In 2008 the Ugandan government announced that it was considering a ban on the use of polythene plastic bags. Andrew Mupunya, only 16 years old at the time, visualized an opportunity in paper bag production. He was still in high school, and his parents, who were both unemployed, were experiencing great difficulty in paying Mupuyaâ€™s school fees.
With his savings and small monetary gifts from family and friends, Andrew was able to raise 36,000 Ugandan Shillings ($18) in startup capital- money he used to start making paper bags on a small scale. In 2010 Andrew registered his company, Youth Entrepreneurial Link Investments (YELI), which is now the first local registered paper bag and envelope-producing company in Uganda. The business has grown significantly, and today it employs 14 Ugandans, including a 53 year-old father of eight. YELI supplies paper bags and envelopes to local hospitals, small scale retail outlets, roadside sellers and local flour manufacturers. Within four years of its launch, YELI has produced more than half a million paper bags. From the companyâ€™s revenues, Mupuya has been able to pay for his business bachelorâ€™s degree at the prestigious Makerere University of Uganda, support his family and financially support his 14 staff and their families.