News and Views

Ugandan wins prestigious development awards in the UK

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By Sebidde Kiryowa and Steve Mulindwa

A Ugandan businessman, Willy Nsubuga Mutenza, has won a prestigious Gathering of Africa’s Best (GAB) award in the United Kingdom for his work to uplift the African community living in the United Kingdom (UK).


Mutenza is the chairman of Uganda Convention, UK, a forum through which Ugandans living in the diaspora and from Uganda annually convene in London. He is also publisher of the Promota Magazine, a popular Ugandan magazine in the UK.

One of the successful Ugandans living in the UK, Mutenza is involved in other businesses that include event management, private equity, web and multimedia design as well as property development in Uganda.

He is also the director of MM2 Capital, a Pan African Capital Investment equity company in the UK.

The event which was held on Sunday, November 16 in Barking, East London, was attended by among others; the Deputy High Commissioner of Nigeria in the UK, Kunle Bamgbose who was also the guest of honour; the queen mother of Ghama, Her Royal Highness Naa Tsotsoo Soyoo as well as several councillors from London Boroughs and two Members of the European Parliament.

Started in 1999, the awards are organised by the London-based Trumpet Media Group that publishers the Trumpet newspaper. The event brings together Africans living in the UK to honour those selected by the committee for the role they have played in their communities and Africa as whole.

Mutenza is only the third Ugandan to win the GAB award after former Ugandan High Commissioner Professor George Kirya, and Fred Ssemugera the organiser of the Buganda Clan Games in the United Kingdom.

Other Ugandans who were nominated but did not win, were Joel Kibazo currently Director of Communication and External Relations at African Development Bank; Dr. Naluwembe Binaisa, currently with the University of Oxford International Migration Institute; Dr Margaret Mungherera, the recently elected President of the World Medical Association (WMA) and William Masembe Nkata, an expert in risk management (Mental Health.)

Thanking the GAB award committee for selecting him among many Africans in the United Kingdom who are all doing ‘amazing things’ for the African community said:

“This award comes with responsibilities and a lot of ‘expectations’ from the communities we work with here in the United Kingdom. People believe in us, so as a leader, winning an award means always trying to give the best of myself to the community I serve,” Mutenza said after the occasion.

Among those honoured where Nigerians, South Africans, Zambians, Kenyans, an India whose work has contributed a lot to the development of the African continent.

According the chairman of the organising committee Mr Femi Okutubo, this year’s recipients were drawn from over 200 Africans through  “a painstaking selection process” because so many Africans are achieving a lot in their respective professions and are engaged not only with their communities in the UK, but with the African continent as well.

The Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2014

Meanwhile, Mutenza who describes himself as “a Ugandan Diaspora community developmental activist” won the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2014 at the 11th BB Awards 2014 held October 25, 2014, at the prestigious Hilton London Tower Bridge in London for “for his dedicated efforts in promoting social entrepreneurship, community cohesion and investment opportunities specifically for the Ugandan Diaspora.”

The annual BB Awards, now in their eleventh year, promote ‘Diversity and Achievement’ by recognizing hard work, perseverance and success among the diverse social and economic movers and shakers in the UK society, wherever they come from. Organized by the Basic Business Initiative UK (BBI UK) charitable enterprise support agency, they were founded by Sunny Lambe, its executive director in 2001.

“I am thrilled and overwhelmed by this award and I wholeheartedly thank BBA for recognizing my work. I’m especially grateful to a few amazing people whose support is the reason I’m up here right now. Our work is far from over, but what we’ve accomplished together has made a difference in hundreds of people’s lives, especially the Ugandan Diaspora. Let’s roll up our sleeves and continue this journey with more dedication than ever. “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Mutenza said after winning the award.

The awards, which were hosted by Glastonbury Festival artist, performer and songwriter, Dionne Reid, featured an array of prestigious guests, including dignitaries, celebrities and some of the UK’s finest business owners. In attendance were Cllr. Sunil Chopra, the Worshipful Mayor of Southwark, Cllr. Adedamola Aminu, Mayor of Lambeth, Cllr. Ian Wingfield, Deputy Leader of Southwark Council, Rt. Hon. Simon Hughes MP, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice), Deputy Leader, Liberal Democratic Party, local MP and BBI UK Patron), Prem Goyal, BBI UK Patron and the keynote speaker Yinka sharing the true meaning of diversity and achievement with the adoring guests.

Among other VIPs at the event were Femi Okutubo, founder and Chief Executive of Trumpet Newspaper and annual GAB Awards who bagged the BB Awards 2014 Personality of the Year Award trophy with his wife, Mike Abiola Publisher of African Voices magazine and organizer of annual African Films Awards and several other dignitaries.

Who is Willy Mutenza?

Willy Mutenza is a senior ethnic marketing consultant specialising in the African ethnic community. Willy founded The Promota Group in 1998 and has expanded his business interests in magazine publication, events management, and private equity bridging, printing and design, and property development in Uganda.

Willy has been a pillar and an ambassador of the Ugandan community at various levels in Uganda and UK. He founded the Ugandan UK Convention, a very successful investment forum that attracts more than 1000+ high profile Ugandans from all over the world at a yearly annual gathering in London.

Willy is also a director of CUBL, a company that promotes investment opportunities in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Promota Africa magazine, a popular high quality gloss magazine in the UK, targets African ethnic consumers and also promoting a positive image of Africa abroad.

Willy also won an innovative award for inventing a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi marketing device (ePRO

Bluetooth Long Range advertising transmitter). The “ePro Bluetooth” a mobile marketing device, allows businesses to send adverts to mobile phones by free transfer of content between mobile devices using the Bluetooth signal.

Willy is also the chairman of UDE-UK, a newly founded charity. UDE-UK, through all of its activities, aims to promote social inclusion of all members of the Uganda/African Diaspora, and encourage a smooth and productive integration into British society, whilst maintaining its members’ unique cultural characteristics and heritage.

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