A Chat With Minute5 CEO John Katumba

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Minut5 is a Ugandan e-commerce company that connects customers with fresh farm produce. The CEO John Katumba is a hardworking, talented, and visionary entrepreneur. Currency based in Accra, Ghana, the charismatic founder talked to us about his journey as an entrepreneur. 

Read on and be inspired!

Career Fodder:  Tell us about yourself and what you do and what your company is all about

John Katumba: At Minute5, we deliver fresh farm groceries to consumers in Kampala that’s Uganda and to business too. We started the business in 2019 and it’s been a passion to date. We have been able to serve more than 200 customers.

CF: Amazing. When did you start the company and what inspired you to start the company?

JK: So we began the business in 2019 actually late in 2018 in December as a way to sell off produce from one of our cofounder’s farm, he had a farm of passion fruits. 

He wanted us to help him sell the passion fruit but our target market was the posh so the uptown, the people working offices. What we used to do is to was to pack the passion fruits into bags and deliver to the customers right there. 

But we realized that they need much more. They asked us for other products like tomatoes, onions. And it gave us the idea to setup a business where we could deliver those things. 

We started offline with whatsapp, so people would send us a list of what they needed and then we finally transitioned into an online platform. I developed a website and an app. We had the team working very, in collaboration together to make sure we provide a proper and a good digital experience.

CF: Okay, so tell us about your experience so far, how has it been with the business. What are some of the milestones you have had?

JK: So, for how business has been so far, it has been an interesting journey. We started the business with zero experience in the industry. 

An industry of supply where you have to know where the food is coming from, who grew the food, and what inputs they used to grow the food, was something we had to learn as we ran the business because these are concerns that people have when they are buying food, they want to know if its organic food or not. 

So we had to learn a lot for our business and we had to implement a couple of things here and there.

CF: Could you tell us more about your company’s aspirations and plans for the future?

JK: At Minute5 we plan to be able to get into and become more hands-on as currently we work with vendors, market vendors and farmers, who do the fulfillment on our behalf. 

What we have come to realize is we need to setup our own retail outlet that will support this farmer. Usually these farmers lose close to 30% of the food they grow, this is because of poor handling and poor storage of the food. 

With retailer outlets that have cold storage facilities. we shall be able to preserve food that would have gone bad and then be able to sell that food to companies. 

So one, will improve the amount of money that the farmers can be able to earn but also improve the quality that we are going to be able to guarantee our customers.

CF: Lastly, you have been on the entrepreneurship journey for quite some time, there are young people who are starting out. Could you give them a word of advice on how they can get started in relation to the challenges you have faced so far.

JK:  I believe my advice to anyone who wants to start a business is to get into it right away. We usually want to have a perfect start, and in entrepreneurship, it’s not usually that way. 

It’s very hard to get a perfect start, to have a perfect start, you need to have capital, you have to have a big team right away. If we start right away with what you have, we shall be able to learn from the market and build what is necessary. 

We shall be able to work with and find people who will only build the team and not break the team. I believe, entrepreneurs should start right away with whatever they want to do.



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