To catch up on the story, This is Uganda had a chat with Peter Nyeko.
What is your favorite dance?
I prefer doing the ballroom dances, they are ten dances and I love to dance all of them. Even when they are in intervals of 2 minutes and they last 20 minutes or even when they last an hour. The ball room dances are Tango, Cha Cha, Samba,….
If a person wanted to learn to dance these ball room dances, which school in Uganda would you recommend?
It really depends on what exactly one wants to learn, but often, before social events, there are dances classes at National theatre, Cayenne on Tuesdays, Jazzville on Sundays and at Inmotion dance studio. But if someone wants to go professional, they should enroll for classes at the National theatre or at Inmotion dance studios.
So, you also do write and paint, what exactly do you write about and where do you publish your work, more so do you have any paintings in any gallery?
As a qualified aerospace engineer, electrical engineer, banker, and teacher, I write about many things across a wide variety of topics. I write about the environment and sustainability, I write about renewable energy and I also do poetry mainly in French Spanish, and Arabic. Currently, I haven’t been invited to write for any newspaper but my works are displayed widely and I am simply a freelancer.
When he is not ballroom dancing, he is working at Bencolly a Benconolly is a holding company with many ventures within a partnership between (Ben) and his sister Conolly, all based on a childhood business.
What is Benconolly all about?
It all began in Kitgum when I was passionate about work, When I was young I had a stall of sweets just outside my house. I also have a theory of making the world a better place one person at a time, I also think that the love to find solutions to problems and being focused on a goal is all a driving force.
“Under the Benconolly brand, we have; Agribusiness under Dream Shuttles Commodities company. If you are to recall earlier on, dream shuttles was a transport company for 5 years but when the license expired we didn’t renew it but opted to diversify into sustainable agriculture and rural development. Therefore what dream shuttles does now is to collect agricultural and forestry waste from farmers, dry the waste and get it pelletized and used to generate electricity and also in the place for charcoal and the excess pellets exported. Our industrial park north of Murchison is where all this work is being done, we generate 32 kilowatts in a district with no electricity. We have just acquired a license to add 20 megawatts to the national grid by 2017 under Mandulis Energy which fronts sustainability of the environment.
How many households are you currently supplying electricity to?
Currently, we are not yet distributing electricity but we are having mass training, training the locals how to run the power station for a period of more than 6 months before we start distributing electricity.
We shall distribute electricity to 500 households which equates to 5000 people and an extra 500 households each year.
There is enough biomass in Uganda to create enough power from agricultural wastes with some pellets being exported to Europe and Asia. Biomass is capable of giving us 10 times the revenues oil will give us every year at only 10% of the investment needed in the oil industry.
What other ventures is Benconolly mired into?
Under Education, we have Kampala Diplomatic School where I am the founder.
Under Engineering, we have Electronics & machinery Co.
Under Finance and consultation, we have BPL for asset finance, BL for consulting, ASC licensed for Financial advisory, and Theophilus for Real Estate Investment.
All these are mainly UK-based, and in Uganda only available on the advisory side because many Ugandans are afraid to venture across boundaries.
Under infrastructure ventures, we have Mandulis energy and Benconolly Industrial Park Project which embraces the three sustainability pillars; environment, community, and economics lying on 750 acres in Nwoya Northern Uganda.
Awesome! Many people are blaming the economic discourse on the plunging political state of our country and many have gone ahead to call it the ultimatum of political idiocy, how has this affected business?
I will not blame the current economic status on politics, at least not now. I think we should blame all this on the lack of sustainable ambition and limited integrity within the populace, politics is simply a mirror image of what we are as a society, but I do have hope in a better Uganda. I don’t think there are still 5year olds running around because of war and the hope we had as we ran, is still the hope we have now and tomorrow. That’s why when I see a kid, I look at him as a grandfather because of that hope, a future of hope and a hopeful future.
At Kampala Diplomatic school, you have kids from 2-18 and Uganda is the youngest country in the world what is your way forward for the young are the hope we have?
Yeah, and we are soon starting the 1st year of university in about 2 years affiliated with various universities in the UK. I see so much potential in the children of Uganda, given the right tools to be the best. So we try to achieve this by keeping the classes small, allowing the pupils to think and encouraging them to always ask why & why & why.
We teach them the opportunity and creation in working hard- You take 1 seed and drop it in the ground, come back after 3 months and you have 3600 seeds, such is the power. So we teach them to think beyond the 6 months or the 6 years, we teach them to think long term as we impart in them the skill to believe in themselves.