By Michael Kanaabi
Ivan Kamusime is a humble laid -back Christian entrepreneur. His simple and refined look does not typify your usual sound guy who moves around with headsets, dreadlocks and a larger than life swagger.
But when you sit with him to listen to his story, then you understand why he has grown into one of the finest in his field consequently handling some really large sound projects in the country.
Starting the business
In 2016, Kamusime started importing and installing sound equipment on a growing scale.
He added the designing of sound solutions for bars, Churches and buildings.
He formalised his business the same year, registering Adjuvak Audio and Visual Services Limited.
The registration followed years of informal operation dating back to his days at university when he sold some equipment and did minor sound installations.
He grew up in a home of a Christian father and mother who introduced him to Church early in life.
As a little boy, Kamusime saw his father handle sound control in Church. He immediately picked interest in the trade.
By his teenage, Kamusime started playing various instruments in Church, including piano, drums, bass and acoustic guitars.
At 16 years, he started helping with sound installation, control and monitoring in local Churches.
After high school, Kamusime desired to study Telecom Engineering, but his parents could not afford the course.
He then enrolled for Bachelor of Science in Education at Kyambogo University because it was affordable.
But while at Kyambogo, Kamusime secured a scholarship from his Church networks.
The sponsorship enabled him to study Audio Visual Engineering online for four years alongside his degree course.
By 2016, Kamusime had completed his Audio Visual Engineering course, on top of the accumulated experience in the field of sound he acquired through his teenage and university.
As a result, he went all out doing turn key sound solutions for big projects.
His starting capital in the business was Shs 6million. Using this, he was able to set up a small shop then on Lico building in Kireka, a Kampala suburb.
The business has since grown and moved to a more visible spot on the ground floor of the same building.
Some of the equipment Kansime sells in his shop include amplifiers, speakers, mixers, CCTV equipment, PBX and IP phones, video conferencing, projectors and smart home units.
His clientele ranges from Churches, bars, schools to theatres, homes and other public facilities.
He also serves clients that need advise on sound and fittings.
As technology is reshaping every aspect of business and industry, Kamusime chose not to be left behind.
He enrolled for a degree in ICT/Computer Science at Uganda Technology and Management University (UTAMU) in 2018. He just completed this degree in the middle of 2021.
He has also had other trainings in the audio visual field with one covering the Kramer brand audio visual installation and service in Nairobi in 2020.
In 2021, Kamusime did another course in Nairobi for QSYS systems integration in the audio visual field, equipping him to provide better allround service to customers.
2018 is the year Kamusime started to break even as his skillset and contacts had grown to taking big audio solution design and installation projects.
Admas Grand Hotel Entebbe, one of the most outstanding projects Kamusime has done to date, was the break even for him in 2020.
Since then, business has only got bigger and better. In 2021, he introduced a new revolutionary product for homes called the Smart Home Wall Amplifier.
This is an integrated system that operates on electricity and a switch which comes with speakers for music and a remote control.
It does a number of things including music, lighting, curtains, door bells and microphones for voice commands.
The advanced version comes with WiFi and ceiling speakers, among other extras.
Having it installed in your premises will costs Shs 700,000 for the basic unit with cost rising to Shs 5m depending on the additions and reach you want the system to have.
Costing big projects efficiently still remains a challenge because of the nature of the work which is done in phases, largely depending on the pace of the other construction works on the project.
Project completion is also a big challenge given they have to fit into the schedule of the building owner or project manager.
“For example when they complete a phase and say construction stalls after we have done cabling and wiring, we have to wait till they get the next batch of cash to do some finishing work and enable us install the sound support systems then program,” Kamusime says.
Some equipment is also expensive to import and because of that you need large capital, which is scarce to handle such projects.
There is also inadequate skilling of most personnel in the sector as most people do not take trouble to upskill themselves outside the little they learn on the job.
Kamusime counts a number of satisfied clients including gyms like Power Horse Muyenga, high-end apartments like Zeregabar, Rwenzori Auto spa Kasese, and The Patio Ntinda, among others.
He has also supported a number of children through various organisations, built a house and got a car for himself.