Titus Mawano is the founder of Ffene, an award-winning business management platform that helps Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Africa merge their financial tasks in one application.
He can be described in very many ways; dark skinned, handsome, intelligent, Ugandan. But a drop out? Well, that too. Just that it doesn’t in anyway define who he has become.
The young Ugandan entrepreneur dropped out of college to pursue his dream, he counted the cost and when the time was ripe, he sensed it and immediately set out to do exploit.
Titus quit college in 2011, and with the little knowledge of computer he had acquired in the United States, he launched his business. In his interview with How We Made it in Africa, he says;
“I thought that I had mastered enough skills to begin what I wanted to work on when I started my career – and that was creating a business management tool that would assist SMEs so I took the last year off and came back [to Uganda] and told myself that if my business idea doesn’t work out I will go back to studying. But it worked out.”
And like he envisioned, the tiny seed has now grown into a mighty forest. In less than a year of operation, Mawano was awarded a US$10,000 prize after Ffene was selected as one of three winners in the Apps4Africa 2012 challenge. And in 2013, the bourgeoning entrepreneur won second place and $15,000 in the 2013 Anzisha Prize, a competition that recognises and celebrates Africa’s youngest entrepreneurs.
One thing was clear, he was determined and didn’t face one major challenge that most young entrepreneurs face; lack of proper mentorship. As a teenager, he learnt a great deal from his parents who were successful entrepreneurs.
“Both of my parents are entrepreneurs so growing up I knew what the challenges were for SMEs in Uganda.”
Ffene has become a one stop shop for SME’s who desire to be more organized and keep up with Technology developments. Titus found that the major challenge that poses a lot of limitation on many SMEs today is inadequate financial record keeping. Even the few entrepreneurs who try to keep records usually store them manually in a book. A very tiring process. This challenge is what Titus has arisen to curb with his brilliant initiative.
Today, Ffene serves about 600 companies. The software runs on both desktop and mobile devices and is sold for USh. 30,000 ($12) a month, with special packages and plans to SMEs depending on their needs and situations.
Titus Mawano has done well for himself, Uganda and indeed Africa. His passion for his vocation can be heard clearly in his voice as he encourages other young entrepreneurs.
“It’s all about good strategy and it’s all about improvising with what you have. Really, the [best tool] is creativity. If you are a creative person, then you are going to figure it out,” he says plainly.
“If you are not a very creative person – and have your own distinct set of skills – then get someone who is creative on your team. That is the best value that you are going to get. It’s not the money, it’s not the networking. It’s really about creativity. If you have a very creative team around you then pretty much anything that comes your way you are going to be able to knock down.”