JULIAN ADYERI OMALLA
'Mama Cheers' - Everyones Favourite Juice Maker
Founder & Managing Director of Delight Uganda & Global Food Securities
Sector: Food & Fruit Juice Processing | Farming & Agri-Business
Julian Adyeri Omalla is one of Uganda's top female entrepreneurs. She is founder, chairperson and managing director of Delight Uganda Limited, producing the country's most popular fruit drink sold under the brand name 'Cheers'. Julian has diversified into a range of other business activities, including egg and poultry farming, maize-feed production, a flour mill and bakery, a student hostel for 400, as well as coordinating women’s farmer cooperatives that provide food aid into Sudan. Today, Julian employs over 1,000 Ugandans and exports to countries such as Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan and Zaire.
Julian is a powerful voice of advocacy for improving economic access and opportunities for Uganda's women in business. She is a leading member of the Uganda Gender and Growth Coalition, a group of seven women’s rights advocacy groups. In 2008, Julian was among six women in Africa to be honoured for their entrepreneurship skills by the World Bank. Today, she is one of the most decorated woman entrepreneurs in East Africa and has received honours and awards including the Commonwealth Entrepreneur of the Year 2014.
Julian's Startup Story
Today, Julian Omalla is one of Uganda’s biggest entrepreneurial success stories, and the owner of Uganda’s largest juice processing factory, Delight Ltd, with an annual turn over of US$4m and 45% of the local market. She’s known affectionately as “Mama Cheers” after her popular fruit drink brand, Cheers. Julian now has diversified into a range of other business activities, too, including poultry, a flour mill and bakery, a student hostel for 400, as well as coordinating women’s farmer cooperatives that provide food aid into Sudan. She is also a major employer in the country. However, her entrepreneurial journey was not an easy one and she is an inspirational example of triumph over adversity.
She began her working life as an employee of her brothers, while at the same time saving her own money to start a business as a small trader. As a woman, she wanted to show that she could have her own business, too. She was doing well until she became too trusting. She transferred all her funds to her new business partner in order to purchase stock and he just disappeared from his place of business. This meant she was back to where she started. It was to be a hard lesson that was to shape her entrepreneurial journey from that point onwards and she learnt not to put all her eggs in one basket – a strategy that was to become her philosophy for business expansion and diversification in the future....
If there is one phrase that can describe Ms Julian Adyeri Omalla's success, it is the one that states, "One by one makes a bundle." This is particularly so given her nine-year economic journey from poverty to becoming hugely successful. She is a real inspiration to so many other aspirant African women entrepreneurs who want to make an impact in the business world. --- Melanie Hawken, LoA founder & editor-in-chief
A woman who started out with just a "Red Dress and a Wheelbarrow"
Just over a decade ago Ugandan Julian Omalla lost everything when her business partner ran off with all the cash she had advanced to purchase stock. “The only things left were a wheelbarrow to take fruit to sell at the market and a red dress I would wash out every night."
Today Juliana is the owner of Uganda’s largest juice processing factory, Delight Limited, with an annual turn-over that exceeds US$4m and 45% of the local market. She’s known affectionately as “Mama Cheers” after her popular fruit drink brand, Cheers.
“My aim was to start a juice processing business, not just small scale like the market vendors, but a real factory. My mother had taught us to process local fruit and I’d done a certificate course in food science, so I had the technical background. I could see there was a gap in the market.”
Awards & Accolades
Julian's awards and honours include:
- Juliana is the Kampala Central region chairperson and director of the Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Juliana is a member of the Uganda Gender and Growth Coalition, a group of seven women's groups advocating for gender equality and improvements in business regulation
- 2014, Julian is named named EY entrepreneur of the year in the emerging category
- 2014, Julian is named among the 100 most honoured women (Making a Mark) by Canadian Women
- 2013, Julian wins the Commonwealth Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 awarded by The Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC)
- 2010, Julian is honoured as Best Job Creator of the Year by the Uganda Investment Authority for having created over 850 jobs for women through her various businesses in Uganda and in Juba - Southern Sudan
- 2009, Julian is presented with an award by The International Alliance for Women for economically empowering women
- 2009, Julian is awarded an International Star for Leadership in Quality
- 2004, Julian won the Uganda Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award