BY STAFF WRITER
Ambrose Angulo is the brain behind Ambrosoli Wonders (U), the first digital printing company in northern Uganda.
The customers of Ambrosoli Wonders tell of excellent graphic designs and printing services including printed T-shirts, brochures, calendars, invitation cards, events photography and videography.
The 29-year-old son of Leo and Matilda Angulo of Oyam District in northern Uganda, Ambrose Angulo was born in the UK but his parents relocated back to Uganda to ensure that their children got a good African upbringing.
This second-born in a family of five went to school at Nswanjere Junior Seminary in Mubende, Kisubi tMinor Seminary and St Lawrence Creamland Campus before joining Uganda Christian University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Development Studies.
Love for art
His love for art was born in high school, and he emerged the best student in the nature painting paper during his A-levels.
“When I joined UCU in 2005, I decided to study Development Studies to complement my talent in art, and help develop others,” Angulo said.
At the university he continued practising art, and he also supplied craft shops with wall hangings.
“I used to work for various faculties at the university, printing students’ coursework, and certificates,” he said.
“When I attained a first class in my first year, I was awarded a scholarship, which helped me save money. I developed more interest in art, and worked hard to dispel the attitude that art is a less valuable course.”
In 2007 he used his savings to buy a computer and a printer.
“This initial start-up capital of about Shs 500,000 later propelled me to greater heights.”
After completing university, Ambrose still had the dream of changing people’s lives using art, but without funding it was an uphill task. To gain financial momentum, he joined a Kenyan firm as a research assistant and worked for two months.
He later worked with Crane Bank where his passion for art and photography was noted by the manager, who put him in charge of photography. He would print photos for clients who were opening accounts at the bank, and this helped him raise additional funds.
In 2010 he resigned from Crane Bank and ventured out on his own in a small office room given to him by his cousin, Compius Adoko.
Angulo’s breakthrough did not come until 2011 during campaigns for the general elections when he was given the opportunity for large- scale digital printing.
“It was then that we got known throughout northern Uganda as the centre for photo-editing and making campaign posters,”he says.
Before the opening of Ambrosoli Wonders, quality digital printing was done in Kampala, which was expensive and many could not afford the travel costs. Since then, many have joined the industry but we remain the dominant player.
“We import our machinery form Dubai and China because they have better quality machines compared to those available on the local market,” he adds.
“Change of office location often due to landlord pushed us to construct our own offices.
“For example, 2015 was our worst year in terms of office space and operations since we had to close office for two months as work was going on at the newly acquired location, but now having our own building saves us from rent and gives us stability,” Angulo reflects with confidence.
“My ambition has been to provide jobs for young people and improve their lives,” he said.
Currently Ambrosoli Wonders employs seven permanent and ten part time staff, including interns from institutions of higher learning. Since many graduates lack hands on experience, they give an opportunity to such students to gain the experience needed by employers. The interns get training in graphic design which enables them produce works that are relevant on the market today.
The various challenges that he has faced so far include the negative attitude that people have towards art and photography, which he says is demoralising.
“I want the public to see the value in art and to support those involved in the industry. Also, the exchange rate affects the business adversely, since the machines we use are imported,” he added.
Achievements and plans
Angulo has inspired others through his work. “I plan on opening up a training school for fabric and tailoring so that we can produce clothes. We shall also train youth in, art, graphics design and computer knowledge,” Angulo says.
He also plans to expand the business and open branches in other districts within northern Uganda.
Tips for young people
- Starting a business is not about money. It is about the idea.
- You don’t need a loan to start a business. You only need a loan to expand.
- Youth need to work hard. You can only earn what you sow. With this attitude, the youth can fight unemployment.
- Have creative minds. Think outside the box.
- Be innovative. Do something new for your business to develop and grow.