How Ali-shah Jivraj Built A $15 Million Television Company in Uganda
Ali Shah Jivraj is a Ugandan businessman and entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman, majority shareholder and CEO of Royal Electronic Limited, a Ugandan company that assembles products such as television sets, DVD players, radios and speakers with annual sales exceeding US$15 million in 2015.
Ali was born into a wealthy Ugandan family of Indian descent. He first considered becoming an entrepreneur in 2006 at age 19 when he was still in high school. Even as a kid, he had a knack for business.
He would save his pocket money to buy small articles like biscuits, sweets and other materials to sell to his classmates in school for a small margin. Also, during Valentine’s days in high school, he would source flowers at the Ugandan Shilling equivalent of $0.2, then sell them to lovers at $1 apiece.
In 2006, a relative and resident in Pakistan sent some confectionery gifts to Ali’s family in Uganda via an acquaintance who was moving to Uganda in search of employment. The visitor was an experienced television repair man who impressed Ali and his mother by repairing the family television set.
Being a teenager then, Ali hired the visitor, he borrowed money from family members and started assembling television sets with the help of parts imported from Malaysia and China.
According to Forbes, the company was ranked seventh in KPMG’s annual ranking of top mid-sized companies in Uganda.
Ali has also set up a television assembling factory in neighboring Tanzania and also in China, where his company manufactures dry-cell batteries, the products are marketed in Uganda and neighboring countries under the “Ugacell” brand.
He has also branched into real estate, with loans from Ugandan banks, by building two luxury apartment complexes, one in Kololo and the other in Bukoto, both valued at US$17 million.