Interview Founder BW Publishing

I had the pleasure to meet Michael Mugoyo at the recent VC4Africa Meetup in Kampala, Uganda I was inspired by his work and his efforts to raise capital for entrepreneurs in his area. If you are an entrepreneur looking to fund your business then maybe there is something you can learn from Michael and his experiences in rural Uganda.

Please describe your business?

My business is called BW-Publishing. BW is an acronym of By the Word.

The mission of BW-Publishing is to connect rural based businesses/organizations to the international community through the internet/web publishing so that they can have access to potential investors/donors.

Where did you get the idea?

From my childhood I had a dream for communication. Raised from a peasantry family by a single grandmother in a remote village of Buikwe, I had to strive to make it at school where I was always the information prefect.

When my grandmother passed away, I could not afford school fees so I went to the streets of Kampala with a hope of getting sponsors for my education. After one year living as a street kid, I was picked up by a Christian charity that sponsored my education through high school. But they could not sponsor me at university.

However, since I had qualified to study on government sponsorship, I joined Makerere University Kampala in 2003 to study a Bachelors of Arts with Education in Literature and English (much against my dream). However my first priority courses of interest had been either Mass Communication or Information Technology which I could study if I had managed to pay for my own tuition. So I had to settle for less!

For 3 years at the expense of the course that I had been given (Education), I decided to teach myself computer studies and the internet with communication students when at University because that was my passion. I painfully reaped the consequences! I failed to graduate since I spent most of my study time learning computers and the internet instead of studying to become a schoolteacher!

What inspired you to actually execute?

Soon after leaving university (without academic papers), I was recruited on merit by an NGO called the Network for Integrated Community Based Research and Development (NICRAD) in Kampala, where I got hands on experience in designing and implementing sustainable community based development projects.

After 2 years, I left NICRAD and went back to my poor home village to start on BW-Publishing as an entrepreneur. I went with one laptop computer. BW-Publishing entered into a long term partnership with Buikwe Full Gospel Church, a local village church in Buikwe and mobilized community entrepreneurs, helped them develop their own business plans, started projects following the Rich Dad’s philosophy of the B-I Triangle, and mobilized resources to pay for internet connection.

How are you going about doing this?

We are following the Rich Dad’s philosophy of the B-I Triangle (i.e. Mission, Team, Cash Flow, Communication, System, Legal and Product/Service). Since October 2008:

• We have helped over 90 rural community businesses/projects develop their business plans;
• Developed a Ning social networking website for the projects/businesses ( to market them to the international community
• Through the website we got two investors (Chronos Group and HAFTrust) who have committed to invest in all agribusinesses in Buikwe that are on our website
• We are currently training community members how to use a computer and the internet

How does your project aim to promote business on the continent?

We will continue to promote the project throughout Africa and the world using popular online business and social networking sites like Ning, SocialGo, Ecademy, Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, Twitter, Plaxo, Tagged, etc for greater publicity.

What are your biggest challenges moving forward?

Our biggest challenge is lack of enough computers. We are currently using only one laptop computer serving over 90 projects, and training poor people from six parishes of Buikwe and beyond how to use a computer and the internet.

Where will this project be in five years?

Investors/donors could start to regularly support a few programs in return for a stake in them. The profit would go to the local widows and orphans and hospital charities in Buikwe. Later on if the enterprise is a success we can decide what to do. It will be years before they boom. e.g. lets say an Investor/donor asks for 25% of an enterprise in a poultry project in return for regular funding and publicity with all profits going to local causes like they supposed to – in maybe 5 years with encouragement some of these businesses will be in good condition and we can then either sell them and raise more money or have other options.

The reason this is better is that there will be a regular contribution then and the joint ventures should attract more interest and other international partners. Anyway I am still working on the idea but we could have an Agribusiness Unit with say 4 or 5 seed projects, 3 or 4 poultry, milling, a couple of piggery projects and a dairy. The individuals could keep their individual projects – I more or less am connected with them all and would have a minority stake in each in return for regular support.

What is the most surprising thing you have discovered/learned along the way?

The internet can transform an impoverished community within just six months!

How can we as a community help you / contact details?

We need:

• Over 50 Desktop and laptop computers to establish a networking center for businesses/projects in Buikwe, Uganda.
• Matchmaking organizations to connect us to potential investors/donors
• Capacity building in terms of project planning, management and accounting

Mugoya Michael
PO Box 172, Lugazi (Uganda)
Tel. 256 718 054 580

Did I miss something you would like to share with the VC4Africa community?

Our offline VC4Africa Meetup in Kampala was the first of its kind in my life talking face to face with potential investors! Ben, Thank you for such a great vision!



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About zia505

The world is changing right before my eyes. Sometimes I don't know how I will ever keep up. There are so many ideas floating around on this internet. If only I had the means to collect them....

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