Sentongo Segawa Haruna is only 30, but in less than two decades, the Ugandan-born deviant entrepreneur has accomplished what only few attain in their lifetime. Sentongo began his entrepreneurial journey about 15 years ago as a high school student in Uganda where he sold ladies’ hand bags in Kampala on retail. That small trading operation snowballed into the Haruna Enterprises U Ltd, a diversified conglomerate with approximately $16 million in annual revenue employing over 650 people, according to Sentongo.
Haruna Enterprises has operations in: Real Estate, Health and Fitness services, Entertainment, Hospitality, General Merchandise and manufacturing, and Sentongo didn’t inherit anything but built everything from scratch.
He also plans to build a 213.4 meters/700 feet tall, 28 floor 5-star multi business plaza at an estimated cost of US$250 Million at Nakasero hill of Kampala city, in the next few years.
Haruna was born on 30 November 1987 in Kalungu town, then in Masaka District, present day Kalungu District in greater Masaka region of Central Uganda.
His father, Hajji Segawa Haruna, is an established businessman and no wonder his children followed his footprints. Hajji Segawa encouraged his children early on to do business and supported them.
Sentongo attended primary school in Masaka and joined Kabojja international School for O ‘level, and finished A ‘level at East high Ntinda. He joined Makerere university before starting his real estate business. It was at University that Haruna started his company, Haruna Enterprises (U) Ltd.
Haruna Enterprises (U) Ltd, a Ugandan based private conglomerate was founded by Sentongo Haruna in the early 2000s as a briefcase company. The company started as a business dealing in import and sales of general merchandise inclusive of garments and hand bags from, USA, Thailand, Vietnam, and China among other countries, supplying them to Uganda, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Southern Sudanese through wholesale and retail.
Sentongo later engaged in furniture trade importing and distributing office, hotel and household furniture through the great lakes countries basing form a shop at Ben Kiwanuka Street in Kampala. He would later buy commercial plots in different suburbs around Kampala.
The company got formally incorporated in 2011 and started erecting properties on the acquired plots; starting with Haruna Towers in Wandegeya. In 2014, Sentongo through his company concentrated in Kisenyi and started Mass transformation in that area to-date.
The Company now own a number of Commercial properties around Kampala City, some of which include: Haruna Towers Wandegeya, Haruna Shopping Mall Ntinda, Haruna Towers Kisenyi, Nakayiza Market Kisenyi, N.M Apartments Kisenyi, Segawa Market in Kisenyi, Haruna Agro-Market in Kisenyi and a number of yet to be developed plots in Nakasero, Munyonyo and other Kampala Suburbs.
Haruna Enterprises currently houses over 2000 businesses and organizations in its buildings around Kampala which in turn serve over 10,000 customers within Uganda and the neighboring countries. The company employs over 650 people with a range of jobs from office to casual.
The Company has also won numerous Kampala Capital City Authority awards for the support of the carnival and other authority activities.
In 2015 Haruna Imported and installed 7D, 5D and 3D Cinemas and successfully launched the business to the Community under the trade name of Han Cinemas in Ntinda.
Han Fitness Centers
Haruna also ventured into the health & fitness business, setting up a chain of Fitness Centers in different suburbs around Kampala with sauna and steam, trading as Han Fitness Centers.
Haruna started manufacturing and processing: Bottled Mineral water (View Water, Soft Beverages (Salaam Juice), Skin Care Products (Cash and Roxy Beauty Products) and a range of House hold Consumables among which include: Hand Sanitizers, Laundry and toilet Soap, Candles, Confectionaries among others through a number of factories, based in Nakatema off Nsangi Masaka Road operated under View Investments (U) Ltd the water plant currently produces over 250,000 600ml bottles per day.
Haruna Operates a stocked bond of cars, dealing in both new and used Japanese, Europe cars, Located next to Housing finance bank in Nakasero.
Changing the face of Kisenyi Slum
About 10 years ago, Kisenyi slum in Central Division, Kampala City, was associated with crime, mostly drug abuse and robbery.
“You would not walk through many places in the slum after 10pm,” says Mr Siraj Lubwama, a resident of the area, adding that by that time thugs would start “patrolling” the area.
The area was also characterised by a big population, congested informal settlements and poor sanitation.
“In fact most people there did not have toilets. They often used polythene bags to dispose of refuse, which they would by the roadside,” Lubwama adds.
But the current towering shopping malls with bustling businesses, which have grown over time, gives the area an impressive outlook, making it one of the city’s fastest growing slums.
The businesses are reinforced by the growing infrastructure and transportation businesses. Business arcades are erected on every road while the area also accommodates three bus terminals and two taxi parks.
Prominent among the businesses there are Nakayiza Market, N.M Apartments and Haruna Towers, which are located in Mengo-Kisenyi.
The businesses are owned by Mr Haruna Sentongo under his umbrella company, Haruna Enterprises with a valued worth of over $420 Million.
Nakayiza Market, which sells agro produce, has become popular among the residents of the slum. “Some of these traders bring farm produce from the village and add value at the milling companies here because Nakayiza market is known market for agro produce,” Isaac Newton, the property manager at Nakayiza Market, says.
The businesses in Kisenyi are reinforced by the growing infrastructure and transportation businesses
Segawa Market, which is next to Nakayiza Market, specializes in selling spare parts for bicycles, motorcycles, motorcars and other small machinery. It boasts of 500 spacious shops, many of them still available.
Mr Haruna says he noticed that Kisenyi needed to develop to match city standards.
As Uganda’s population grows, we also strive to meet growing demand for business,” he says.
“We continuously seek and develop new business areas; employing state-of-the-art techniques in addition to innovation and creativity thereby retaining our market leadership. As a world-class organisation, we understand that we exist to serve and satisfy our customers,” Mr Sentongo says.
He adds that already, he is eyeing more developments in Kampala, having acquired land in Nakasero, Nakivubo, Munyonyo and Kisementi.
“We handle all matters relating to real estate purchase, leasing and maintenance and we efficiently and effectively manage our properties. We work with government agencies and other external regulatory bodies on all matters relating to land and property matters,” Sentongo says.
Dr Charles Koojo Amooti, an urban planning expert, says the growth of Kisenyi is informed by the principle of taxation and invasion as used in urban planning. He also says as the city expands, the investors tend to identify free space in slums, pay landlords and redevelop the land hence increasing its value.
Haruna is now the industry leader in meeting the growing needs for creative
Businesses’ accommodation as well as Commercial Renting services