In 2017, Jowet Matsiko started a tour and travel agency with Shs4m. The soft spoken 27-year-old Matsiko reveals that he was able to grow his business and is now valued at Shs50m in less than three years. At 24 years, Matsiko realised his childhood dream when he bought his first car in September, 2016. All he wanted was to fulfill his passion of travelling.
At that time, he was in his second year at Kampala International University (KIU) pursuing a degree in Information Technology.
However, three years down the road, the young and ambitious entrepreneur has nurtured his passion into a successful tour business.
Armed with Shs4m he had saved during his working days in Juba, South Sudan, Matsiko bought his first car, a second hand Ipsum. All he wanted was to travel with friends from campus to the beach for fun during weekends. However, he set a condition for his friends to contribute fuel. But since he only drove the car during weekends. Matsiko decided to hire it out.
“I got a driver who agreed to pay me Shs120,000 for using it six days and I would have my car on Sundays, I would also earn extra income from students since I got a balance on the money contributed for fuel,” he says.
After two months of hiring the car out, Matsiko realised the driver was delivering less money than agreed upon. “The driver started giving excuses. So the money started reducing; when the money dropped below Shs80,000, I decided to get back my car,” Matsiko recounts.
Matsiko realised to keep making money, he had to change strategy.
“When I got the car from him, I decided to drive it myself and would only ply two routes; that is Jinja and the airport. I would also market the business at campus to students and lecturers because for any business to succeed, you start with the people around you,” he says.
Whereas most of the clients Matsiko received travelled to and from the Airport, he got his first major breakthrough in November 2016 when his Indian lecturer gave him a deal.
“I was marketing my business during a lecture, my lecturer got interested and told me that he wanted someone to transport his brothers coming from India to Jinja for a tour. We agreed, and I was paid Shs500,000 for the journey,” Matsiko explains.
From then, Matsiko says he developed love for tour business. Apart from chauffeuring foreign tourists to hotels. He started casting his net in deeper waters mainly targeting tourists travelling to tourist sites such as national parks who paid handsomely.
Jinja still was his first major destination, especially with local tourists and a few foreign tourists. And still he engaged students who would travel to Jinja for fun.
Since he was more conversant with Jinja, he played both roles of a driver and a tour guide; and also charged $150 (about Shs550,000 shillings) for a trip.
Whereas he would get clients, his car started to constantly breakdown leading him into more repair costs which ate into his profits. By January, Matsiko could not withstand the high costs of repair and decided to sell it off.
“I sold it off at loss of Shs2.5m. Then I started to hire cars to ferry my clients which proved expensive and inconvenient,” Matsiko says.
As his interest in the tour business grew, he felt the urge to swim alongside sharks and decided to formalise it by registering Gild Tours and Logistsics Ltd. In February, 2017 he engaged a lawyer who helped him register. That same month, he opened a Facebook page to market the business and also paid for its boosting to reach many people.
But since he was still at university, he lacked the necessary money to open up an office space.
“I would meet my clients at restaurants in the city and other hangouts. I used to lie to them that I was out of office yet in actual sense I had no operating space,” Matsiko explains.
Source: Daily Monitor