From the blog

Federico Tonelli: from Italy to Uganda for fish farming

Federico Tonelli is a young entrepreneur from Italy that after getting his degree in International Finance in Milan went for an internship to Uganda and decided to stay there and run with international partners iFishFarm. This enterprise is based on Lake Victoria and carries out cage fish farming of Tilapia.

To improve his entrepreneurial skills, Federico has attended the 1st edition of E4Impact MBA at Uganda Martyrs University in Kampala:“I’ve enrolled in this MBA to expose my business to a new network and to develop it further. iFishFarm is based on technology, in particular Metajua, a software that uses Big Data for local agriculture.”

1. How was your Business Idea born?
It originates from a program aimed at setting up inclusive businesses on Bugala Island to impact the local fishing communities. Fish Farming came up from a survey we conducted interacting with communities and stakeholders.

2. How can your business improve the life of the beneficiaries of your activities? 
iFishFarm is now employing 8 local workers, but we hope it will employ more than 200 people in 4 years and our employees will be part of a shares incentive plan that will see them participating in the shareholding of the company, with all the benefits this involves in case of a successful venture. On top of this, employees are carefully trained in the activities of fish farming and in the future might be encouraged to start their own small scale farm as well, to enhance to employment capacity of the fish farming industry on the island.

3. What has been the main challenge you had to overcome in your entrepreneurial experience?
The main challenge was communication related, we solved it by selecting a local partner that was identified in a well-established and respected local association; this enabled us to improve communication and eased the setting up of our company.

4. In your opinion, what are the main qualities an entrepreneur should have?
An entrepreneur should be persistence, charismatic and diplomatic.

“We will employ more than 200 people in 4 years
and our employees will be part of a shares incentive plan”

5. Is there a person you are inspired by, i.e. an entrepreneur or a particular mentor?
Yes, I became part of an association of entrepreneurs to be exposed to an entrepreneurial environment; there I met mentors and entrepreneurs that guided and supported me a lot.

6. What would you suggest to a new-born entrepreneur?
Don’t be afraid to ask!

7. Could you tell us a particular satisfactory moment you had in your entrepreneurial activity?
When we obtained an open license to do aquaculture in Uganda. But in general I think the best achievement is when you start to realize you are actually employing people and improving their lives.

8. Could you tell us what you think about our MBA? 
I am a strong supporter of this program and I take some pride from it being an Italian initiative. Finally, I have already done business (with money, not words) with 2 of my classmates. One designed and built my cages with new materials and with another…. well, it is a business secret!

Learn more on iFishFarm

Facebook page: iFishFarm
Twitter account: @iFishFarm

To read the story of Federico in Italian visit www.vadoinafrica.com


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