How a Ugandan Radio Journalist is building a travel tech startup to promote community tourism

54homes

With the penetration of smart phones and a growing access to internet in Africa, traditional businesses are facing major disruptions from startups like 54HOMES.

Stephen Okhutu, a Ugandan radio journalist, is among the startup founders who are involved in creating these disruptions. Identify by his wide contagious wide smile, Okhutu who looked already successful with his project told our Staff Writer how he started building 54homes and why he thinks it is what Africa needs.

“In 2016 my business had collapsed leaving me with no major source of income. As a result I had a lot of financial problems in my house. At the time when I most needed the comfort of a friend, my wife left me for another man and she went with my little daughter. This was the toughest moment in my life. It was also the moment which gave me strength never to lose focus on my vision. The only option to save my marriage at that time was to find a job. I however insisted on building a company” Okhutu revealed sounding somehow emotional.

He noted that the idea of disrupting the accommodation sector started in 2016 when he travelled Uganda as a business trainer and failed to easily find a good guesthouse to stay in. Most of the places, he adds, were either booked up or dirty

“One day I went to Kamuli town to deploy a computer network for a school. I asked a boda boda rider to take me to the best low cost guesthouse. I ended up sharing the room with bugs and roaches” Okhutu Mused.

The idea of building an online platform where all good secure low cost guesthouses, according to Okhutu was adopted to create a system where an average African traveler can find a descent place to stay without spending too much money.

At the time when I most needed the comfort of a friend, my wife left me for another man and she went with my little daughter. This was the toughest moment in my life. It was also the moment which gave me strength never to lose focus on my vision.

Stephen Okhutu on what he went through to build Bookablehood Ltd

Who is Stephen Okhutu

Stephen Okhutu, The CEO and Co-founder of Bookablehood Ltd which manages 54HOMES.

Stephen Okhutu has been a radio journalist in Uganda since 2003. He has worked with major radio stations like radio Sapientia 94.4 FM and Radio One 90 FM. He is currently volunteering as a Radio presenter on Dunamis Radio 103 FM where he does a weekly business talk show program to sensitize the community on the good principles and practices of starting and growing a business.

Born in Katovu, a remote village of Kasawo subcounty in Mukono district, Okhutu has been building a number of businesses. Most of them have failed. He however attributes his business success on these failures saying they helped him to learn from his past mistakes and drove him to getting more knowledge that can trail him to doing successful ventures.

54homes is a travel tech startup managed by Bookablehood Ltd. It is an online platform where travelers can book low cost guesthouse rooms in Africa.

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