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Born in the rural area of Mbale, Uganda, Andrew moved to Kampala on a half bursary to study at an advanced level. It later became a hurdle to cater for his needs while at school after his parents became unemployed. In 2008, at the age of 16, Andrew saw a market opportunity in creating paper bags. As the Ugandan government leaned towards a ban on use of polythene plastic bags,  Andrew decided to venture into an environmentally friendly project of paper bag production.

With no initial capital, Andrew cleaned the environment by collecting used plastic bottles and sold them to a plastic recycling plant. After he had raised his initial seed capital of 36,000 Ugandan shillings ($18), he soon started making paper bags at a small scale while still in high school.

In 2010, Andrew registered his new company, Youth Entrepreneurial Link Investments (YELI). YELI is now the first local registered paper bag and envelope producing company in Uganda. His business has grown to employ 22 people, the eldest of which is 53. YELI’s customer base includes local hospitals, retail shops, roadside sellers, super markets, and major local flour manufacturer companies like Maganjo grain millers and Akamai Foods. YELI was the recipient of a 2.6 million Ugandan shilling ($1,000) ILO business plan competition. From his earnings, Andrew is able to pay for his bachelor’s degree in commerce at Makerere University, pay salaries for his staff, and support his family in Mbale by opening up a distribution outlet of bags and envelopes for his mother to sell. In addition to managing his growing enterprise, Andrew has found time to train over 500 individuals, mostly young people, on how to make paper bags through which 16 other projects have been set up. His personal goal is to employ 60 people by 2015 and set up a paper bag making plant in order to achieve a vision of a cleaner Africa.

Andrew now employs a total of 22 people, and has diversified his line to include gift bags.  He is the recipient of 2012 FERD Award for Social Entrepreneur of the Year.

Andrew has been featured as on VenturesAfrica, CNN and has been recognized by Tony Elemelu for the Tony Elemelu Prize in Business Award in 2014.

 

2023

Africa’s top 5 entrepreneurs in the waste recycling business

News NGR

03/06/2023

Uncollected trash is a very big problem in developing regions of the world, especially Africa. According to a World Bank Urban Development Series report, Africa currently produces just about 70 million tons of waste every year. With its rapid urbanization and growing economies, waste production in Africa will exceed 160 million tons by the year 2025. Let’s meet Africa’s top entrepreneurs who have mastered the science of making money from trash.

2020

Breaking Down Funding Barriers For Young Entrepreneurs

Africa.com

27/11/2020

FACT: Access to finance is difficult for any entrepreneur. It is particularly difficult if you are very young, with deep credibility and trust factors at play. According to Dr Adesina Akinwunmi, the Executive Director at African Development Bank Group, “Young people face numerous institutional barriers when sourcing funding for their ventures. Often the funding arrives a little too late, particularly under the current turbulent economic conditions.” The Young Entrepreneur’s Fund created by the Anzisha Prize is a “guaranteed follow” fund that will match investments into ventures led by pre-vetted graduates of African Leadership Academy programs. This Fund is designed to incentivise investments into young entrepreneurs in Africa through an innovative revenue-linked debt instrument.

Anzisha Prize launches mini-documentary series to enable educators around the world to share African entrepreneurship success stories

Africa Ports

26/08/2020

#ItStartsWithYou sheds light on eight very young Africans whose passions, commitments and grit showcase what it means to embark on an entrepreneurial journey at a young age. The documentaries reveal new role models for other youth who might be considering entrepreneurship. Through the series, the Anzisha Prize is intentional in highlighting the importance of support from parents, educators, investors and policymakers if young people are to make successful transitions to entrepreneurship – as well as sharing key moments that are instrumental in each entrepreneur’s story.

An Entrepreneur In Uganda Is ‘Making The Paper’ With Paper – And He Started In High School

Wee tracker

12/04/2020

“Paper Bag King,” “Paper Bag Emperor” – those aren’t lines from some contemporary hip-hop track by some wannabe rap star. They are monikers for award-winning Ugandan entrepreneur, Andrew Mupuya, who is the founder of Youth Entrepreneurial Link Investments (YELI); which claims to be the first registered paper bag company in Uganda. YELI manufactures paper bags and envelopes for individuals and organizations. The company’s products can be found in supermarkets, restaurants, and medical centres in Kampala, and at the helm of its affairs is a certain youngster who had the foresight to identify opportunity long before it became evident and the tenacity to take advantage of it too.

Race to find new young African entrepreneurs starts

News vision

19/02/2020

Young Ugandan entrepreneurs aged 22 years or younger have a chance to vie for the 2020 Anzisha Prize that recognizes young people with inspiring business ideas. A total of 20 finalists will compete for the grand prize $25,000 (sh91m), with $15,000 (sh54.5m) the First runner-up, and the Second runner-up $12,500 (sh45.4m). Each of the finalists will receive $2,500 (sh9m) and fellows will receive business consulting support and coaching services by a team of industry experts. The prize is open to very young African entrepreneurs who have founded or co-founded a running business in any sector on the continent. Young African entrepreneurs between the ages of 15-22 years old, who are running job-generative businesses, are encouraged to apply before March 31, 2020.

2019

HOW TO BECOME A REVENUE-RAKING STARTUP IN 2019

Dispora Connex

22/04/2019

There’s no intention to make it look like so much of a biggie, but the truth has to be said. 2018 is fast-ending, and once the New Year begins, umpteen entrepreneurs will be looking to break into markets, expanding and all sorts of 2019-is-the-year kind of business moves. There’s no doubt that the African economic ecosystem will have to make room for more entrepreneurs because this year could have been for some a water-testing period, as they would want to call on all forces necessary just to get to the top of the startup chain. But before you take that quantum leap in 2019, perhaps taking a look at which sectors made the most millionaires this year could ultimately make even the tiniest step you take make your to-be company’s revenue looking like a premium phone number.

2013

DIARY OF AN UNDER 30 CEO: THE PAPER BAG EMPEROR

Ventures Africa

31/08/2013

Still, the Ugandan paper bag emperor still believes he has not yet arrived. Despite all the current achievements, Youth Entrepreneurial Link Investments (YELI) is warming-up to future success and is generating some buzz. It’s just a start. Still, even with that much production, the future is what Andrew Mupuya is sniffing at. His future battles will be won if by 2015 he would be employing 60 people and has built a paper bag-making plant that would result in a cleaner Africa, whose beautiful landscape is free of the litter of plastic bags.

2023

Mohamed Gandoh Jalloh

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Amanda Patience

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2022

Joseph Ssempebwa

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Gaoagwe Jeje ​

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2021

Renata Silva

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Ali Ould Mohamed

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