Andrew Ddembe, the founder of a conglomerate of businesses called Heart for the Hurt is a serial entrepreneur who manages a seasonality of businesses in Textile making, Restaurants, and Coffee production. His first business started off when he realised that there were not enough uniform suppliers in his community. So he used the profits made off the sales of his maiden novel, The Monster in me, written at 14 in 2011 as starting capital. Starting on a small scale, he mobilised local youth skilled in art, printing, and embroidery as employees, then moved on to Kampala where he started the BNK restaurant, and most recently, has ventured into coffee growing in Buikwe.
Although his primary focus is on strengthening his textile company, his three different ventures are all tied to one common goal – creating sustainable enterprises that benefit the community and create job opportunities for the disadvantaged members of the community. Presently he employs 30 people, of which 14 of them are individuals with speech difficulties who primarily work on his most recent venture, his coffee farm; impacting people who are typically ostracized in his community. Apart from his profit making enterprises, he now runs two charities– one for cancer, the other for speech difficulty. Andrew believes in diversification as a means to being successful.
His businesses combat the high rate of unemployment in Uganda by employing many young people. And despite challenges involved with funding, marketing, transport logistics, and the desire for imported uniforms over locally made, Andrew dreams to expand are immense. He desires to be the top uniform maker and distributor in Ugandan schools –catering for over 9 million students. Andrew also sees his restaurant metamorphose into a hotel and his coffee business grow exponentially.
Andrew said, “I got touched when one of my friends, a stutterer, was denied a job due to her natural condition. I got inspired to start something that employs stutterers.”