Suleiman Hussein is one of the top marketers in the UK-Ugandan community and his success story has been an inspirational to many Ugandan.
Our reporter had a one on one with Suleiman Hussein famously known as Jeff and below is what he said on raising from grass to glory;
It looks like you do not need any introduction in the Ugandan community in the UK, How did you acquire such a status?
I was first introduced to the Ugandan community in the UK as an employee of Club Volts.
I worked my way up from bottle-collector, to financial controller and eventually the DPS and general manager.
I believe the reason behind my success in forming a respectable reputation within my UK community was my ability to relate with various people regardless of age, gender or status.
I try to be humble, approachable and a very good listener.
Gradually I became someone that the community could relate to and consult with on even personal or business issues.
Of all the people who have been in the management of Ugandan night clubs in London you seem to have made quite an impact. What makes you different?
First off when I joined the club scene, the clubs Ugandans regularly visited did not seem to feel like home to them.
I tried to relate to my customers to Club Volts so it became their second home.
Also very little Ugandan music was being played in the existing clubs at the time so I increased that in my club and turned it up a notch by bringing in DJ Shiru who was the best at the time and very well known in Uganda.
I took pride in the Club Volts and so wanted that reflected in the interior designing of it.
I made sure that the club looked like a club my community could be proud of.
Besides everything, it was important to me that every customer felt appreciated and valued regardless of the cash in their pocket, so I trained my bar and security staff to always deliver the best service.
Also, in my opinion the most important thing in any successful nightclub is the sound and lighting systems, so that was always my main focus and I believe that greatly contributed to the large number of customers that walked through the doors of Club Volts and remained loyal customers.
You transformed Club Volts into arguably the biggest Ugandan club in Europe. What experience did you have in club management when you started?
I used to do a few promotions and marketing for Clubs in Uganda whilst at university.
But before that I had always been self-employed running small businesses since the age of 14.
I guess my people and management skills were developed from early age.
How did you come out with the Kampala Night concept that has become a very old club night even after you left the club?
After transforming the club into a home of Ugandans, I realised the increase in requests for Ugandan songs to be played.
This was reaffirmed by the Miss Uganda UK 2008 campaign where a strictly Ugandan music policy was held at all rehearsals and launch party and I realised a large volume of Ugandans was attending to listen to Uganda music.
So with consultation from a few friends, I decided to come up with a night that would cater for Ugandan music, hence Kampala Night.
You have not managed another club since you left Club La Face. Don’t you miss it?
Of course I do miss it. That’s something that I enjoyed because I love to serve people especially my community.
Is it something you’re looking at doing again?
At some point, yes. But my real passion is now tackling corporate events and making my mark in that sector.
So you’re now you’re going into event management and marketing?
Yes. My aim is to change the perception of our community towards Ugandan events.
Most of our events have come across as disorganised with poor quality services, stage and queue management, lighting & sound.
This has left the majority of the ticket buyers and attendees disappointed and many have written Ugandan events off so I hope to make an improvement and put up first class Ugandan events.
You seem to have hit the ground running with two major events for JF Solutions. What do you think won these clients for you so fast?
I would say the first thing is my reputation within my community, my attention to detail that is evident in the previous events that I have organised or been part of as well as my reliability and my high customer satisfaction feedback.
You’re co-managing the Uganda Convention After Party. What do you intend to do differently after all these years?
First of all it is very commendable for Mr Mutenza and his team to have been able to sustain this event all these years.
I have seen the Uganda convention from the start to present and been on the other side as a customer and fan.
So I do appreciate the opportunity to be part of an event that is that important to our community.
I intend to give my expertise on the customer service quality, stage management, table allocations, sound and lighting among other things.
I am also going through the reviews and feedback from the previous events to see what needs to be improved to improve customer satisfaction. This is exactly what JF Solutions is here to do.
What do you find most challenging about the Ugandan entertainment scene in UK?
We had a few issues that we have tried to address over the past few months like double booking of events on same dates; lack of discipline and respect for one another between the industry stakeholders and lack of transparency.
This is what resulted into the formation of the association Ugandan Entertainment Connection to which I am the current chairmen.
We try and solve issues amongst ourselves as promoters, artists and the DJs.