Why the Entrepreneur Can Never Abandon the Calling

Lessons From Uganda

This is a follow-up to my story about Harriet. She is the Ugandan entrepreneur who has a startup called Divine Peanut Butter. Yes, I am still in Uganda, and yes, I am still eating breakfast at the Sheraton. And, yes, Harriet is still serving me. When I last wrote, Harriet was on assignment. She was to figure out to whom she was going to sell her peanut butter and what she would say so people would buy it. I asked about her progress. Harriet asked, “Can I tell you why I want to create Divine Peanut Butter?”

“I am originally from northern Uganda. I come from the Gulu district in the sub county of Pelage. There is a leader in this area called Joseph Kony. He leads the violent movement of the Lord’s Liberation Army (LRA). Although it sounds Christian, it is a violent cult which destroyed the economy in my community. Between AIDS, HIV and his violence, many parents have been killed and there are now many orphans.”

“I want to build Divine Peanut Butter into a great success so I can help the orphans.” She went on to tell me she has a property already picked out which is available for sale.

“If I had 4,800,000 Ugandan Shillings, I would buy it today. It is available. Then I would start the orphanage and begin building shelter.”

“So this is why you really started this business?” I asked.

She said, “I don’t make enough money as a server to help the orphans. I need to make more and God gave me this idea and I will do it.”

She said this in a way that made me believe she will do it.

Enthusiastically, she said, “I want to love these orphans from my community. I want to provide a safe place and education. I want to teach them how to have self-esteem and be self-driven. I want to show them that by being entrepreneurs they can get out of poverty. They do not have to be poor. They need hope and a way out.”

Harriet continues to impress me. She is not just looking to build her business to make a better life for her and her family. Her deep ‘why’ is to return to her birthplace and make life better for the forgotten children.

She came to Kampala, the capital city, to get a job and escape poverty. Now she wants to build a business to help the poor in the area where she grew up do the same.

Driven by a Vision

Successful entrepreneurs have a vision for life and not just for business. Their vision reaches well beyond themselves to people in need. These are people God put on their heart. These are people they know they can help. These are people whose lives they can change for the better.

With a big vision there is no way the entrepreneur can quit. The business must work. He must make a profit. In his mind, too many people are depending on him. Success is the only option.