The Inspiring journey of Gloria Kyarisiima, an educationist and entrepreneur who is passionate about clean and healthy environments.

Gloria Kyarisiima was one of the winners of the 6th season of dfcu Bank’s Rising Woman Initiative. She is the founder of GBK Super Cleaning & General Services Ltd, a distinct cleaning, landscaping and waste management and pest control company. Gloria shares the inspiring story about her business and how she has benefited from participating in the Rising Woman Initiative.

1. Please tell us about your background and the journey that has led to where you are today as a Rising Woman Winner.

My journey started when I saw the call for women entrepreneurs to participate in the 2024 Rising Woman competition. The competition called for people who were already engaged in business with the interest of creating social impact in their communities.

GBK is sustainable driven, and I felt the need to participate in Rising Woman because my major aim is to close the unemployment gap and end poverty while offering efficient and professional services to the corporate sector.

The timing was perfect for me to participate. I wrote my proposal and fortunately made it to the top 20. I was then invited to defend my proposal and pitch my business and ended up among the top 10 winners.

2. In what industry are you building your business and why did you choose that specific industry?

I am building my business in the institutional and industrial cleaning industry. We clean and maintain a healthy environment for commercial establishments of all sizes and types. I chose this industry out of passion for clean spaces as well as to satisfy the rise in demand for professional cleaning services especially after COVID season.

3. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur? Are there specific experiences or moments that shaped your path?

This business started during the COVID pandemic. I am a teacher by profession, and during that season, schools were closed and as educationists, we lost jobs. Fortunately, with COVID came the opportunity and demand for cleaning services. That said, I am very passionate about cleanliness, so I quickly realized that there was no better person to jump at this opportunity. That is how GBK super cleaning and general services was born.

4. How has the mentorship and support from the Rising Woman initiative influenced your journey and impacted you?

It has been very great to meet fellow entrepreneurs through the Rising Woman initiative. Through the mentorship program I have learnt so many lessons, but what I can highlight is learning to separate myself from the business and creating processes and systems. I have also learnt how to create strategic goals and write them down as opposed to keeping them in my head. Through Rising Woman, I have also learnt how to manage conflicts within my company and business partners. I am so grateful to dfcu Bank, Nation Media Group, Uganda Airlines and other partners for the opportunity.

5. What advice would you give to other women aspiring to make a mark in your industry, especially with the challenges that might exist?

My advice to women aspiring to excel in the cleaning industry is to first and foremost focus on learning. Learning never ends. I would also tell them that the cake is big enough for everyone. They should not feel like they aren’t capable of doing and achieving anything.

6. You recently travelled to Nairobi for a study tour courtesy of Rising Woman. What was your experience and your most defining moment of the visit?

The trip to Nairobi was very enlightening and eye opening. I enjoyed networking with many women entrepreneurs who are doing great things in Kenya. The trip made me realize that there are better business practices that women doing business in Uganda can adopt. One of the key lessons for me was the power of collaboration with other entrepreneurs in the same industry. Women in Kenya work together. They do not only see one another as competitors but as people to collaborate with; they refer work to one another whenever they are unable to deliver a piece of work to a client.

Another lesson was to price for my services appropriately. Since I can deliver high quality services, I should not be shy about charging appropriately.

In addition to that, I am in business to make money. It is very important to understand and track our business financials. We often make money but cannot figure out where it has gone, and in the long run can lose our businesses.

7. The Rising Woman award celebrates not just individual achievements but also the potential for positive change in communities. How do you give back or contribute to causes that are important to you?

Definitely. I wish we could change how we handle and dispose garbage in this country. I would like to start a few community initiatives to have coded garbage bins in trading centers to separate our garbage; so that we can recycle. This will also help us counter the climate change that we are currently facing.

8. What advice do you have for a female entrepreneur who would like to participate in the Rising Woman Initiative?

If I had it my way, I would have every woman in the country to come and participate in the Rising Woman Initiative. This is not just about winning money. There is a lot to learn from the initiative that can propel any woman who is interested in starting and running a successful business such as writing a proposal. On its own, the ability to write a proposal alone can move your business from one level to another.

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