Julian Adyeri Omalla is one of Uganda's top female entrepreneurs. She is founder, chairperson and managing director of Delight Uganda Limited, producing the country's most popular fruit drink sold under the brand name 'Cheers'. Julian has diversified into a range of other business activities, including egg and poultry farming, maize-feed production, a flour mill and bakery, a student hostel for 400, as well as coordinating women’s farmer cooperatives that provide food aid into Sudan. Today, Julian employs over 1,000 Ugandans and exports to countries such as Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan and Zaire.
Julian is a powerful voice of advocacy for improving economic access and opportunities for Uganda's women in business. She is a leading member of the Uganda Gender and Growth Coalition, a group of seven women’s rights advocacy groups. In 2008, Julian was among six women in Africa to be honoured for their entrepreneurship skills by the World Bank. Today, she is one of the most decorated woman entrepreneurs in East Africa and has received honours and awards including the Commonwealth Entrepreneur of the Year 2014.
“My aim was to start a juice processing business, not just small scale like the market vendors, but a real factory. My mother had taught us to process local fruit and I’d done a certificate course in food science, so I had the technical background. I could see there was a gap in the market.”
Julian's Startup Story
Julian Omalla is one of Uganda’s biggest entrepreneurial success stories, and the owner of Uganda’s largest juice processing factory, Delight Ltd, with an annual turn over of US$4m and 45% of the local market. She’s known affectionately as “Mama Cheers” after her popular fruit drink brand, Cheers. Julian now has diversified into a range of other business activities, too, including poultry, a flour mill and bakery, a student hostel for 400, as well as coordinating women’s farmer cooperatives that provide food aid into Sudan. She is also a major employer in the country. However, her entrepreneurial journey was not an easy one and she is an inspirational example of triumph over adversity.
She began her working life as an employee of her brothers, while at the same time saving her own money to start a business as a small trader. As a woman, she wanted to show that she could have her own business, too. She was doing well until she became too trusting. She transferred all her funds to her new #business partner in order to purchase stock and he just disappeared from his place of business.
This meant she was back to where she started. It was to be a hard lesson that was to shape her entrepreneurial journey from that point onwards and she learnt not to put all her eggs in one basket – a strategy that was to become her philosophy for #businessexpansion and #diversification in the future...
( Startupinfo, 2020)
The Importance of Women Entrepreneurs Women are an instrumental part of entrepreneurship and will continue to lead change for years to come. Through their ingenuity, they bring with them economic growth, innovation, creativity, and productivity. They also inspire other women and individuals to become business owners. ( UN Women, 2022)
Pic by Julian Adyeri Omalla
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