Educate! graduate Francis creates a thriving business, employs others, and puts himself through university

Standing in front of his new shop, Francis is glowing. He has just achieved two of his life goals in quick succession. He was accepted to Kyambogo University to study social sciences—a dream he’s had since childhood. Then, as a top Educate! graduate, Francis was recruited to become a Mentor, a role that lets him support 120 other youth to achieve their own dreams.

 Even as a kid, Francis saw himself attending university someday. With his father too sick to work, Francis and his mother made ends meet through small-scale agricultural work. Money was tight, but Francis’ family was deeply committed to his education and put him all the way through high school. Yet Francis knew that if he wanted to attend university, he’d need to make it happen for himself.

In his final years of high school, Francis saw a path to make this dream a reality. He joined the Educate! Experience and worked tirelessly toward his future: he was a top student in the Educate! Experience, a peer mentor, and Treasurer for the Student Business Club. Most impressively, Francis leveraged the 21st century skills taught by Educate! to pitch an idea, create a business plan, and launch an enterprise to earn money for university. 

Francis Saw an Opportunity
Using the opportunity identification strategies he had learned from Educate!, Francis created his first business. What if he borrowed his neighbor’s camera, sitting idle, to photograph events? Francis employed the pitching skills he developed to pitch his business to his neighbor. The neighbor was so impressed that he gave the camera to Francis outright. Francis began photographing parties and events, selling photos for a substantial profit. 

Beating the Competition
After graduation, Francis moved to Kampala and applied to university. To finance his education, Francis found another market opportunity selling dry goods to local shops. Unlike other sellers, he was able to keep his costs low by purchasing in bulk directly from rural farmers, enabling him to generate higher profit than his competitors. He earned enough to support himself, but still couldn’t afford tuition. Francis realized if he had his own shop, he could earn far more money as the end seller than as the middleman.

Francis Creates Jobs
Francis’ aunt owned a small storefront that she was currently using for storage. Francis pitched the business potential of the space to his aunt who was so impressed she agreed to let him use the space. To manage it, Francis hired two employees to cover his shop when he was away attending his university classes or working as an Educate! Mentor.

Today, standing in front of his shop, Francis explains that he loves all his work, but he finds special meaning in inspiring the next generation and equipping them with the skills they need to achieve their dreams:

“Being a Mentor is what I live for. Most of my students now have small businesses or community projects, and they are succeeding.”

He has experienced firsthand how skills like pitching a business idea, mobilizing resources, and crafting a business plan can unlock opportunities and help youth to create the future they have imagined for themselves. He says, “For my Scholars, I want them to become better than me. I want them to create something they can be proud of, then to call me and say, ‘Mentor, I did this because of you.’ I want them to also become mentors and to help their communities.”

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