Well, like they say, Passion drives portfolio, Mr. Atwiine a former Kyambogo University electrical technician resigned from his university job to start his own welding machine and Metal Work fabrication business in Rugando, Mbarara District.
A 46-year-old Edison decided to resign after realizing that there was need for power and electricity services in the hard to reach areas like Rugando, a skilled Edison started by moving from door to door looking for clients but because he had not established a workshop( what he called an address) and people did not trust him with their money.
In an attempt to be relevant in the community, Edison started teaching at a local technical training institute in Rugando and started another private coaching session for interested students. Therefore, these students trained started spreading word of mouth in the community and this subsequently instigated demand for Edison’s electrical services in the community.
Edison who had crossed from Kyambogo to the government technical training institute decided to withdraw his NSSF benefits in the scheme known as exemption employment benefits in 2018
These benefits are paid to contributing members who join employment categories that are excepted i.e. have their own social protection schemes that are recognized under the existing law and are exempted from contributing to NSSF; e.g. the Police, Army, Prisons, Civil Service and Government Teaching service employees or members of any scheme who have received exemption from the Ministry in charge of Social Security.
Unlike many of us who think that saving and investment is done by only the rich, Edison received Ugx 600,000 only as his NSSF benefits. He first registered a company known as Mataala electrical contractors and Engineers then opened up an electrical shop that is mainly stocked by his hand-made welding machines.
“I was inspired by the paradigm shift from wood work to metal work that is trending globally. I am a skilled person and therefore I have to exploit and pass on the skills to the next generation especially in this village of Rugando.My welding machine business serves two functions and that is training and business”, Edson said
Edison who started with only Shs.600,000 from NSSF has so far made 20 welding machines and each fully finished welding machines costs Ugx 1M and has established an electrical shop in Rugando Trading centre.
The demand of his products has been driven by many factors such as the government policy of Electricity Connection Policy (ECP) of all villages’ country wide, the Paradigm shift from wood work to metal work, the quality of his welding machine and finally the students trained in the same field.
Mr. Edison has only been challenged by financial constraints to manufacture enough welding machines and as we speak; demand is overwhelming the supply plus inadequate raw materials to manufacture enough welding machines.
Surprisingly, Edison has been able to sell some of his products as far as Kasese, Bushenyi and Masaka. This has been his source of inspiration to continue in business despite the existing challenges.
Edison has so far trained more than 200 students in the field of industrial training (electrical installation and welding manufacturing) and these range from graduates to certificate students who are awarded with an informal certificate commonly known as certificate of participation.
“In future, I look forward to training more than 1000 students because there is need for this kind of skill. I decided to participate in this NSSF friends with benefits because I need to increase the number of employees and boost industrialization in our region“, Edison said
Saving with the NSSF has been an opportunity for Edison because he has been able to follow his passion that is coincidentally in line with his profession. Therefore, he requests everyone especially the youth to start saving with the Fund with little they have.
To vote for Mr. Mwine Edison Mataala in the NSSF Friends with Benefits competition, dial *254# or go to www.nssfug.org.