Source of the Nile Hotel, Namanve has opened its doors
Source of the Nile Hotel, Namanve opens its doors
Entrepreneurship is a challenging journey, particularly when starting a new business. So many pieces have to fall in place to lead to success – but it only needs little to end it all. And this is true even for those who do not simply play on luck but try to do “everything right”. A young entrepreneurial couple with roots in Germany, Switzerland and Uganda experienced a rocky start in that sense as the Covid-19 lock down hit their emerging hotel and catering business in Kampala at the worst moment.
The long-term vision of the young entrepreneurs is to build modern hotels in different parts of Uganda and by that strengthening the offering of mid-range hotels in the country. They would also like to contribute to further professionalizing the training of employees in the hospitality sector and create good and sustainable jobs.
In 2017 the couple started the construction of a small hotel with 27 beds, seminar rooms, restaurant and catering in the Kampala Industrial Business Park (KIBP), to address the growing demand for quality accommodation and catering capacity in the business sector in Uganda. A loan from the SECO Start-up Fund helped to cover the construction costs. The operation shall create 33 permanent jobs and provide training and development for employees at an international level. The operation shall also be conducted in an environmentally friendly manner with a roof top solar system, responsible waste and wastewater management and with building techniques that enable a good indoor climate with as little energy as possible.
While the construction phase of the hotel presented the usual challenges and took – typical for most start-ups - much longer than expected, the entrepreneurs were able to avoid many mistakes thanks to their family's experience with an existing hotel business in Uganda. The family’s presence in Uganda also allowed for an intensive and “in person” monitoring of the construction.
By the beginning of 2020, the elaborate interior work had been completed, the team recruited and the first catering customers lined up… and then Corona hit! Although the entrepreneurs had from the beginning been focused on mitigating business risk and established complementing income streams through accommodation for business travellers, a restaurant and catering business and conference infrastructure, the sudden and strict lock down hit their project hard. Until autumn 2020 only the seminar rooms and weekend guests generated some income and the entrepreneurs had to put in more capital to keep the operations afloat.
Luckily, since year start the situation in Uganda is slowly but steadily recovering and allowed Namanve to recently become fully operational. Knowing the ups and downs of a start-up all too well, the entrepreneurs are committed to make use of their business also for supporting young people in Uganda in realising their visions. For example they hold regular exhibitions of local art and photography at the hotel. Their current “guests” are artist Michael Lutaaya (https://www.facebook.com/BafrikaCreations/), who portrays people from disadvantaged population groups and supports them with part of his sales income, and photographer Lovington Kambugu (https://www.instagram.com/p/CBkgR56ls27/?igshid=8ev1et4ch97x) who captures the beauty of Uganda with his lens.