Former Miss Uganda Stellah Nantumbwe, popularly known as Ellah, is now a social entrepreneur who wants to help youth and women build sustainable businesses for a better tomorrow, writes MOSES PAUL SSERWANGA.
Ellah is not your everyday beauty queen; even many years since she handed over the crown, she is pushing on her own a new world of order. And Ellah has proven she is not contented with small wins.
Ellah hit the Ugandan public scene after winning the 2013/2014 and from there she has never looked back. In 2014, she represented the country in Big Brother Africa show in South Africa. She is also an actress, philanthropist and media personality. Ellah never stops at that, she is an aspiring social entrepreneur as well.
During an interview recently, Ellah disclosed that Uganda is one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world, if not the most entrepreneurial.
“However, our new businesses have a short lifespan and present a significant absence of innovative ideas and poor business management techniques. This can be attributed to a myriad reasons,” she said.
It is upon that background that in the past academic year, the 28-year-old has been studying a Master of Science degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at HEC Paris; one of the world’s highest ranked business schools (ranked second in Europe) to equip her even further to help change the narrative. She had earlier obtained a BSc in Business Computing at the University of Greenwich in England.
“The goal is to foster innovation through the establishment of innovation centres to equip young business owners with the necessary skills to build sustainable businesses. As an aspiring social entrepreneur, the businesses that I create and support should target social inclusiveness and aim to illuminate social issues.”
Ellah further revealed that she believes formal education with an extension of practical learning to encourage and boost innovation would create a conducive environment to effectively address the unemployment issue that could be attributed partly to lack of understanding of proper business principles and opportunities to apply the techniques in practical situations with minimal real-life repercussions.
She also noted that female social entrepreneurs and female entrepreneurs at large are faced with the age-old problem of defying social expectations centred on women in the business world.
“There’s unseen pressure exerted on women to take on a generally ‘male persona to be able to fit into any male-dominated industry’,” she said.
On the other hand, Stellah also revealed that the success she has achieved may be attributed to a few events in her life such as; moments where life has forced her to rebuild, situations that have challenged her, loss, failure and adventure.
“I’m inspired by my mother mostly. I believe she deserves all the accolades. I’m also inspired by the uncertainties the future holds,” she said.
“Due to this, I have no reason to get comfortable with any of my achievements. This is the reason I have always been a hard worker and a strong believer in doing my absolute best with the resources made available to me and reaping the benefits of consistency and determination.”