Dr. James Magara, a doctor of dentistry in Kampala Uganda, shares his steps to move into business ownership. Kampala Uganda Africa #000220
Dr James Magara Story-Business Growth
By Dr. James Magara
My name is Dr. James Magara I’m dentists here in Kampala Jubilee Dental. I studied I qualified as a dentist in 1988, I was part of the first class of dentists from a care University the very first class of dentists trained locally in Uganda. When I finished I went back to teach at the University and then in 1990 through 92 I went for further training at the University of Bristol in the UK, and I really felt I should come back it was a very difficult time for our country. There are a lot of opportunities to work in Europe and walk in other parts of the world but I had this deep conviction that I needed to come back and I did come back and it took a while for things to start. I didn’t wear our training did not train us for private practice we were trained to work in government institutions, so even when I graduated the idea of going into private practice was not very close to my thinking but in those days. I where I was working at the University the pay was very little and so I decided to start something small on the side.
When I was free I would go and work in the clinic it was really not meant to be any kind of big business enterprise so just something to supplement what I was doing at the University. So I would walk a few days a week and in this country and a lot to advertise so I couldn’t we couldn’t advertise and it had to be by word of mouth but very slowly 94 second of May 94 that’s when we started things began to pick up and big to a point where a few years later I was under strain. I was finding pressure balancing my university work and the private work that, I was doing and I thought it was important that I continue serving at the university to help train more dentists by the same time there were demands from the private side. So I took the first step in what has now become the big enterprise engineered, interest I decided to hire a colleague to work with or to work with a colleague as an associate. And that sort of reduced the pressure but the business continued to grow.
So it was really growing without effort, if I may put it that way and then towards the end of the 90s. It became clear that I needed to pay more attention to business and at that time we also had to decide whether we’re going to continue renting or to actually go ahead and purchase a building. It was a very interesting time end of the 90s and so towards the end of that time beginning of the year 2000. I did some calculations and realize that if I continued doing what I was doing within seven to eight years, I would actually pay the rent. I mean that what I’ve bought the house of the place where paying rent, so I then decided to seek for a building to where which you could get a mortgage and that’s how we got this facility and a very beautiful place in Kahala. A series of a very long story I can’t go into but about that time I started paying more attention to business and study thing of leaving the university but at the same time I developed a model of employing.
Because I was working with students I knew the ones that were good, that had a good attitude but also knew from my own experience that was very difficult for startups for dental startups the banks were not interested in financing businesses. When I went to the bank the first time by the when I was starting the business they were not interested, because I had nothing I had no securities so I knew that many of the students who are coming out we’re facing those challenges so I invited them. I invited some of them to join me and slowly walking with two three four right now gable dental clinic has a total of 13 dentists walking and what we offered then was an environment which would give them an ability to practice more modern dentistry without having to bother to worry about all the costs that come with it. With the startups and then what has happened is that some of them have moved on and set up their own practices others have stayed to work for quite a number of years.
This model by the way has been taken up by other groups down so that’s what we do now and as the work grew we also read in realize well we can actually offer this in more than one location. Right now we have four locations what different locations where we practice and we practice good quality dentistry. it’s modern dentistry with prices that’s in dentistry expensive, but the prices that we are still within the range of a good range of our population the other thing that we do once at least a few times a year. We go out and do another dental care to people would have no access at all, so that has been our story it’s right now we employ about 50 people.
Altogether actually more than 50 people altogether so apart from providing the professional service, we also pride a providing opportunity for employment and spend time mentoring our employees not just at work. But we have special meetings where we talk about life skills, I’m a Christian so we also do have times when your Bible studies and stuff like that so our goal is that for the time that people are with us the quality of their life should improve. They should leave not everyone is with us on the whole long haul but, for this time they are posted with us we should be able to add value to their lives. But they don’t live at the same kind of spiritual station that they came in but they can move on to do whatever else that’s a call to do so that’s my story.
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