Betty Ikalany graduated from the SE Outreach Accelerator one year ago and a lot has happened since then. She’s won international awards, worked with MIT to develop her cookstoves and increased her sales with over 500%. We had the privilege of visiting Betty and her team at their office in Uganda to talk about dreams, challenges and how to keep believing in yourself when you feel like giving up.
What has been your biggest success in the past year?
One of the big successes is that we now have our own office! We’ve moved 10 times in just three years, so in December last year we said that with the little money we have, we need to get our own office. Even if it’s small, at least it’s ours.
Also, being women and being able to run a business for more than two years – I feel that’s a success because there are so many challenges for women here. The other day I had a very big argument with a bank manager because I’d previously applied for a loan, but I never got one. Every single day he kept on asking me “where is your husband?”. I said to him “what does it matter? Do you need a husband to access a loan? I’m accessing a loan as Betty, not because I’m someone’s wife!” I told him “all I want is a loan, if you can’t give me a loan then I’ll go.” So in the end I left because he couldn’t give me one, but now after some years he’s seen us continuing our work successfully without his loan and now he’s asking if we want one. So the fact that we have been able to come [...]