How l Navigated African Business Terrain

Patrick Bitature, Chairman, Simba Group of Companies, Uganda

Patrick Bitature is a Ugandan businessman and entrepreneur and believed to be the second wealthiest Ugandan. He is the chairman of Simba Group of Companies, an East African conglomerate, with interests in telecoms, energy production, mining, media, real estate, travel, and leisure. He is the owner of Protea Hotels East Africa.

Bitature was born 10 May 1960 in Fort Portal, Kabarole District in the Western Region of Uganda. He was the first born in a middle-class family. When he was 13 years old, his father was murdered during the Idi Amin regime. He then became the breadwinner, trading in sugar, clothing, shoes, and foreign currencies. Later, he expanded into mobile telephones and mobile airtime distribution.

Bitature attended Namasagali College in Kamuli District for his O-Level education. While there, he was mentored by Damien Grimes. He later attended Nyakasura School in Fort Portal, Kabarole District for his A-Level education. He then studied at the London School of Accountancy in the United Kingdom. He then joined the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators. He holds the rank of fellow of the institute. In 2013, he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by the United Graduate College and Seminary International, based in Asheville, North Carolina.

In 1998, Bitature started a company that he named Simba Telecom Limited. The company became a franchisee of MTN Uganda, which had just opened in the country. Simba Telecom has grown into the largest seller of MTN airtime in Uganda, with gross sales in excess of US$80 million in 2010.

Over the years, he has formed other companies within the Simba Group of Companies, with subsidiaries in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. Some of the companies in the group include the following:

Simba Telecoms Limited,
Kampala Protea Hotel, Eletromaxx Limited – Owner-operator of the 70 megawatt Tororo Thermal Power Station, Simba Mining Limited, Simba Dairy Farm, Tororo Solar Power Station, Protea Hotel Kampala Marriott Skyz

Key Lessons For Entrepreneurs

  1. Take up challenges. Your life may not begin under ideal circumstances but don’t give up. Patrick’s father was murdered when he was 13 years and he then became a breadwinner. Despite starting life under difficult circumstances, he still rised up to be successful. View any problem as a challenge and make it an opportunity to hit even greater heights. Whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.
  2. You have to be resilient. Even when it is really dark and gloomy, you have got to persevere. Patrick failed in so many areas that most people never get to know about. There are many businesses of his that failed to work out and he lost money but he persevered. You must learn to persevere.
  3. Learn to collaborate with different partners. You have got to have the ability to co-create because sometimes you cannot complete some tasks alone. Patrice collaborated with partners to get things done.
  4. You have to be self-disciplined. Without self-discipline, you cannot achieve your goals and dreams. Patrick wouldn’t have achieved his dream without self-discipline.
  5. Lift others up through mentorship. Patrick has devoted his time to mentoring young Ugandan Entrepreneurs.

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