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Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Uganda's Titus Mawano - Dropped Out of College to Pursue His Tech Dream

Meet 23 year old Titus Mawano, founder of Ffene, an award-winning business management platform that helps Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Africa consolidate their financial tasks in one single application. Mawano dropped out of school in his 3rd year while studying Computer Science in the United States to develop Ffene.

The Ugandan techpreneur was also winner of the World bank sponsored Apps For Africa 2012 challenge, earning ($10,000), while in 2013, he was 2nd in the 2013 Anzisha Prize, a competition that recognises and celebrates Africa’s youngest entrepreneurs who have implemented business solutions that impact their communities. Read excerpts of his interview with Ventures Africa below:

How did Ffene start for you?
I was in my second year of college when I had the idea to build a business management platform for SMEs in Africa. Through my 3rd year I added much more thought to the idea and came to the conclusion that I had to start immediately. So I did in June 2012.

How does Ffene work and what gap does it fill in the small business ecosystem?Most SMEs in Africa store data on paper. Sales, expenses, customer lists etc are all recorded in books and this makes it hard to get any value out of that data. Ffene is a simple tool that allows any SME in Africa to efficiently manage their business data. Currently, it is available online but will are finalising our offline applications. The main advantage businesses will derive is the automatic processing of data. So, all a business owner has to do is enter sales, expenses and such and the software automatically calculates trends and financial statements – profit and loss, balance sheet etc.

How successful has this venture been for you so far?We have seen quite a bit of success. We won Apps4Africa (2012) along with winning the Anizsha price (2013). And we have seen quite a strong positive reaction from our customers. We haven’t done any marketing efforts; it has all been word of mouth.

When you started Ffene, did you have the fear that it might not work out as you expected. And at what point were you totally convinced that you were on the right path?
Of course! I had fears. But it was what I wanted to do. The day I started the company, I knew it was a right path. It wasn't going to be easy, but it was the right path.

Did you dropout to create Ffene?Yes, I had a year left, but I chose not to go back.

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