Uganda has an estimated 2.3 million registered vehicles which provide a ready market for an entrepreneur looking to break into the spare auto parts and car oil.
Shafic Ssempija, CEO of Standard Waves Ltd (SWA), saw the opportunity and run with it.
“I had worked with vehicles and when I looked around for a business to invest in, I looked at what I knew, which was vehicles and spare parts. I worked with some companies in China and figured out a way to bring the machines that we needed to Uganda to start the manufacture and sale of ready-to-use high-quality spare parts and car oil,” says Shafic.
Started in 2016, SWA manufactures more than 1000 different replacement parts for over 80 vehicles commonly used in the region.
They manufacture various-sized bolts and nuts, oil filters, diesel filters, air cleaners and engine mounting parts. They also manufacture building materials like spades, among others.
“So far, we have constructed four warehouses (for production and storage), acquired 15 acres of factory land, which will support our future expansion plans, have acquired about 75% of all classes of required machinery, trained at least 25% of our labour force and have digitized factory products through web marketing and other online channels,” adds Shafic.
Speaking during a working visit to SWA, Evelyn Anite, the Minister of State of Finance, Privatization and Investment said: "Shafiq and his company are a Ugandan success story. He started in a shop in Nabugabo and left trading and importing and became a manufacturer and a job creator. We want to see even more local investors getting into manufacturing and as the government, we are taking deliberate steps to provide all the regulatory and business support to ensure that they grow and succeed.”
SWA holds an estimated 20% of Uganda’s market share and part of the region as a result of employing a robust delivery system. Part of the company’s goals extend to creating jobs for young people and the company currently employs about 60 workers.
They intend to employ about 200 when they are fully operational. Labour is sourced from the community around the factory and about 95% of their staff are from the Butambala district.
“Accessing ready capital to purchase state-of-the-art equipment and hire highly skilled labor locally still remain constant challenges. The delayed clearance of raw materials and a limitation in funds to purchase raw materials, also slows down production at times,” Shafic concludes.
"We are working with agencies like the Uganda Investment Authority and Uganda Revenue Authority to address some of our concerns.”
Standard Waves Auto Limited is committed to being the lead local/regional manufacturer of light-moving motor vehicle genuine spare parts that stand the test of time.