Tony Otoa

How has Covid-19 affected the Stanbic Business Incubator and How Does it Plan to Respond? Chief Executive Tony Otoa Explains

Like all businesses, the Stanbic Business Incubator (SBIL) faced a slate of new challenges and obstacles stemming from the pandemic. To understand how the Stanbic Business Incubator navigated these challenges, we sat down with Tony Otoa, SBIL’s Chief Executive. Mr. Otoa provided us with an insider’s perspective on SBIL’s pandemic experience, lessons learned, and projections for Covid-19 recovery.

Mr. Otoa explained that the pandemic afforded SBIL one major lesson: a business must remain agile and adapt to the flow of the new normal. Covid-19 upended traditional business operations, relationships, and practices. Businesses that were unable to adjust and respond to the evolving environment suffered immensely while those that were flexible and adapted practices and operations as things changed flourished. For its part, the Stanbic Business Incubator changed its program development process and how it connects with its clients.

Because of the lockdown, explained Mr. Otoa, SBIL was unable to carry out in-person training, so the team switched to online platforms to complete its mandate of supporting Uganda’s business community. Like in businesses throughout the world, transitioning online heavily impacted how SBIL delivers its services and required a shift in its approach to client relations and communications. The upshot to these challenges was an increase in the number and geographic location of people reached. Pre-pandemic, class sizes were limited to what was allowed by regional training hubs, but the online platforms allowed SBIL to reach many people through the country.

Mr. Otoa believes that SBIL’s Covid-19 recovery started long before the lockdowns were lifted. Stanbic Business Incubator remains focused on supporting businesses to drive and achieve more. Their strategy is to assist businesses in accessing finance, accessing markets, and provide tracking to better understand how to support them better. More importantly, is how this support is delivered. Mr. Otoa stresses the need to blend approaches to best support businesses in the coming period. This means combining online and in-person training to best support their clients while blending business techniques from both the pre- and post-Covid period.

SBIL expects its new chapter to encapsulate the lessons learned from this pandemic period. Namely, the need for agility as they switched to new, online platforms, the new geographic regions and audiences they were able to reach as a result of their online shift and continuing the newly blended approach to continue supporting their clients. All told, Stanbic Business Incubator expects a strong recovery for themselves and for their clients as they step forward into this new period.