My Story

Joseph Owino

I’ll begin from as early as I can remember — being raised by my grandmother at my maternal village in Tororo, Eastern Uganda. My parents were just getting settled in the neighbouring Mbale district after my mother who is a teacher was transferred. My lovely grandmother taught me how to roast cassava and sweet potatoes that I would take to school a few kilometers away; Achilet Primary School.

I later on joined my parents in Mbale. It is from my parents in Mbale where I picked up my early entrepreneurial drive. I witnessed my father start two institutions of higher learning from scratch. Hello bootstrapping!

My mother would later shape my business urge when she made me sell foodstuff on the street. After school, I would sell boiled yams and sim-sim (sesame) rolls to passersby as they trotted home. I was initially embarrassed – selling foodstuff while others went home to play wasn’t all that glamorous. But I soon came to see it as a good business education like any other, learning packaging, distribution channels, wholesale pricing etc.

At 15 years old I replaced family-run enterprise with gainful employment as a systems administrator at an Internet Cafe where I would work before and after school and on weekends. I left the job only when I moved to boarding school in Kampala but continued to utilise and hone my ICT skills by teaching my fellow classmates computer science. After high school, I taught formally at local secondary schools, which enabled me pay for university.

I started my company Owino Solutions while I was a freshman at Makerere University where I studied Pschology. Despite studying a different course my passion has always been IT. With the mentorship of a bunch of guys met in online forums from all over the world, from Sicily to Silicon Valley, to whom I am eternally grateful, I went from being a self-taught IT enthusiast in a rural internet cafe to a 22 year old budding entrepreneur founding a web services company.

In 2011, I founded Kawowo Sports where my team and I concentrate on local sports — putting the focus on our local heroes who were earlier overshadowed by European and international athletes.

To date, Owino Solutions has helped thousands of people connect through Owino SMS and brought over 500 individuals and institutions online — helping me realise my aspiration to have local voices on the internet.

I am passionate about tech solutions, local content, and sport. I am currently trying to get myself into a world-class MBA programme where I wish to really learn from their entrepreneurship and social enterprise departments in order that I may learn the necessarily skills I need to take things to the next level.

Thank you for dropping by and I hope to connect with you here in addition to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+