Jivraj, a 27 year-old third generation Asian-Ugandan entrepreneur, has worked extremely hard to become one of Africa’s most successful young entrepreneurs.
He is the founder and CEO of Royal Electronics, a $15 million (annual revenues) Ugandan company that assembles and distributes electronic home appliances such as Television sets, radios, speakers, and DVD players.
“I always had an interest in business even in those days. I think it was just in my blood; I always knew I was going to be a business person. I always had an open eye – looking out for a business opportunity to make a good buck” he says.
An opportunity would soon come. Around that time, a family relative abroad sent a gift package to the Jivraj family through a friend that was visiting Uganda.
It turned out that Jivraj’s new acquaintance was an electrician who specialized in repairing television sets and he had visited Uganda in search of a job.
“Coincidentally, at that time we had a TV set in the house which was spoilt, so I brought it to him. Within an hour he fixed it. But as he was working on it, I watched him closely with my mother. This was a guy who knew his turf – he dismantled the television completely, fixed the problem and assembled it back together with such ease and dexterity. It blew my mind away. The light bulb in my head turned on. I knew there was an opportunity here.”
This was in 2006. Jivraj, who had just finished High School, decided to take a gap year. He hired the Pakistani acquaintance, mobilized funds from his family and brought in containers of un-assembled television parts. He decided to operate on an Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) business model, whereby he sourced the Cathode ray tubes, circuit boards and other parts from Malaysia and China, while he assembled in Uganda. The company began assembling televisions, DVD players and LEDS, under the brand name ‘Royal’, and sold them to customers at a price 50% lower than what was available in the market, and offered 3-year warranty to customers. They sold out very quickly.
“We succeeded very quickly because of our pricing. We’ve always been competitive in that department. One of our bestselling products is our 24-inch LED Television set. Other companies sell their 24-inch LED for the equivalent of $250, while we sell ours for a little over $120, and we are still able to make a profit, while not compromising on quality.”
From television sets, Jivraj expanded Royal’s portfolio to include other electronic items like DVD players, radios, and speakers.
Royal Electronics has become very successful ever since then. Annual revenues exceed $15 million, and the company has showrooms across Uganda, with close to 100 employees. In 2010, the company was ranked 7th in KPMG’s annual ranking of the top 100 Mid-sized companies in Uganda. The company is currently one of the top 1000 tax payers in Uganda.
Jivraj, a devout Ismaili-Muslim, is very philosophical about his success, attributing a lot of his accomplishments to more of divine providence than hard work.On the heels of his success in the television assembling business, Jivraj decided to expand his business endeavors.
‘It is important for one to dream! You don’t have to part with a penny to dream! Let no one tell you something is not possible, do it for yourself, fail and learn but don’t let someone else determine its success or failure for you, only you can!’
(courtesy of : http://www.investigator.co.ug/business/item/14841-meet-27-year-old-ugandan-entrepreneur-who-built-a-$15-million-television-company.html)