Bella Wine, a brand conceived in the kitchen

Prudence Ukkonika Busingye, proprietor of Bella Wine
Prudence Ukkonika Busingye displays some of her wine varieties in her shop in Wandegeya. Courtesy Photo/Daily Monitor/Rachel Mabala.

Prudence Ukkonika Busingye’s Bella Wine is becoming a household brand after over ten years of massive marketing but she says she is yet to make money from it.

Her claim would surprise many given that Bella Wine can be found in supermarkets in Uganda and other East African countries. Ugandan entrepreneurs would be most surprised — going by the habit where one would go for a holiday on attaining first profit.

But Ukkonika insists that she has not during a recent interview with this publication at the CHOGM gardens. She was one of the women exhibiting their products at the Women in Agriculture week exhibition hosted by Parliament of Uganda.

One of her beliefs is that if one does something that they haven’t learnt, they reach a point and they get defeated.

Ukkonika says she has learnt that for any entrepreneur, the goal is to turn a profit but how one spends that profit will determine whether business flourishes or struggles to survive.

So when Ukkonika started the winery, she realized that she needed some more education. So she went back to school at Makerere University Business School for a degree in Business Administration opting for management.

One of the core skills she says she got from her Business Administration class were packaging and branding among others. And that has paid off going by the way she has branded her wines.

Bella Wine is the only locally produced wines that are packaged in casks or box wine as it is sometimes referred to.

Another trick that Ukkonika has mastered is marketing the product. While walking through the Women and Agriculture Exhibition, our reporter did not have any intention to visit Bella Wine exhibition Stall.

But Ukkonika spotted the journalist from a distance as he took photographs. On a bright sunny day, Ukkonika was standing in front of her exhibition stall. She shouted at the journalist saying, “You mean our products are not beautiful to be photographed?” as she pointed to colorful bottles and wine casks. Ukkonika then smiled realizing she had achieved another of her goals.

It is then that she captured the attention to narrate her business fortune which she insists is yet to reach where she wants it to be.

The East African market is yet to satisfy Ukkonika who says she was born in Rukunngiri and is now married to Northern Uganda.

Starting from humble beginnings in 2010 inside her kitchen, Ukkonika tells this publication what inspired her.

The business that was started with as little as one hundred thousand shillings producing five litres of wine, now has over fifty thousand litres per year from a factory located in Namugongo, outside Kampala.

So for Prudence Ukkonika Busingye, running a business should not involve adhoc financial decisions. She has learnt that what you do with profits must be deliberately thought out and must be part of your overall business plan.