Stephen Arinitwe, CEO Aristeph Entrepreneurs Centre: “I Started With A Capital Of Fourteen Dollars”

Stephen Arinitwe, CEO Aristeph Entrepreneurs Centre: “I Started With A Capital Of Fourteen Dollars

Young visionary Stephen Arinitwe knows all too well the struggles children in Uganda face on a daily basis. However, rather than feel self-pity, Arinitwe decided to start his own business with the main purpose to give the children of his homeland both hope and purpose.

“I was not inspired to start with something good. What inspired me was a bad situation, but as an entrepreneur problems and challenges are a source of opportunities…”

Arinitwe is the founding member and CEO of Aristeph Entrepreneurs Center East Africa (ASTEC E.A), a social enterprise that was started in the year 2008 and fully registered in September 2011. Arinitwe established ASTEC because he felt that he could contribute towards helping the young people in Uganda develop their future.

Together with his straff, Arinitwe trains youth how to make a variety of products from local materials including paper bags, candles, and soap detergents. So far, his project has trained over 5,000 people. With their newly acquired skills, youth are able to pay their school fees, take care of their families and eventually establish their own companies.

“We have a problem in Uganda. Parents have failed to provide career guidance to their children. They have also failed to get a right way to mentor their children. I said to myself, I can do something to help these children earn a living.” Arinitwe continues: “I think the unemployment related challenges and problems being faced by many Ugandans is one of the biggest obstacles limiting the growth and the development of our country. Our country’s education teaching methodology is more theoretical than practical. The number of graduates who are unemployed months after leaving university has reached a worrying level. They are not practicing what they learnt from their respective institutions, which is a shame.”

Today, Aristeph Entrepreneurs Center East Africa is one of the leading social entrepreneurial change makers in the country with three practical social entrepreneurial academies: Astec Mega Media Academy, Entrepreneurial Academy, and ICT Academy.

Arinitwe’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Over the years, ASTEC has been featured in different media and Arinitwe has received several entrepreneurial awards, nominations and plenty of acclaim for his work.

Since 2008, Arinitwe is an Alumni Member of Junior Achievement Uganda, an organization that promotes youth entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial education among young people. His entrepreneurial spirit has led him to win the Annual Young Achievers Awards in both 2009 and 2011.

In 2013, Arinitwe received international recognition by One Young World in Johannesburg. During the event 1,250 delegates from 190 countries attended and Sir Richard Branson made his first appearance as a One Young World Counsellor while Winnie Mandela addressed the delegation during the Closing Ceremony. Arinitwe was a proud flag bearer for Uganda.

“Once you understand what lifestyle choices are crippling you from living to your full potential you are able to make a change for the better. I started with a capital of fourteen dollars in the year 2008. Can you believe that?”

About The Author

Stephen Arinitwe
Arinitwe is the founding member and CEO of Aristeph Entrepreneurs Center East Africa (ASTEC E.A), a social enterprise that was started in the year 2008 and fully registered in September 2011. Arinitwe established ASTEC because he felt that he could contribute towards helping the young people in Uganda develop their future.

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Header picture by Ed.

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