54HOMES: a travel tech startup that is disrupting Africa’s accommodation sector to promote community tourism

By Ronald Kalumba

Mukono Feb 26, 2020: As the market for smartphones in Africa is expanding and telecom companies promising price cuts on the internet data prices, startups like 54homes are now entering the market to disrupt traditional businesses.

Stephen Okhutu, the co-counder and CEO of Bookablehood Ltd, talked to our staff writer at the Scribe News about what he goes through to build a Startup in Africa. He is a Ugandan radio journalist who has been doing private business since 2006.

“In 2016 my business had collapsed leaving me with no major source of income. As a result I had a lot of financial problems in my house. At the time when I most needed the comfort of a friend, my wife left me for another man and she went with my little daughter. This was the toughest moment in my life. It was also the moment which gave me strength never to lose focus on my vision. The only option to save my marriage at that time was to find a job. I however insisted on building a company” Okhutu revealed sounding somehow emotional.

He noted that the idea of disrupting the accommodation sector started in 2016 when he travelled Uganda as a business trainer and failed to easily find a good guesthouse to stay in. Most of the places, he adds, were either booked up or dirty

“One day I went to Kamuli town to deploy a computer network for a school. I asked a boda boda rider to take me to the best low cost guesthouse. I ended up sharing the room with bugs and roaches” Okhutu Mused.

The idea of building an online platform where all good secure low cost guesthouses, according to Okhutu was adopted to create a system where an average African traveler can find a descent place to stay without spending too much money.

Who is Stephen Okhutu

Stephen Okhutu has been a radio journalist in Uganda since 2003. He has worked with major radio stations like radio Sapientia 94.4 FM and Radio One 90 FM. He is currently volunteering as a Radio presenter on Dunamis Radio 103 FM where he does a weekly business talk show program to sensitize the community on the good principles and practices of starting and growing a business.

Stephen Okhutu, the CEO and founder of Bookablehood Ltd. (File Photo)

Born in Katovu, a remote village of Kasawo subcounty in Mukono district, Okhutu has been building a number of businesses. Most of them have failed. He however attributes his business success on these failures saying they helped him to learn from his past mistakes and drove him to getting more knowledge that can trail him to doing successful ventures.

54homes is a travel tech startup managed by Bookablehood Ltd. It is an online platform where travelers can book low cost guesthouse rooms in Africa.