Judith Ineku – The Young Real Estate Guru
At 27, Judith Ineku has become a global icon and a self-made millionaire. Her story is one of unwavering commitment, focus and patience – common traits among successful entrepreneurs.
Although Ineku received the prestigious Empretec Women in Business Award (E-WBA) by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in 2012, she is not sitting on her laurels. Instead, this young entrepreneur is intent on expanding her business empire across the border to South Sudan.
Ineku is a simple woman with an astonishing drive. In 2006, the then “A” Level leaver started her journey by participating in a series of workshops organized by Enterprise Uganda on business startups. This changed her mind-set. Although she did not have any money, she decided to become her own boss.
She planned to venture into real estate, and went about soliciting money from her family. Although many doubted her, the one person that mattered most, her father, believed in her. He injected an equivalent of more than US$ 1,200 into her business idea to enable his daughter realize her dream. Other family members chipped in another US$ 500.
“People didn’t believe me at first,” Ineku recalls. “Even my friends spiritedly tried to talk me down, saying I was too young, that I would get robbed and many other negatives.” She adds.
Ineku was determined to prove them wrong.
With the money raised by her family, she purchased a piece of land in Seguku, along Entebbe Road. “This was a prime area, and at the time I sensed that even if my plan delayed, the value of my plot would rise since prices of land only appreciate,” she says.
She registered a company, IJB Real Estate, and set out to develop simple housing units. Ineku hired the services of experienced brick makers to work on her plot. From the hundreds of thousands of bricks they made, she used some to build, and sold off the excess to pay her workers and purchase other building materials.
She made friends with her workers using simple methods like cooking and buying them classy used jeans and t-shirts. This kept them loyal and motivated.
Today, Ineku is the Marketing Executive at Enterprise Uganda, and is a proud owner of 9 low cost housing units and commercial buildings in Kampala. She is also constructing 2 new warehouses in her home district of Amuria, to help alleviate food shortages like the one experienced during the floods of the past 2 years.
Her businesses offer part-time employment to several young people, and although she earns an average of $60,000 annually, she is diversifying her businesses and venturing into consumer goods.
Ineku also mentors youths across the country and is scheduled to travel to the UK and US where she will speak to several young people about entrepreneurship.
In light of the gaping unemployment levels, Ineku’s advice to and other young Ugandans is take the risk and gain experience in any business idea of choice. She warns against lavish lifestyles as these are a sure way to poverty.
Leaders across the country, including the First Family, have used Ineku’s real estate story to inspire other youth to opt for entrepreneurship to curb unemployment.
“I am thankful to that I am witnessing the good work that my granddaughter is doing,” says Mr. Joseph Eritu, Ineku’s grandfather.