Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable. Dr. Sarah Lubanga Mubiru an Agricultural scientist has changed the sweet business in Uganda by innovating a sweet out of honey.
Dr. Sarah Mubiru who is the only female contestant in this year’s NSSF Friends with benefits competition had worked with different Organizations such as National Agriculture Research Organization, Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in East and Central Africa, Netherlands Development Organization and lastly Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
In 2016, a 50-year-old Dr. Sarah receded from her work to start her own business because according to her, there are many things she would have done but couldn’t because of the work pressure. During her working time Sarah was saving with NSSF and therefore, after retirement, she decided to withdraw her NSSF benefits and this process took her only one week to access her benefits
An amount of UGX 150M was deposited on her account as her NSSF benefits and as someone who had an innovative mind with a sweet tooth, Dr. Sarah prioritized a sweet manufacturing factory which she named Aroma Honey Toffee where she makes sweets out honey and this investment was worth UGX 50-60M
As an Agricultural Scientist with vast experience in the field of research, Dr Sarah started a consultancy firm known as Sow and Grow foundation with her research fellows across the world which makes them able to bid for any business worldwide.
In an attempt to create an extra income that can sustain the rest of the family needs, Dr. Sarah purchased a plot in Kasangati that can be rented and bring in income on a monthly basis.
“ I have used my NSSF benefits to invest in many businesses but Aroma Honey Toffee is still an outstanding innovation because I have not seen any sweet that is locally made in Uganda and this gives me the morale to improve the quality of my product to meet the world standards,” Dr Sarah said
Aroma Honey Toffee has already been recognized by the Bio-innovate Africa and the institute has recommended the sweet to be sold across East Africa.This prompted Dr. Sarah to get more partners in the region. Aroma Honey Toffee has now got its regional partners such as Salongo rehabilitation group and Union of bee keepers of Ishuwari in Kenya and Rwanda respectively
Aroma Honey Toffee employs 3 part-time skilled employees whose daily job is to make sweets, package them and distribute on orders because apparently Aroma Honey Toffee is not yet in supermarketsdue to delays in certification.
Dr. Sarah, unlike other entrepreneurs, her main challenge is lack of adequate and relevant information in the industry of manufacturing and business development for example she has been asking herself how best can one organize the confectionery product like Aroma Honey Toffee?
Despite this challenge, Dr. Sarah has read many books with relevant information, attended workshops and went back in a classroom to study business development and according to her, learning is a continuous process.
A 53-year- old Dr. Sarah Mubiru looks at a future where Aroma Honey Toffee is going to develop into a big regional sweet industry in the East and Central Africa employing over 1000 employees because of its current potential.
The agricultural scientist decided to apply for voluntary saving with the NSSF even after she had withdrawn her NSSF retirement benefits and according to her that should serve as an inspiration to all people both employed or unemployed. Dr. Sarah does not agree with the current debate roaming around that savers should get their benefits at the age of 45 years.
To vote for Dr. Sarah Lubanga Mubiru in the NSSF Friends with Benefits competition, dial *254# or go to www.nssfug.org.