Joel Bamwise, Program Manager at Stanbic Business Incubator Limited (SBIL)– a subsidiary of Stanbic Uganda Holding Limited that works to support SMEs in Uganda through training and mentoring programs –  explains that business compliance is the “art of following the laws, regulations and existing laws and regulations of a country” that govern business activities. Beyond that, business compliance also refers to “ethical practices that a normal business should be able to carry out,” such as safety compliance to protect a business’ employees.

While the business compliance process may seem daunting, Joel explains that there are some clear benefits to taking on the task. Most important comes when scaling up as a value chain supplier because any single entity requesting a business’ services will require they be in good standing with the governing authority under which they operate, says Joel.

As a business owner bids for new opportunities, they’ll be required to have a tax clearance certificate (click here for more information on this document). More importantly, being business compliant can help win the loyalty of a business’ staff by providing them with government-supported benefits such as For instance, employees of compliant businesses may obtain national social security fund (NSSF) clearance, which makes them eligible for retirement benefits and can, in turn make them, more loyal to their employer.

Remaining fully compliant allows business owners to easily track the growth of their business through a better picture of their incoming and outgoing revenues. Tracking incoming and outgoing revenues simplifies the planning process – which ultimately supports the business’ expansion.

Joel breaks down the compliance process into three clear steps. First, a business must be registered with the appropriate authority. Depending on the type of business being registered, this can be done through the Uganda Registration Services Bureau, the Uganda Co-operative Alliance or any local regulator that oversees business registrations. Next, the business must obtain any licenses necessary to operate within their given industry. This is largely dependent on your local business district. The Central Business District of Kampala, for instance, is overseen by the Kampala Capital City Authority, which issues trading licenses that permit business transactions. Lastly, the business must pay its respective taxes and dues by acquiring a tax identification number.

SBIL has been successful in guiding a variety of businesses to fulfill their compliance obligations and unlock many of these benefits. For starters, SBIL provides businesses with lessons, coaching, and mentoring to guide them through the compliance process. Businesses are provided with various masterclasses to help them develop a growth plan that takes advantage of the opportunities available for compliant businesses. Similarly, they have brought in industry regulators to provide real-world advice from industry officials on the best approach to improve their compliance. Incubator businesses will hear from URSB and URA officials while getting the opportunity to ask as many questions as they need to best understand the information from these regulatory bodies. These sessions are critical for dispelling any uncertainty and give businesses the confidence to succeed in their respective industries.

Businesses in need of support can choose from a series of different programs provided by SBIL such as the Kampala Enterprise Development Program,Network For Innovation and Sustainability in Agriculture and Tourism and the Regional Enterprise Development Program. To help in their development, businesses hear from regulatory leadership and receive the tools they require for them to register and have the compliance checks in place. In addition, participants will engage with partnered legal firms who provide expertise in enabling businesses to make the right decisions about their compliance needs.