Patricia Bitature is demystifying stereotypes about women in business one company at a time. Although the smart, driven and humble entrepreneur is determined to succeed she is unwilling to sacrifice or compromise her values. Born on October 28th, 1989 at Paddington Hospital, London to Patrick and Carol Bitature the stunning entrepreneur grew up in Kampala and attended school in South Africa for a year before moving back to England to complete the rest of her education. She graduated with a Degree in Business Administration and Education from Keele University.
“I worked for a biogas Maize farm and out growers scheme in Gulu for a few months then interned at a bank for a few months. I identified a need for an independent company to take over the management of the property arm of Simba group so I started Tateru Properties. Sonia Kichonco-Rees a seasoned property consultant with vibrant energy volunteered to join me as a partner and mentor. Simba group was our first client but now we have many more.”
Changing the game
“Tateru is a sales and lettings agency in Greater Kampala that also offers management and advisory services. The property industry in Uganda is changing and growing very fast and this is an exciting time to be involved. We are partners with Lamudi, the largest online real estate marketing platform in East Africa and won a best large agency award with the within 6 months of operations. With Tateru up and running I noticed inefficiency in the maintenance of the properties we managed. Everyone in Kampala has ‘a guy’ who fixes your lights or plumbs or paints etc. However the system is not reliable. The workers are not certified, they do not keep time, and they may steal from you or even make the issue worse than how they found it. So together with Arnold Kawesa, a young and entrepreneurial construction expert we started Handy256Men Uganda. We have a database of experienced and reliable servicemen in different fields, painting, plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, landscaping, locksmiths, tiling etc. The Handymen system is 24hrs a day 365 days a year. Our servicemen are dispatched quickly and with a supervisor. The clients and managers get daily reports and updates on all work done. We now have several hotels, restaurants, apartment buildings and private residents as loyal clients. I work as the Chief business development officer for Tateru Properties and Handy256Men Uganda.”
“It all began with me helping out my family. It felt good to take some of the stress off of my parents and to bring new ideas to the group as a whole. After a few months of living and working in Uganda I began to see things differently. I tasked myself to fixing these systems starting with those in my line of work because I believe that it is the responsibility of the more fortunate to empower and encourage the less fortunate. This is the way we can build a stronger nation together. It is important to start small and learn as you grow. We deserve reliable and efficient services and in many places you now see business owners striving for it.”
The biggest challenge is earning people’s respect because I am a young woman in a male dominated field. There is always shock on men’s faces when they realize that the young girl in pink boots is actually ‘the boss’. The patronizing changes instantly after interacting with me and realizing that I know what I am doing. Sometimes I will be with a male colleague and clients or brokers will just assume I’m an assistant and speak directly to him. Although I find this entertaining I hope that society changes so that our daughters must never be mistaken for assistants to their male colleagues just because of their gender.
Another challenge I face doing business in the developing world is order and efficiency. We have an especially lax attitude in Uganda and things move much slowly. As much as we are a nation gifted by nature we need to light a fire under our people and be more ‘chap chap’ like our friends across the border.”
Juggling business and pleasure
very grateful for my youth because for now I can burn the candle at both ends; I try to eat healthy and keep active so that I can work hard and play hard. I have an amazing support system, and that enables me to do what I do. Having great friends and an extended family means there is always someone to laugh or cry with or to distract you with a birthday party or a weekend away. I may be in my first quarter of life but I’m aware life is short, so I try to do what I want as often as possible- in every aspect of my life I try to live it to the fullest.”
“I would like to move into a more social entrepreneurial space and maybe do some consultancy. I am also currently working towards being a part of the education effort in Uganda. In the next five years I hope to be wiser and more qualified so I can work directly with young entrepreneurs and help them in any way I can.”
Word of advice
“Always keep moving forward. Little by little, one step at a time you can travel a great distance. You must make sure you believe in what you are doing. It won’t be easy and you can never be completely prepared but take it one day at a time and don’t get overwhelmed or plan too far ahead. Don’t let anyone’s attitudes; looks or comments get to you. You need to keep positive and supportive people in your life, not yes-men but people who care about you and will call you out when need be, but ultimately only want to see you succeed. You are just as, if not more capable than your male counterparts and one must never doubt that. Onwards and upwards ladies!”
By Bradford Kamuntu