Kisa Foundation USA
Business Profile
One-time banana peddler now owns a chain of six butcheries
December 19, 2012
Nathan Ssentongo a butcher in Kabumbi Nansana Town council in Wakiso district started his business in 2002 after completing senior six. A banana plantation was the only source of income for his family and his parents couldn’t afford to support his dreams for higher education. So he went to work for his father selling bananas from there in order to earn a living. After a few months, he used the little money he had saved to expand his business, and he started buying bananas from other farmers. Gradually his banana business grew.

In 2003 he started up a retail shop in a small kiosk in Kasanga, Makindye. Two years later, he had saved enough money to start a supermarket in Makindye. But the supermarket business was slow. Sometimes Ssentongo said his goods would sit on the shelves for 3 or 4 months before selling. He wanted a product that would sell faster and produce profits more quickly

He saw that meat products generally sold rapidly and for good procies, so in 2007 he started buying live cows for slaughter to supply meat to other butchers in town. After a year, he was able to start his own butchery in Kabumbi village, Nansana.

He could get approximately 200,000-300,000 shillings profit per cow and the cows were bought on a daily basis, a much faster pace than the grocery business. Soon after opening his own butchery, he started buying ready meat at shillings 5000 and selling at 7000, making a profit of 2000 per kilogram.

The small butchery in Kabumbi that he opened in 2008 has now expanded to six butcheries: three in Nansana and three others in Makindye, Kansanga and Naluvule.

While the business has been successful, Ssentongo says there are many obstacles on the road to profits. “Unstable prices, high loss burden when the meat is not cut properly, dishonest workers, customers returning the meat, and cows dying during transport are a few of the problems I struggle with every day,” he said.

The six shops sell 300-600 kilograms of meat per day and provide jobs for seven people in addition to Ssentongo. One of the workers at Kabumbi butchery, Ronald Ssebbalu, said Ssentongo was a good employer. “I have not yet identified any bad conduct with my boss for the five years I have worked for him, he pays me in time depending on my wish” Ssebbalu said.

Still, Ssentongo was not satisfied with his business success. So he took some of the profits from his butcheries to construct a rental house with three double rooms. Construction went quickly, Ssentongo said. He started it in late 2011 and by mid 2012 the house was already finished and fully occupied by tenants.

“Hard work, good ideas, good understanding of market plus willingness to take risks have made me a successful business man,” Ssentongo told me proudly.

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