The story of Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia being the richest man in Uganda is one that has been told many times but not many times has the astute businessman himself told an up-close tale of what is to be a wealth man and a successful businessman.
But last Saturday, law students at Makerere Law School were lucky when the businessman agreed to speech to them at the annual Makerere lawyers Annual dinner. The dinner, at Kampala Serena Hotel, was used to mark 50 Years of the law school at Makerere.
In his key note address titled “the relationship between business and the Law; and the opportunities that will be available for Lawyers in the future,” the upcoming lawyers got firsthand experience and tips on making money and excelling as entrepreneurs.
Ruparelia in his address noted that being a seasoned businessman carries with it a tag of weathering storms and soldiering on a challenging journey.
Focusing on two segments; the Relationship between business and the law and the Opportunities that will be available for Lawyers in the future, the businessman told his story in which he overcame the burden of growing up in exile in London and returning to Uganda to start out as a businessman.
"In December, 1986 I started business-trading business on Kampala road with a capital of USD 25,000. Like Chairman Mao said a long journey starts with one step. From the one trading step in December 1986 to date the Ruparelia Group is comprised of 14 Companies in different sectors.
Commenting on the success journey his Ruparelia Group has gained, Ruparelia said: "To do all this one needs good professionals, good dependable people and this includes good lawyers.I will not define who a good Lawyer is but professionalism, reputation, knowledge and agility are key attributes. A good lawyer must constantly be ahead of the curve in the profession.
"When we talk of business, there is one key pillar of it that is inevitable. That is Capital. One thing we must constantly remember about capital is the now famed phrase; CAPITAL IS A COWARD. This phrase first came in print in October, 1884 in the Jersey Journal.
As you know when threatened, a coward flees and so does capital under threat. It goes where it is safe and stays where it is protected. It flees when threatened and unprotected. The biggest protector of capital and therefore business is the Law. This sums up the relationship between business and the Law."
Risk taking, the businessman said, is an attribute of entrepreneurship. He advised that risk must always be weighed against rewards and possibilities. "What is undisputed is that every business has risk well embedded in it. The Law is the strongest insurance against many risks.
That is why confidence in a functioning and reliable judicial system is key for business. The compliance and regulatory environment is important too. Business thrives when the rule of Law exists. As a businessman you always want that comfort that the law will protect you and you can run to Court or a Regulator should the need arise.
Read full speech HERE.