreneurs that step up and start businesses are the real heroes. Work for Life is merely a catalyst.