By Aaron Sseruyigo
KAMPALA – Ugandan businessman and entrepreneur Patrick Bitature while speaking at Phaneroo’s ‘Men Gather’ conference on Saturday in Kampala discarded reports that portray him as a self-made billionaire saying there is nothing he has achieved without the help of God.
Patrick, 58, is the founder and chairman of the Simba Group of Companies, an East African conglomerate, with interests in telecoms, energy production, mining, media, real estate, travel, and leisure.
He is the co-owner of Protea Hotels, and of recent launched Skyz Hotel on top of Naguru Hill, in the central business district.
In his speech at UMA Multi-Purpose Hall at Lugogo, Patrick Bitature said anybody can begin from nothing and achieve whatever they need in life.
He urged attendants to always learn to start with what they have in life, and further explained how the entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t wait for the perfect day to start a business, but rather “starts small with a vision for growth.”
“I don’t believe for one minute the things I have accomplished in life, I did on my own. Remain spiritually grounded. You need that divine intervention,” he told listeners.
Bitature was born 10 May 1960 in Fort Portal, Kabarole District in the Western Region of Uganda. He was the first born in a middle-class family. When he was 13 years old, his father was murdered during the Idi Amin regime.
“I had just turned 13 when my father was killed. Within a year, not only had we lost the breadwinner, role model and father, we had lost all the physical property,” he narrated.
At that time, Patrick’s faith was deeply challenged as he questioned why God allowed him to face hardships.
“I had ‘beef’ with the boss [God]. I was really angry. What had we done wrong that we had to loose our father. Yes I prayed, I was an altar boy at Namasagali but I questioned God, ‘You cannot be the almighty and do this to us.'” he said.
Nevertheless, Patrick soon begun appreciating God, and sought Him earnestly.
“When I begun appreciating God, and seeking him earnestly, then I begun healing. I could see clearly what I wanted to do. And everything I did, I did through God,” he added.
He then became the breadwinner in his family, trading in sugar, clothing, shoes, and foreign currencies. Later, he expanded into mobile telephones and mobile airtime distribution.
“Many think I am a self made man, because I came from nothing, no, I am a vessel, and instrument – God uses me,” he said.
Patrick centered his speech on various forms of capital some identified as intellectual, spiritual and social.
He urged men to build social capital, which he said comes with networking and reliability.
“The five people you spend most of your time with, will influence you,” he said.
With intellectual capital, Patrick said believers must have the ability to acquire knowledge and effectively apply it.
“The skills many come out with at university are a big miss match to what is required in the market. Many come out feeling entitled because they have graduated but, have no skills,” he said.
“Anyone who can accumulate money and retain it is intelligent – I keep an eye on your cash flow – Poverty is extreme, it is a very bad thing. It is as bad a slave trade or apartheid,” he added.
In his speech, Phaneroo Ministries International founder, Apostle Grace Lubega hoped that experiences, thoughts and ideas shared by Patrick Bitature will inspire men to think and act differently.
“Some of you may not stand on the pulpit like me, but surely there is something upon your life that can get this nation from one level to another,” he said.
Adding: “You may never be a preacher of the gospel like Apostle Grace, but there is something God has placed in your spirit.”