Ugandan company streamlines vehicle maintenance through online platform

Edrine Ssempebwa

SpareWo is a Ugandan e-commerce platform that sells automotive spare parts from partner merchants. The company was started in 2017. Co-founder Edrine Ssempebwa (29) answers our questions.

1. Give us your elevator pitch.

Millions of Africans suffer a lot with the maintenance of their vehicles largely as a result of a disorganised and unprofessional automotive repair industry. Through our online platform, we provide quality convenient automotive services. At SpareWo, all your automotive needs are a click away.

2. How did you finance your startup?

The directors contributed the initial funding that helped create and design the first iteration of our online platform.

3. If you were given $1 million to invest in your company now, where would it go?

The biggest percentage would go to creating a world-class mobile application to improve the user experience and make placing orders much easier.

We would also invest in human resources; to grow the operations team and increase the efficiency of service provision. We would also grow our marketing and advertising to reach more potential clients.

4. What risks does your business face?

Our primary risk is the entry of a direct competitor. Other risks include failure to meet all orders owing to limited human resources, as well as damaged products that cannot be easily assessed and vetted.

A SpareWo partner merchant attending to a customer’s vehicle.

5. So far, what has proven to be the most successful form of marketing?

Our marketing has been largely through social and digital media as our target market is internet savvy and active on social media. It is also the most affordable, has the best returns on investment and has served us well through our numerous promotions and campaigns.

6. Describe your most exciting entrepreneurial moment.

Our most exciting entrepreneurial moment was 2 November 2019, when we won second place in the New Venture Competition at Wharton School of Business, Philadelphia.

7. Tell us about your biggest mistake.

Our biggest mistake was starting non-contract partnerships with supplying merchants. This made it difficult to return defective products. We had to rectify this by creating contracts and terms and conditions which all the merchants had to sign to continue working with us; it was a tough process.

8. In addition to your own industry, name one untapped business opportunity in Africa.

Revolutionising agriculture. Agriculture is one of the largest sectors in Africa but also the most rudimentary as many of the systems rely on dated brick and mortar solutions. This presents a big opportunity for tech to improve the agri sector while making a profit. There are opportunities everywhere, including apps that help farmers track their performance; raw material delivery systems; marketplaces that sell their produce; and many more.

SpareWo CEO contact information

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