Voices of Young Entrepreneurs

The Covid-19 Business Info Hub is excited to announce that we are dedicating the month of January to identifying, understanding, and supporting young entrepreneurs. Young entrepreneurs (defined as people between 15 and 35 years of age who explore different opportunities to create value in a given enterprise) contribute significantly to the economic development of Uganda as a source of both labor and innovation.  Young people make up a significant portion of the workforce and the majority of them are engaged in some form of employment: according to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), sixty-four percent (64%) of persons aged 15 to 29 years in Uganda are employed and 15% of youth in school are also engaged in employment.

As Uganda’s young population continues to grow, there is an increasing need to empower young people to embrace entrepreneurship. Uganda’s youth are attracted to entrepreneurship by different factors including personal motivations, financial necessity, and driven by creativity, pro-activeness and self-efficacy. Education is a significant enabler for young people to engage in entrepreneurship as it provides both knowledge and exposure and helps develop the human capital needed to succeed as an entrepreneur.

In this month, we will learn from young entrepreneurs and the different actors – government, private sector, development partners – that facilitate the entrepreneurial ecosystem, with a special focus on how these actors have helped young entrepreneurs cope during the pandemic. We will also hear from young entrepreneurs themselves to understand how they have maintained their entrepreneurial spirit during the pandemic. The Covid-19 Business Info Hub will feature unique stories of resilience and growth which we hope will provide inspiration and lessons to other young entrepreneurs.

Young entrepreneurs face a number of challenges as they seek to improve their livelihoods and create sustainable businesses for themselves. Chief among these are education (i.e., the World Bank 16th Uganda Economic Update indicates that a child born in Uganda will only be 38% as productive when she grows up as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health), and an overall challenging entrepreneurship ecosystem in Uganda (i.e., Uganda ranks low by on the Global Entrepreneurship Index on factors such as perception of entrepreneurship opportunities, availability of skills, levels of innovation, and technology, and the integration with the international economy – according to the World Bank 15th Uganda Economic Update). The Covid-19 Business Info Hub hopes our focus on young entrepreneurs will inspire both aspiring and existing entrepreneurs as well as those players in the ecosystem that have the capacity to better serve them to continue improving entrepreneurship among young people in Uganda. We look forward to an exciting journey with you as we explore this theme as our first of the New Year!


Interview with Robert Mudenya General Manager of New Court View Hotel in Masindi

Ernest Wasake: Good afternoon Robert. I hope this finds you well, could you please describe your business and tell us a bit about yourself?

Robert Mudenya: Good Afternoon Mr. Wasake Ernest, glad to join you in this conversation.  I’m privileged to be associated with Stanbic Bank Business Incubator cohort four. My name is Robert Mudenya the General Manager of New Court View Hotel.  New Court View Hotel was established in 2003 with the vision “To be the first choice of hospitality in the Bunyoro Region”. The hotel is located in Masindi along Murchison park route with branches in Kinyara sugar factory and high-end restaurant and bar in Hoima. I am a hotelier by profession and training with 15 years’ experience in the industry.

Ernest Wasake: Why did you decide to participate in the training with the business incubator and how did you learn about the training?

Robert Mudenya:   I decided to participate in the training of the business incubator because of the very rich and appealing training content that was to be offered to SMEs. Upon realizing that as SMEs we do not get the opportunity to be equipped with this kind of technical information on how to run businesses, for me this was a chance to join. This content included topics such as; business ethics, financial literacy, bookkeeping, compliance and human resource management that would strengthen the business.  How I learnt about the business incubator training was from various sources. First was from a colleague that I had participated in another training called E360 on bid management. I had seen an advert in the newspaper and e-fliers on the WhatsApp groups. I also received an email that was sent to the company notifying us about the training.

Ernest Wasake:  So, tell us, what were the main learnings from the incubator training that you have integrated into your business?

The main learning to me was gaining deeper understanding on professional methods and ways of running an SME which was not the case before. The approach used by the Stanbic Business incubator provided me with hands-on learning experience and ability to implement knowledge from the different topics. Another main take away was the knowledge on oil and gas plus associated opportunities. I was able to learn how to position and prepare the hotel to cease the oil and gas opportunities through preparation of necessary requirements. In addition, I refreshed my knowledge on human resource understanding that it is one of the most important resources in the organization and should be factored into the organizational plans.

The training also expounded a lot on banking issues like identifying the key functions of banks/financial institutions, importance of establishing and maintaining a banking relationship, executing the basic key banking activities, take opportunities of the offerings from the bank and managing of business finances. The trainings also emphasized issues on keeping books of accounts, source documents, interpreting the financial statements (Profit and Loss, Balance sheet, etc.) this was beneficial to me because this area of accounts had mainly been left to the finance and accounts staff.

Ernest Wasake: Would you tell us, any specific learnings from the training that have helped you cope during the pandemic?

Robert Mudenya: There are a number learnings specifically that I took from the training that have helped us cope during the pandemic.

Obviously, you appreciate that the times and also of things have changed since COVID-19 pandemic especially for hospitality and hotel industry. It has been so devastating for me. The main learning was on the management of human resource, which required me to be very careful on what I do. My interactions with people who run businesses I noticed that most of them had to reduce their staff drastically. For our case this situation was handled differently thanks to the training from the Stanbic incubator. Notably, before the pandemic the hotel was employing over full time 100 staff, this changed to having some staff on part time basis hoping that when the situation normalizes, they would be reinstated to full time work. Our approach was to negotiate with the staff and we were able to strike a balance for the business to survive without losing the staff. We had meetings with all the staff to discuss the business difficulties and complications during this time and most of them were  able to understand the situation. Since they never wanted to lose their jobs, we proposed to them salary reductions and agreed to maintain linkage with the hotel. Another learning in this situation is about compliance. We acknowledge during COVID-19 the times are very difficult within our industry. Our business depended a lot on travelers and tourists going the Murchison falls National Park most of whom were [foreigners] travelling from Europe and Canada. But due to the travel restrictions and airports closing, this meant we were not able to sell meals, accommodation and other services that generate income and cash flow. This situation to the business led to compliance challenge for filing and paying NSSF, PAYE, local authority tax on time yet it is a mandatory obligation. Through the training we were advised to always strike a balance to remain compliant by at least working out a payment plan to avoid the risk of non-compliance. Bid management was also a critical learning to access more business through a highly competitive process. I was able to learn that the company needs to be strategically positioned to take advantage of available business opportunities to supplement on the income. In order to win bids and retain the clients this calls for professionalism, satisfaction of customer needs while strictly observing the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Ernest Wasake: How has your business coped during covid-19?

Robert Mudenya: My business, has coped during the pandemic by putting in place new measures. First, we have appointed one of our colleagues on the management team charged with responsibility to oversee the Covid-19 related issues. The in-charge ensures that staff are regularly trained and SOPs such as wearing masks, sanitizing surfaces and social distancing are followed. This is to ensure the staff and guest are safe at the hotel and gives the guests confidence to come back to the hotel.

Within this period of time, we have encouraged local tourism packages among our business partners for the nationals who are not able to go to the National Park. We suggested to them sites such as the Polish Church in Nyabyeya near Masindi town with a lot interesting history to learn. Another site is the Royal mile where King Kabalega of Bunyoro used to go hunting. It is a fascinating straight and flat path that goes in middle of the huge trees Budongo Forest Reserve. Bird watching in the forest and chimpanzee trekking. Other local visitors are also encouraged to visit the town and their ancestral homes.

Ernest Wasake: From your perspective, what needs to be done to help the tourism sector revive?

Robert Mudenya: From my perspective, what needs to be done to help the tourism sector revive, is to inform the population that the virus is contagious and mutates all the time. This means a call to discipline to all the sector players by observing SOPs as well as ensuring healthy living to control the spread. Secondly continuous awareness, sensitization and training is need for the staff and operators in the sector about COVID-19. Lastly the need to demonstrate to visitors that the facilities are safe and comply with the SOPs in order to win their trust to book for the tourism services along the chain.


How financial literacy training helped ATACO Country Resort thrive during covid.

he Covid-19 Business Info Hub spoke with Richard Twesige, the managing director of ATACO Country Resort, to learn how the Stanbic Business Incubator helped his business overcome the challenges caused by the pandemic.

Ernest Wasake: Describe your business and tell us a bit about yourself.

Richard Twesige: My name is Richard Twesige. I’m the managing director of ATACO Country Resort, which is a hospitality industry business that is located near the Tooro Kingdom Palace. We offer services like accommodation, and conference services.  Next year, we will have been in business for 20 years.

Ernest Wasake:  Why did you decide to participate in the training from the Stanbic business incubator?

Richard Twesige: I decided to participate with in the business incubator training because I believed the quality training that would help us at ATACO Country Resort transform itself from a purely family business to a more professional, structured hospitality business in the region. The class offerings were very precise and that’s exactly what we wanted.

Ernest Wasake: What were the main learnings from the Stanbic Bank Incubator Training that you have integrated into your business?

Richard Twesige: The entrepreneurial attitude training at the Stanbic Business Incubator helped us start planning and implementing more innovative ideas at work. We were able to look at our business with another set of eyes and implement dynamic skills that made us more fluid in comparison to our previous rigid business models.

Ernest Wasake: Are there any specific learnings from the training that the business incubator offered you that have helped you cope during COVID?

Richard Twesige: The financial literacy training helped us become dynamic with our finances in terms of how we spend, how we invest as well, and keep the business afloat.  So without those learnings, it would have been difficult for us to try and think outside the box.

Ernest Wasake: How has your business been affected and how have you coped during COVID?

Richard Twesige:  Some of the changes and decisions we had to make as a business were to cut as many costs as possible to maximize the income, that little income that we could get. For example, as a hotel, we could still deliver packed lunches. However, you still can’t have full occupancy. We have to leave a few rooms unoccupied because just in case you have a COVID patient or someone that we suspect has COVID, the guidelines require us to have some rooms vacant.

Because of these challenges, we really needed to cut as many expenses as we could. It was a good thing that we had done these trainings with the business incubator. We looked at different ways of leveraging what little we had and investing it into implementing sustainable strategies and technologies to help reduce on our utilities.

Unfortunately, we also had to let some of the staff go and keep others on a temporary basis. As we recovered and implemented more changes, we are slowly able to bring people back. However, right now, the changes are still in effect and we’re hoping to get back on track.

Ernest Wasake: What do you think the future of the tourism sector looks like in terms of what needs to be done to help the sector revive?

Richard Twesige: When all the borders were locked down, we still had our local tourists now to serve. We need to improve the road networks so that at least the local people can get to the natural places. Payments are also changing to entirely cashless. I believe the industry will revive faster because we have had digital payments for some time.

Implementation by some of the big telecom networks is really good. And also some of the workings of the financial institutions is really great. But there is another level to go because sometimes actually what is going to happen is that when industries like us start to adopt to these other situations like covid, you have to do cashless payments, there are other places that are really thinking about. As ATACO we could use a token system – such that as a guest, as you check-in and spend you, end up accumulating these kind of tokens that could be transferred into monetary value. So we’re looking into things like this now. And that is where I feel that the industry would go and the industry will revive faster because we have had digital payments in Uganda for some time.


Engeri ekitongole ki Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) gye kiyambamu abakyala abasuubuzi okubeerawo mu kiseera kya nnawookeera wa Covid-19

Engeri ekitongole ki Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) gye kiyambamu abakyala abasuubuzi okubeerawo mu kiseera kya nnawookeera wa Covid-19

Omukutu gwa Covid-19 Business Info Hub gwayogerako ne Winnie Lawoko-Olwe ono nga y’akulira amakolero wamu n’eby’obusuubuzi ebitonotono (SMEs) ku Uganda Investment Authority (ekitongole ekivunaanyizibwa ku by’okusiga ensimbi mu ggwanga) nga twagala okumanya engeri ekitongole kino gye kiyambyemu abakyala abasuubuzi okuyita mu nnawookeera.

Ernest Wasake: Tukusaba weeyanjule era otubuulire ne ky’okola ku Uganda Investment Authority

Winnie Lawoko-Olwe:  Nze Winnie Lawoko-Olwe era nga nze nkulira obukolero wamu n’eby’obusuubuzi ebitonotono ku Uganda Investment Authority.

Ernest Wasake: Omukutu gwa Covid-19 Business Info Hub gutunuulidde okussa essira ku ngeri abakyala abasuubuzi gye basobodde si kubeerawo bubeezi wabula n’okuyitimuka mu kiseera kya nnawookeera. Tubuulire ku bikukwatako era ne ky’okola ku Uganda Investment Authority (UIA). Osobodde otya okubeerawo wamu n’okuyitimuka ku kiseera ky’olumbulege?

Winnie Lawoko-Olwe: Covid-19 yajja ng’ekyewuunyisa eri buli muntu. Ate olw’embeera y’amateeka n’ebiragiro ebyassibwawo okugobererwa mu kiseera kino, kyali kyetaagisa okulowooza okw’amangu wamu n’okukyusa enkola embagirawo.  Nga UIA, twatandikirawo okukola okunoonyereza era bizinesi eziwera nga 385 ze zaagezesebwa nga 30% zaali SMEs. Ate ku 30% ezo, 32% zaali za bakyala.

Tukimanyi bulungi nti eby’enfuna bya SME mu Uganda bitambulira nnyo ku nsimbi enkalu. Ekirwadde kyakosa abakyala abasinga era ne bafuna okusoomoozebwa ku ngera gye batemaatemamu ssente ez’okuddukanya emirimu wamu n’ez’okulabirira amaka gaabwe.

Mu kupimaapima, kyazuulibwa nti bizinesi zaali zinyigiriziddwa nnyo era nga zeetaaga okwongerwamu ku ssente. Era kyazuulibwa nti walina okubaawo ekikolebwa okusobozesa bizinesi zino okukyusa enkola zaazo okuva mu kutunda ebintu obutereevu ku nguudo badde mu nkola ey’okuweerezeganya ssente ku ssimu, okuzimba enjegere ezituusa ebintu ku bantu wamu n’okukola ebintu ebyo abaguzi bye basinga okwetaaga.

Mu nkola eya “Rising Woman campaign”, UIA etunuulira engeri gye tuyinza okutwalamu bizinesi z’abakyala ku mutendera oguddako-ogw’okukolera ku mutimbagano nga muno mulimu okunoonya akatale wamu  n’okusasulira ku byuma mu kifo kya ssente enkalu. Kaakano okutendekebwa kugenda mu maaso era nga tusuubira okuvaayo n’enkola entuufu mu mbeera y’okukwasaganyiza emirimu ku mutimbagano.

Ernest Wasake: Investment authority eyambye etya obukolero n’eby’obusuubuzi ebitonotono mu kiseera kya nnawookeera.

Winnie Lawoko-Olwe: Mu kiseera kino ekya nnawookeera, ekimu ku bisoomooza eby’amaanyi bye tulina kwe kuba nti amateeka agassibwawo okugobererwa (SOPs) gassa ekkomo ku muwendo gw’abantu be tusobola okuyamba. Mu kitundu ky’obulwadde ekyasooka, amateeka gaali gatukkiriza okuyamba abantu abatasukka 10 ne kitulemesa okutuuka ku balala. Olw’obukwakkulizo obwo, UIA etandise enkola ey’okutendeka abakulembeze b’ebibiina by’abakyala nga bano bwe baddayo ne basomesa bannaabwe ebyo ebiba bibayigiriziddwa. Okutendekebwa nakwo kukendeezeddwa okuva ku kubayigiriza okutondawo wamu n’okuddukanya emirimu ne kudda ku ngeri y’okunoonyamu obutale. Tutunuulidde engeri y’okuddukanyiza emirimu ku mutimbagano era n’okukozesa ebyuma bi kalimagezi.

Ernest Wasake: Olinawo obujulizi obwa bizinesi eziyitimuse mu kiseera kya nnawookeera era kiki kye tuyinza okuziyigirako?

Winnie Lawoko-Olwe: Bwe kiri, tulinawo zi bizinesi eziyitimuse era ezo zisobodde n’okwegatta ku nkola ey’okuddukanyiza emirimu ku mutimbagano. Tulina abakyala banji abakola eddagala eritta obuwuka (sanitayiza) wamu n’emmere era nga kaakano beeyunga ku mukutu gwa Zimba mart (mukutu oguli ku mutimbagano nga gwatondebwawo ekitongole kya Zimba Women). Ka ngambe nti Zimba Women kye kimu ku bitongole bye tusuubira nti bijja kuyamba nnyo abakyala okubatwala ku mutendera oguddako kubanga  kyatandikibwa bakyala abategeera obulungi embeera  z’omukyala wamu okusoomoozebwa kwonna abakyala kwe basisinkana.

Ekibinja eky’okubiri kye tukola nakyo kiyitibwa “Business and Professional women” ab’ettabi lya Kampala era nga bano batuukirira ebibiina by’abakyala eby’enjawulo n’okubayamba okuzuula ekiseera ekituufu we basobolera okutunda ebyamaguzi byabwe ku mutimbagano.

Ernest Wasake: Kiki ekiyinza okukolebwa okwongera ku muwendo gw’abakyala abenyigira mu by’obusuubuzi mu Uganda?

Winnie Lawoko-Olwe: okusobola okwongera ku muwendo gw’abakyala abenyigira mu by’obusuubuzi mu Uganda, tulina okusooka okuzuula ebintu eby’enjawulo ebisobola okukolebwa tusobole okwewala embeera y’abakyala abanji okwenyigira mu kintu ekimu. Njagala njogere ku bintu ebikulu bisatu abakyala bye batera okusisinkana: Ekisooka, basobola batya okutema empenda ezinaabasobozesa okukula, eky’okubiri okuyiga engeri gye basobola okuteekamu ekitono nga baddukanya emirimu gyabwe, eky’okusatu kwe kufuna okuyambibwakomu by’ensimbi mu ngeri esoboka era etunuulira obusobozi bw’omuntu obw’omunda.

Nkimanyi nti enkola ya Stanbic Bank eya Business Incubator ekoze bulungi mu kukwasaganya ebintu ebyo, naye bwemba omukyala omusuubuzi abeera e Busia, nnaalaga wa okufuna okumanyisibwa okwo? Wano nze nsuubira nti we wali ekinyusi – okufuna omukutu ogugatta eggwanga lyonna, nga buli mukyala wonna waali asobola okufuna okumanyisibwa kwonna kwe yeetaaze ng’anyiga bunyizi peesa n’asobola okuzuula abantu b’ayinza okukolagana nabo. N’ekisembayo be bantu be tulabirako – kino kitegeeza nti tutunuulira abakyala abatuuse ku buwanguzi mu bintu eby’enjawulo ne bafuuka eby’okulabirako wamu n’okukulembera bannaabwe.

Ekirala, ndowooza nti waliwo omuwaatwa mu mbeera y’okuteekawo ssente ez’enjawulo okuyambako abakyala aba SMEs. Bwe twogera ku nkola y’emyooga eriwo ensanji zino(enkola ey’okweggya mu bwavu), kyetaagisa omuntu okweyunga ku kibinja so ng’ate oba tosobola kweyungako nga SME. Nga SME, kyetaagisa n’oba ng’osobola okugenda awantu wonna ne bakupimaapima nga basinziira ku busobozi bwo, akatale k’olina wamu n’engeri gy’ogenda okuyitamu okusobola okubikozesa obulungi. N’olwekyo nze nsuubira nti ebyo bye bintu eby’enkizo ffe nga Uganda Investment Authority bye tusaana okussaako essira tulabe nga tubitereeza.

Ernest Wasake: Ng’omuntu, magezi ki g’oyinza okuwa omukyala okumuyambako okwekulaakulanya?

Winnie Lawoko-Olwe: Ng’omuntu, nnyambyeko Vantage Communication ne Zimba women ku ngeri gye basobola okukulaakulanya buzinesi zaabwe okusinziira ku mbeera. Ebitongole byombi bikola ebintu ebirungi era byasobola okutuukiriza obukwakkulizo obwetaagisa mu kuteekateeka embeera eddukanyizibwamu emirimu. Amagezi wano gali nti; ggwe musuubuzi, bizinesi ogimanyi era omanyi ne ky’ogyetaaga mu.  Ddamu olowooze kungeri gy’oyinza okugaziyaamu bizinesi yo. Osobola okugigaziya okutuuka ku mutendera kw’ogyetaaga ku lulwo? Bw’oba osobola, awo ky’okola kijja kusigala nga kintu kya njawulo ekigulwa abantu abatonotono so ng’ate abakyetaaga bayinza okuba nga banji. Ekikulu kye tutunuulira kiri nti; manya obusobozi bwo we buli era obunywerereko. Eky’okubiri, tunuulira ebikolebwa. Bwoba oleeseyo ekyenjawulo, oyiyiizzayo engeri ey’enjawulo gy’onoyitamu okufuna akatale? Kiki kye weetaaga okukola? Olina kitunzi? Weetaaga omuntu anaakukwasaganyiza eby’enfuna? Bw’oba omaze okwekkaanya emitendera gino emikulu mu bizinesi, awo obeera ojja kusobola okuzuula omuntu omutuufu anaakuyambako mu kugiddukanya. Bwoba tolinaayo muntu yenna ow’omunda, olwo obeera onookikwasaganya otya? Ekyo kitegeeza nti ogenda kuwandiikayo abakozi. Ebintu by’okola osobola okubissaako omuwendo? Bw’oba omaze okubiwa omuwendo, bigwanidde okussibwa ku katale?

Nze ndowooza nti waliwo ebintu bibiri abasuubuzi bye beetaaga okumanya. Ng’omusuubuzi, olina ekigendererwa, olabye omuwaatwa era okimanyi nti akatale keetaavu. Ekyo nno kya mugaso. Naye mu mbeera y’okugaziya ebintu byo, n’okutwala bizinesi yo ku katale weetaaga okwekkaanya emitendera egyo. Olina okulaba nga ky’okola kye kimu leero, enkya n’olunaku olunaddako. Kino kitegeeza nti engeri gy’okolamu ebintu byo eri ku mutindo, kino kikuyambako mu kufuna akatale kubanga ky’otunda kiba kya njawulo.

 

 

 

How the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) is helping women entrepreneurs outlast the pandemic

The Covid-19 Business Info Hub spoke with Winnie Lawoko-Olwe, Director of SMEs at the Uganda Investment Authority to learn how the Uganda Investment Authority is helping women entrepreneurs through the pandemic.

Ernest Wasake: Would you kindly introduce yourself and what you do at the Uganda Investment Authority?

 Winnie Lawoko-Olwe:  My name is Winnie Lawoko-Olwe and I am the Director of SMEs at the Uganda Investment Authority.

Ernest Wasake: The COVID-19 Business Info Hub is looking to focus on how women entrepreneurs have been able not only to survive, but to thrive during the pandemic. Tell us about yourself, and your role at Uganda Investment Authority (UIA). How have you been able to survive and thrive during this pandemic?

Winnie Lawoko-Olwe: COVID-19 came as a major surprise to everybody. And because of the nature of the Standard Operating Procedures and the activities around the pandemic, it required fast thinking and fast adaptation. As UIA, we immediately conducted research that where a total of about 385 businesses were interviewed. And of these interviewed, about 30 percent were SMEs, and of those 30 percent, we were able to interview 32 percent specifically women.

We know very well that the SME economy of Uganda is a very much a cash economy. The pandemic affected most women and challenged how they balanced finances for the businesses and finances for their families.

The assessment found that the businesses are distressed and needed additional money. The assessment also found that a intervention was needed to help businesses change their models from the direct channel of selling off the street to the effective use of mobile money, networks to deliver your business, and developing business products to what clients need the most.

Under the Rising Woman campaign, Investment Authority is looking at how we can take the women’s businesses into a next level of digitization in terms of marketing their products, in terms of effectively using mobile payments as opposed to cash payments. And we are running trainings in six areas for the newly developed digitization product for the campaign. We are going to be able to come up with a clear product rollout in terms of digitizing and e-commerce adaptation

Ernest Wasake: How has the Investment Authority supported the SME sector during the pandemic?

Winnie Lawoko-Olwe: In this period of the pandemic, one of the major challenges is that our Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have limitations on number of people that we can support. During the first part of the pandemic, our programs were supporting about a maximum of 10 people, thereby limiting outreach numbers. Given these limitations, UIA has started delivering capacity building programs that allow a few leaders from women organizations to be taken through the program and to pass on the lessons to other women. The training currently has narrowed down from entrepreneurial development to marketing and access to markets training programs. We are looking at digitization of business processes and we are also looking at using ICTs.

Ernest Wasake: Do you have testimonies of businesses that have thrived during the pandemic and what lessons can be learned from them?

Winnie Lawoko-Olwe: Yes, we have had businesses that have thrived so far.  Businesses that have thrived have been able to place themselves into the e-commerce platform. We have a number of ladies who are doing sanitizers and foodstuffs that are currently registered on the Zimba Mart (an online e-commerce platform created by ZimbaWomen) I must say that Zimba  Women is one of those women-in-tech initiatives that we think will help and support to take women to the next level, because it is owned by women that can easily understand the dynamics of women and the challenges that women are having. The second group that we work closely with is the Business and Professional Women of Kampala branch who actually access the women groups, identified which is the most appropriate time to be able to help them to sell their products online.

Ernest Wasake: What can be done to increase the level of women entrepreneurship in Uganda?

 Winnie Lawoko-Olwe: To increase the participation and the overall input from women entrepreneurs in Uganda means that we need to be able to identify the supporters or service providers in specific areas so that women activities and growth activities are not duplicated. I want to talk about the three key things that women face: The first is access to effective networks that allow them to grow within different areas of growth.  The second is linkage for growth in terms of the value chain. The third is affordable financing that looks at one’s internal competitiveness.

I know that the Stanbic Bank Incubator Platform is doing quite a bit in terms of getting those value chains together. But I think that if I’m a woman entrepreneur sitting in Busia, where do I go to get that information? And that’s where I think the most important opportunity is – to have a national portal, where every woman can access information where she is able to click networks and be able to access networks that she can work with. And last but not least, is the mentorship for growth – that means that we are looking at women who have excelled within those specific areas, to inspire and lead other women.

Also, I think there’s a missing gap, in terms of specific funds for SME women. If you talk today about the Emyooga(poverty eradication program) which is easily accessible, it requires one to be in a group to access the funds and yet, as an SME you’re not going to join a group. As an SME you need to be identified as a specific business that can walk into any place and is assessed based on your internal competitiveness, the ready market that you have for your product and the support systems that you need to be able to effectively utilize them. So I think those are the key things that we as Uganda Investment Authority are strongly pushing to address through interventions.

Ernest Wasake: What advise have you given to a woman entrepreneur on a personal level to help them grow.

Winnie Lawoko-Olwe: OK. On a personal level, I have supported Vantage Communication and Zimba Women. And this is specifically in terms of growing their business and looking at the environment. Both companies have fantastic products and they met the challenges in terms of setting up processes and procedures to manage the internal environment. And the advice here is: you are the entrepreneur, you know the business, you know what you want out of it. But take yourself back and think of growing this business scalability. Can you scale the business to the level you want working as an individual? And if you can, then it’s going to remain a niche product for a few people. And yet the demand for the product is great. The concept that we went through was one, assess your strengths and concentrate on this strength.

Secondly, look at the operatives. If you are taking this unique project out, you have any unique selling proposition. But in order for this proposition to be delivered, what are the steps you need? Do you need a marketing person? Do you need somebody to actually install, you know the uptake? And do you need somebody to do your finances? If you’re able to look at those critical business steps within the business, then it will help you to identify who internally would be the best person to manage it. If you do not have somebody internally, how would you then be able to take that? And that means you are recruiting. Are you able to price the product? Once you price the product, is it right for the market to be able to take it to the market?

I think from this learning perspective, there are two things that entrepreneurs need to know. As an entrepreneur, you do have a drive. You’ve seen the gap. You know that the market needs it. And that’s very important. But in terms of scalability of your product, in terms of taking your business to the market, you then need to look at those critical procedures, internal procedures that will allow you to take the product to the market. And the product will be the same today, tomorrow and the next day. That means there’s a standard of procedure. It’s a unique selling proposition and it’s a unique product that is going out to the market.


Enkola ya Stanbic Business Incubator esobozesa abakyala abasuubuzi okumalayo obusobozi bwabwe nga ba nnannyini bizinesi

Huddah Tamale si mupya mu kukyusa mu bizinesi. Bwe yatandika bizinesi ye mu 2015, yalowooza nti ajja kufuna ssente mu kutunda kkeeki. Okusobola okusikiriza abaguzi abapya, yatandika okubaweerako amajaani g’obutonde. Wabula, amangu ddala yakizuula nti amajaani ge gaali  gasinga okumucamuukiriza. Bwe yategeera ky’asinga okwagala, yakyusa enteekateeka ze n’asalawo okwemalira mu kutunda amajaani.

Omuggalo gwa COVID-19 bwe gwatandika, Tamale yeesanga nga yeetaaga okukyusa mu bizinesi ye eya Nash Royal Teanate. Mu nkola eya tonsemberera, yali alina okwesigama ennyo ku nkola ey’okunoonyeza akatale ku mutimbagano. Kya mukisa nti yali amaze okufuna obukugu obw’enjawulo ng’ayita mu Stanbic Business Incubator.

We twogerera, mu nteekateeka za bizinesi ye yateekamu n’engeri gy’ayinza okutundira ebintu ku mutimbagano ate n’afuba okwekuumirako ekimuyambyeko okuyita mu nnawookeera. Eri abakyala abasuubuzi abali mu kulwanagana n’embeera, akkaatiriza obulungi obuli mu kukolera ku mutimbagano. “bw’oba teweekuumira ku mutimbagano olwaleero, kyenkana obeera nga atali mu bizinesi” bwatyo bwe yalabudde.

Abakyala abasuubuzi mu Uganda wamu n’ensi yonna okutwalira awamu babadde balina okusisinkana enkyukakyuka ey’omuggundu mu nkola y’emirimu olw’okuba nti ate babadde balina okulabirira abaana oluvannyuma lw’amasomero okuggalwawo. Ne mu mbeera eya bulijjo abakyala abasuubuzi basisinkana emiziziko egimanyiddwa mingi era egibalemesa okumalayo obusobozi bwabwe. Abaami bo kibabeerera kyangu okufuna amawulire amatuufu, okutendekebwa wamu n’okulungamizibwa ku ngeri gye bayinza okukwataganamu n’ebitongole ebiyamba ku by’ensimbi n’okukola enteekateeka ennungamu kwe batambuliza bizinesi zaabwe.

Ng’eyita mu nkola eziyamba okukulaakulanya bizinesi, okutendekebwa, okuzimba enjegere wamu n’okuwa amagezi, Stanbic Bizinesi Incubator etondawo embeera esobozesa abasuubuzi okukuuma wamu n’okukuza bizinesi zaabwe. Enkola eno era ewa abagyetabyemu omukisa ogw’okusisinkana ba kafulu mu bintu eby’enjawulo wamu n’okufuna obutale nga kwotadde n’okuyambibwa mu by’ensimbi. Okwegatta mu nkola ya Stanbic Bizinesi Incubator, abakyala abasuubuzi kibasobozesa okufuna emikisa ate oluusi gye batandifunye.

“Abakyala abasuubuzi kya muwendo nnyo eri eggwanga lyaffe. Nga tusinziira ku misomo egitegekeddwa, tukizudde nti abakyala bakola kya maanyi ku ngeri ebitongole gye biddukanyizibwamu wamu n’engeri ebitongole gye biyimirizibwawo okumala ebbanga eddene. Okwewaayo kwaffe eri okuyamba abakyala naddala abasuubuzi kye kimu bintu bye tutasobola kusuula muguluka. Okumala ebbanga eddene, twasalawo okuba n’enteekateeka ey’enjawulo eri abakyala abasuubuzi okubasobozesa okwetaba wamu n’okuganyulwa mu kutendekebwa okutegekebwa. N’olwekyo okwewayo kwaffe tekugendererwamu kuyamba muntu omu; wabula abakyala bangi babadde kitundu ku lugero luno naddala bwe kyamala okuzuulwa nti omuggalo gwa covid gwali gugenda kukosa bizinesi nnyinji okumala ebbanga ggwanvu. “Twekakasa nti tusobola okukolagana n’abakyala abasuubuzi bangi ne tubasobozesa okutuukiriza ebirooto byabwe” Bwatyo Tony Otoa akulembera Stanbic Business Incubator Limited bwe yagambye.

Bwe yawulira ku nkola ya bizinesi incubator okuva ku mukwano gwe, Rachel Lubega yali amaze emyaka 18 ng’addukanya bizinesi eteekateeka emikolo, Quality Management Services LTD era nga y’omu ku bannyini yo. Naye wadde nga yali abadde mu bizinesi okumala ebbanga ddene, yali akkiriza nti wakyaliwo obusobozi bw’okugikulaakulanya. “nnawulira nga nkyamuukiridde kubanga njagala nnyo okuyiga, okufuna okutendekebwa wamu n’okufuna obukugu obupya” bwatyo bwe yagambye.

Ng’ekitundu ku kutendekebwa, yeegatta ku kibinja ky’abakola obuweereza obwo abalala era nga muno mwalimu ne b’avuganya nabo. Bwe baatandika okuzimba enjegere wamu n’okubeera awamu, yatandika okutunuulira abamuvuganya ng’abantu b’asobola okukola nabo emirimu. “Twatandika n’okufunira awamu emirimu. Kyali kiyitirivu okusobola okugunjaawo enkolagana ey’engeri eyo n’abatuvuganya.” Bwatyo bwe yayongerako.

Teyakoma ku kutondawo mikisa gya kufuna mirimu gyokka ng’ayita mu kuzimba enjegere, yeeyongera n’okukuguka mu kwekkaanya eby’enfuna, okukuuma ebitabo wamu n’okunoonyeza akatale ku mutimbagano. Ku lw’obulungi bw’omulimu gwe, bye yali ayize naye yasalawo okubisomesa abakozi be.

Okufaananako nga Tamale, Lubega naye yazuula omugaso ogw’enjawulo mu misomo egiyigiriza okunoonyeza akatale ku mutimbagano. “Mu kiseera ekyo twali tulina website naye nga tekozesebwa kiryawo. Naye kati mmanyi omugaso gw’okubeera ne website ekola.” Yayongeddeko nti okussa mu nkola obukodyo bw’okuddukanyiza emirimu ku mutimbagano wamu n’okwekuumirako kikoze enjawulo ya maanyi nnyo mu bizinesi ye mu kiseera kya nnawookeera.

Nga zi bizinesi okwetooloola eggwanga zikyusa mu nkola zaazo, ne Stanbic Bizinesi Incubator tesigadde mabega. “Tubadde tuteekeddwa okuddamu okulowooza ku nkola yaffe era bwe tutyo ne twesulubabba enkola y’okusomeseza mu bibiina ne tutandika okuteeka emisomo gyaffe ku mutimbagano,” Otoa bwatyo bwe yagambye. Yayongeddeko nti enkola eno yawadde abasuubuzi essuubi olw’engeri gye balina obwetaavu okumanya ku bintu eby’enjawulo omuli okuddukanya eby’enfuna, obukulembeze n’ebirala ebisobola okuyamba bizinesi okuyimirirawo mu kiseera ng’eby’enfuna bigootaanye.

Abeetabyemu nakati basobola okuzimba enkolagana mu bbanguliro newankubadde nga basomera ku mutimbagano.

“Beeyanjula ku ntandikwa ya buli musomo era ne baweebwa n’omukisa okunnyonnyola ebikwata ku bizinesi zaabwe, bannyonnyolagana bye bayiseemu era ne bawangana endagiriro,” bwatyo Nadia Ayaa bwe yagambe, ono y’akwanaganya enkola ya Stanbic Business Incubator Limited.

Okukyusa enkola okuva ku kutuula mu kibiina okudda mu kusomera ku mutimbagano kwongera okuyambako abakyala abasuubuzi olwokuba kibanguyiza ku kutemaatema obudde obw’okutuukiriza obuvunaanyizibwa bw’awaka ate n’eby’emirimu. Mu kifo ky’okugenda mu kibiina, basobola okwetaba mu kutendekebwa nga basinziira mu maka gaabwe oba mu ofiisi.

 

Okumanya ebisingawo ku Stanbic Business Incubator Limited, kuba ku ssimu

0312 226 700

 

 

 

The Stanbic Business Incubator enables women entrepreneurs to reach their full potential as business owners

Photos by Blaire Davis Mugume

Hudah Tamale is no stranger to pivoting. When she began her business in 2015, she thought she could make money selling cakes. To attract new customers, she started offering herbal teas as a marketing strategy. However, she soon found herself becoming more excited over her tea products. After recognizing where her true passion lay, she shifted her business strategy and started focusing entirely on selling tea.

When the COVID-19 lockdown began, Tamale found herself needing to pivot her business, Nash Royal Tea, again. With social distancing measures in place, she needed to rely more heavily on digital marketing strategies. Luckily, she had already learned many of the skills that she would need through the Stanbic Business Incubator.

Today, she has a digital marketing strategy incorporated into her business plans and maintains an active online presence that has helped her through the pandemic. For women entrepreneurs struggling, she stresses the importance of digitizing. “If you don’t have an online presence right now, you are almost nonexistent in business right now,” she warned.

Women entrepreneurs in Uganda and worldwide have had to face a rapidly changing business environment while still taking care of their children full-time once the schools closed. Even in regular times, women entrepreneurs face well-documented barriers that prevent them from reaching their full potential. Men are more likely to have the right information, training, and guidance to inform their dealings with financial institutions and plan effectively for their businesses in the long-term.

Through business development services, training, networking events, and mentoring, the Stanbic Business Incubator offers an enabling ecosystem for entrepreneurs to protect and grow their businesses. The incubator also provides participants with opportunities to engage with subject matter experts and access markets and finance. By joining the Stanbic Business Incubator, women entrepreneurs can take advantage of opportunities that they may have not otherwise had.

“Women entrepreneurs are a great resource to this country from our training we have come to realize that women play a very vital role in how enterprises are run and how enterprises are actually sustained over long period of time. Our commitment to the support of women especially the women entrepreneurs is one that we cannot deviate from. we have for a long time decided to have quota set for women entrepreneurs to be able to see them participate and enjoy the benefits of our training program. our commitment therefore is not a one of one off intervention. Many women have been part of this whole story especially after the realization that the lockdown or covid was going to impact on many businesses for a long time. we’re certain that we can be very much in partnership with a lot of women entrepreneurs to scale them to fir their dreams.”  said Tony Otoa, Executive Director, Stanbic Business Incubator Limited.

Meet Rachel Lubega

When she heard about the incubator from a friend, Rachel Lubega had already co-owned her corporate event business, Quality Management Services LTD, for 18 years. However, despite the longevity of her business, she believed she still had room to grow. “I felt excited because I love learning, getting training, and gaining new skills,” she said.

As part of the training, she joined a cohort of service providers that included some of her competitors. Through networking and personal bonding, she began to see her competition as potential business partner. “We even were able to get business together. It was great having to create that kind of relationship with our competitors,” she added.

Not only was she able to create business opportunities through networking, but she became more adept at auditing, bookkeeping, and digital marketing. To the benefit of her business, she transferred many of these new skills she was learning to her employees.

Like Tamale, Lubega found particular value in the seminars on digital marketing. “At the time, we had the website, but it wasn’t very active. But now I know the importance of having an active website.” She added that implementing digital strategies and maintaining a web presence has made a beneficial difference for her business during the pandemic.

As businesses across Uganda adjust to the “new normal”, so has the Stanbic Business Incubator. “We have had to rethink our program, going away from the typical classroom lecture mode into online tutorials and lectures,” said Otoa in a recent interview. He added that the shift made entrepreneurs hopeful because of a shared need for information on financial management, governance, and other issues critical to business survival in an economic downturn.

Participants are still able to network at the Incubator even though the classes are online.

“They introduce themselves at the start of every session and are given provision to state what each of their businesses is about, share experiences, and share their contact information with other participants,” said Nadia Ayaa, Program Coordinator, Stanbic Business Incubator Limited.

The switch from a classroom setting to online tutorials also creates more flexibility for women entrepreneurs, who often balance household responsibilities and business ventures. Instead of going to a classroom, they can access the training at the comfort of their home or office.

For more information about the Stanbic Business Incubator Limited, please call
0312 226 700


Engeri SHONA gy’eyambamu zi bizinesi mu buvanjuba bwa Africa okuyita mu nnawookeera wa covid 19

Omukutu gwa COVID-19 Business Info Hub gwayogerako ne SHONA nga kino kitongole ekiyambako abasuubuzi okubayigiriza engeri gye bayinza okukulaakulanyamu emirimu gyabwe mu buvanjuba bwa Africa, okusobola okutegeera engeri gye kiyambamu eby’obusuubuzi mu kitundu.

Bino bye weetaaga okumanya:

SHONA kitongole ekiyamba okuwa amagezi wamu n’okutendekebwa okusobozesa amakolero wamu n’eby’obusuubuzi ebitonotono okukulaakulana mu by’ennyingiza y’esimbi  okusobola okukola amagoba. Ekigendererwa kyabwe ekikulu kwe kulaba nga bazimba eby’obusuubuzi obwa ssekinnoomu mu buvanjuba bwa Africa ebyegombesa.

SHONA ennyonnyola nti emirimu gino gigasiza wamu abantu mu bitundu mwe gikolerwa omuli abaguzi, abakozi, ba nnyini gyo, abayambako mu nzirukanya yagyo n’ekitundu kyonna okutwalira awamu.

Okuva mu 2014, SHONA ekoze ne zi bizinesi ezisoba mu kyenda mu ssatu (93) era ne basobodde okutondawo emirimu egisoba mu 1,700 wamu n’okukungaanya ensimbi eziwera obukadde 33 obwa ddoola (eza Uganda ezisoba mu buwumbi 123.1) eza “kapito”, baweerezza abaguzi abasoba mu 470,000 wamu n’okuwayo omusolo ogusukka mu bukadde bwa ddoola 10 eri eby’enfuna by’obuvanja bwa Africa.

Wetwogerera kati, SHONA ezze etegeka emisomo egy’enjawulo ng’esinziira ku bwetaavu okusobozesa abasuubuzi okuvvuunuka emirerembe egyaleetebwa Covid-19. Egisinze okwettanirwa mulimu enzirukanya y’eby’enfuna, okunoonyeza akatale ku mutimbagano wamu n’engeri y’okutumbula omuwendo gw’ebintu ebitundibwa. Omuntu asobola okwetaba mu misomo gino ku kasente akatono ennyo nga n’oluusi giba gya bwereere.

Mu kiseera kino, omusomo oguyigiriza enzirukanya y’eby’enfuna gusomesebwa ku bwereere, engeri y’okunoonyeza akatale ku mutimbagano gwa UGX 100,000, oguyigiriza engeri y’okutumbulamu omuwendo gw’ebitundibwa gwa 200,000 ate nga bagaba ne sikaala eri bizinesi ezimu.

Ng’oggyeko okutegeka emisomo, SHONA era erambika bulungi emikisa egiriwo abasuubuzi mwe basobola okuyita okusobola okufuna ensimbi ezikozesebwa. Obwetaavu bwa ssente kye kimu ku bintu ebisinga okussibwako essira mu bizinesi ate bwe kyatuuse mu kiseera kya nnawookeera wa COVID-19 kyayitiridde, na bwekityo olukalala lw’ebintu ebiyinza okukozesebwa weeruli era luzzibwa buggya buli kiseera.

Olwokuba bategeera ebizibu amakolera n’eby’obusuubuzi ebitonono bye bayitamu n’engeri gye byeyongedde mu kiseera kya nnawookeera, SHONA ekubiriza zi bizinensi okufaayo ennyo okukuuma abakozi baazo, okutegeera ebizibu bye zoolekedde wamu n’okufaayo ku ngeri gye bakwasaganya emiziziko mu nnyingiza y’ensimbi mu kiseera kino. SHONA era ewa amagezi ku bintu by’oyinza okukola okusobola okuzza obuggya bizinesi yo embagirawo.

Okumanya ebisingawo, weereza email ku: dopio@shona.co

Okubatuukirira

Basangibwa ku  Plot 8, Suna II Road, Ntinda, Kampala

Essimu: +256791052406

Email: dopio@shona.co

 

 

How SHONA is supporting businesses in East Africa to weather the pandemic

The COVID-19 Business Info Hub spoke with SHONA, an East African Business Development Services company, to understand how they are supporting businesses in the region. Here is what you need to know:

SHONA provides business advisory services and training to help SMEs grow revenues and become profitable. Their goal is to build a thriving East African private sector driven by good businesses. SHONA defines these businesses as those that positively benefit society, including customers, employees, owners, value-chain partners and the community in which they are based. Since 2014, SHONA has worked with over ninety three businesses that together have created over 1,700 jobs, raised $33 million (over 123.1 billion Uganda shillings) in capital, served more than 470,000 customers, and contributed over $10 million in taxes to East African economies.

To date, SHONA has run multiple courses on a demand basis to support businesses to survive and recover from the impact of Covid-19.  The most popular include Financial Management (Cash Management Cycle, Managing Cash Flows & an Intro to Funding), Digital Marketing (Growing online clientele), and Boosting Sales (Recovering revenue lost because of Covid-19). There are opportunities to participate at low or no cost. The Financial Management course is currently being offered for free, Digital Marketing is offered at a cost of UGX 100,000, and Boosting Sales is available at a cost of UGX 200,000 with the option of a free scholarship to select businesses.

In addition to its course offerings, SHONA has also curated a list of funding opportunities available for entrepreneurs. The need for cash for liquidity has always been high up on the priority list for businesses, and this need has increased significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic. A list of resources, which is updated continuously, is available HERE.

Understanding the existing struggles faced by SMEs and how these have been exacerbated by the pandemic, SHONA urges businesses to focus on protecting employees, understanding business risks, and managing cash flow disruptions during this time. SHONA offers resources on business continuity and managing your cash in a crisis and rebuilding and reviving your business after a crisis.  SHONA also provides tailored advisory services supporting businesses in developing business recovery strategies and plans that can be immediately operationalized. For more information, email: dopio@shona.co

How to get in touch

Address: Plot 8, Suna II Road, Ntinda, Kampala.

Tel: +256791052406

Email: dopio@shona.co

 


How the Tourism Sector in Uganda Can Recover and Thrive

The COVID-19 Business Hub spoke with Richard Kawere, the Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda Tourism Association, to learn how the tourism sector in Uganda can recover from the pandemic and thrive in the future.

Ernest:  Can you please introduce yourself and describe your role at Uganda Tourism Association and tell us; what does the association do for the tourism sector?

Richard Kawere: My name is Richard Kawere, the Chief Executive Officer and technical coordinator of the Uganda Tourism Association. Uganda Tourism Association is the umbrella body of tourism private sector in Uganda.  In my role as the chief executive officer, I ensure that the association meets its mandate. This involves coordinating the private sector, in terms of advocacy, capacity building, product development, marketing and harmonized quality assurance standards.

We have approximately eight-member associations, including the Association of Guide Tour Operators, the Hotel Owners Association, and The Travel Agents Association. The General Managers Association, the Uganda Safari Guide Association, the National Cultural Crafts Association and the Tourism Trade show.

We remain focused on ensuring that we have a sustainable tourism industry in Uganda. To achieve this vision, we intervene between the government and the private sector for a favorable business environment for tourism enterprises in Uganda.

Ernest Wasake: Could you please tell us how the tourism sector has been affected by COVID?

Richard Kawere: The tourism sector has been the worst hit industry. If we are to narrow it down from the global perspective to the Ugandan perspective, the tourism industry was hit, actually before COVID entered Uganda. Because when COVID-19 hit the globe, cancelations started coming in as early as January and February. And those cancelations meant loss of business. As a result, businesses started going down as early as January and February.

By the time they announced a lockdown, tourism industry had already suffered substantial business loss. Each subsector of the tourism industry was hit differently. In terms of outbound tourism, the travel agents industry, suffered about 97 percent business loss with the announcement of airport closures. In terms of inbound tourism, our study (The Impact of Covid-19 on the tourism sector, Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, July 2020) revealed that tour operators suffered about 80 percent business loss (around 30.4 Million US dollars – 0.11 trillion shillings) in inbound tourism between the months of February and July. Meanwhile, the accommodation sector lost about 1.19 trillion shillings by July as a result of 48,966 room cancelations. On average, the study that we conducted puts the industry at a loss of about 92 percent of businesses and because there was no activity, there were temporary layoffs and about 80 percent of the workforce was fully laid off.

Ernest Wasake: What needs to be done to help the tourism sector recover and thrive?

Richard Kawere:  It requires a number of mixed strategies for our industry.  All businesses lost revenue and continue to pay operating costs, meaning that all tourism businesses have run out of, what I would call, operational cash flow, and some of them are tentatively even closed.  For the survival of the industry, we are looking at two dimensions: One dimension is survival in the form of grants and the other dimension is the recovery through soft loans. A mixture of those two is very important.

Marketing is also essential. As the globe settles down because now there’s this glimpse of a vaccine, it is all those countries that have been in touch with their clientele that will be on the travel lists. A good amount of money needs to be spent on constant marketing and promotion of Uganda as a destination. Because once there is some level of confidence for travelers to move, they will go to those destinations that have been properly marketed.

Additionally, Businesses need to be supported in the area of capacity building (both online and in person training), so they can design strategies to respond to such catastrophes like this one in the future. The psychological impact on business owners and employees is quite high. So making sure employees are counseled and also empowered through capacity building so that there is hope still ringing in the minds of these employees and the business enterprises. Most importantly is the adoption of technology as the new way for most of the business processes in the tourism industry. So first survive, then recover and then develop resilient mechanisms for future catastrophes.

Ernest Wasake: What would you say the future looks like in terms of if you were to sort of glance into what the future looks like, if the right things were put in place? What does the future look like for tourism?

Richard Kawere: Wherever there is a challenge, there’s always an opportunity. We have a very strong belief that this industry will bounce back strongly. Especially because people have been confined in [home] areas, we believe there is going to be a very strong push for people to move out and shake off the stress. That positive belief indicates that there will be an increased demand for the tourism services, both locally and internationally for both inbound and outbound.

It is also important that we have a secure and safe environment and a secure political environment. That gives confidence to our clients to arrive in one or two years since the vaccine is getting some little headway, maybe in about one year we may start [the journey of recovery] all over. The future of the industry is bright. What we need to do is to get our strategies right now. If we get our strategies right, then we would be able to compete favorably with other destinations.

 


Happy Holidays from the COVID-19 Business Info Hub

Dear Esteemed Reader,

The COVID-19 Business Info Hub would like to send you our warmest regards for the holiday and festive season, in spite of the pandemic.

If you have suffered hardship in your business this year, you are not alone.  Businesses across Uganda (and the globe) have experienced unprecedented shocks including staff lay-offs and disruptions to the supply chain. However, in light of the challenges, there have also been testimonies of survival and even re-invention that has led to growth.

Through-out the year, COVID-19 Business Info Hub, has dedicated our content to help businesses like yours navigate the challenges of a new business environment by providing meaningful information on financial and non-financial solutions including what government is doing to support the sector, relevant business training opportunities, and highligts on different funding programs.

As we come to the close of the year, our site is focused on highlighting the Voices of Entrepreneurs. In November, we focused on women business owners who have not only survived but thrived! This month, we are focusing on the severely affected Tourism sector to highlight the different ways in which the sector can recover based on insights from the industry’s leaders from both the  government and private sector.

In the New Year, we expect to see continued easing and relaxation of government restrictions, and opening up of the business environment. We are already seeing new avenues for doing business as many businesses adapted during  the pandemic by implementing a digital first strategy.  We will be highlighting this shift to digital in the new year, and will shine light on the biggest adopters of new technology, youth entrepreneurs.

We look forward to how we can provide more insightful content to you in the New Year and we promise to do our best to inform you on what opportunities for growth and continued recovery exist. We hope to hear back from you too! From our content team at ConsumerCentriX and partners at Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited, and Stanbic Business Incubator Limited we wish you all the best of the holiday season and a happy new year!


How the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) is helping women entrepreneurs outlast the pandemic

How the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) is helping women entrepreneurs outlast the pandemic

The Covid-19 Business Info Hub spoke with Winnie Lawoko-Olwe, Director of SMEs at the Uganda Investment Authority to learn how the Uganda Investment Authority is helping women entrepreneurs through the pandemic.

Ernest Wasake: Would you kindly introduce yourself and what you do at the Uganda Investment Authority?

 Winnie Lawoko-Olwe:  My name is Winnie Lawoko-Olwe and I am the Director of SMEs at the Uganda Investment Authority.

Ernest Wasake: The COVID-19 Business Info Hub is looking to focus on how women entrepreneurs have been able not only to survive, but to thrive during the pandemic. Tell us about yourself, and your role at Uganda Investment Authority (UIA). How have you been able to survive and thrive during this pandemic?

Winnie Lawoko-Olwe: COVID-19 came as a major surprise to everybody. And because of the nature of the Standard Operating Procedures and the activities around the pandemic, it required fast thinking and fast adaptation. As UIA, we immediately conducted research that where a total of about 385 businesses were interviewed. And of these interviewed, about 30 percent were SMEs, and of those 30 percent, we were able to interview 32 percent specifically women.

We know very well that the SME economy of Uganda is a very much a cash economy. The pandemic affected most women and challenged how they balanced finances for the businesses and finances for their families.

The assessment found that the businesses are distressed and needed additional money. The assessment also found that a intervention was needed to help businesses change their models from the direct channel of selling off the street to the effective use of mobile money, networks to deliver your business, and developing business products to what clients need the most.

Under the Rising Woman campaign, Investment Authority is looking at how we can take the women’s businesses into a next level of digitization in terms of marketing their products, in terms of effectively using mobile payments as opposed to cash payments. And we are running trainings in six areas for the newly developed digitization product for the campaign. We are going to be able to come up with a clear product rollout in terms of digitizing and e-commerce adaptation

Ernest Wasake: How has the Investment Authority supported the SME sector during the pandemic?

Winnie Lawoko-Olwe: In this period of the pandemic, one of the major challenges is that our Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have limitations on number of people that we can support. During the first part of the pandemic, our programs were supporting about a maximum of 10 people, thereby limiting outreach numbers. Given these limitations, UIA has started delivering capacity building programs that allow a few leaders from women organizations to be taken through the program and to pass on the lessons to other women. The training currently has narrowed down from entrepreneurial development to marketing and access to markets training programs. We are looking at digitization of business processes and we are also looking at using ICTs.

Ernest Wasake: Do you have testimonies of businesses that have thrived during the pandemic and what lessons can be learned from them?

Winnie Lawoko-Olwe: Yes, we have had businesses that have thrived so far.  Businesses that have thrived have been able to place themselves into the e-commerce platform. We have a number of ladies who are doing sanitizers and foodstuffs that are currently registered on the Zimba Mart (an online e-commerce platform created by ZimbaWomen) I must say that Zimba  Women is one of those women-in-tech initiatives that we think will help and support to take women to the next level, because it is owned by women that can easily understand the dynamics of women and the challenges that women are having. The second group that we work closely with is the Business and Professional Women of Kampala branch who actually access the women groups, identified which is the most appropriate time to be able to help them to sell their products online.

Ernest Wasake: What can be done to increase the level of women entrepreneurship in Uganda?

 Winnie Lawoko-Olwe: To increase the participation and the overall input from women entrepreneurs in Uganda means that we need to be able to identify the supporters or service providers in specific areas so that women activities and growth activities are not duplicated. I want to talk about the three key things that women face: The first is access to effective networks that allow them to grow within different areas of growth.  The second is linkage for growth in terms of the value chain. The third is affordable financing that looks at one’s internal competitiveness.

I know that the Stanbic Bank Incubator Platform is doing quite a bit in terms of getting those value chains together. But I think that if I’m a woman entrepreneur sitting in Busia, where do I go to get that information? And that’s where I think the most important opportunity is – to have a national portal, where every woman can access information where she is able to click networks and be able to access networks that she can work with. And last but not least, is the mentorship for growth – that means that we are looking at women who have excelled within those specific areas, to inspire and lead other women.

Also, I think there’s a missing gap, in terms of specific funds for SME women. If you talk today about the Emyooga(poverty eradication program) which is easily accessible, it requires one to be in a group to access the funds and yet, as an SME you’re not going to join a group. As an SME you need to be identified as a specific business that can walk into any place and is assessed based on your internal competitiveness, the ready market that you have for your product and the support systems that you need to be able to effectively utilize them. So I think those are the key things that we as Uganda Investment Authority are strongly pushing to address through interventions.

Ernest Wasake: What advise have you given to a woman entrepreneur on a personal level to help them grow.

Winnie Lawoko-Olwe: OK. On a personal level, I have supported Vantage Communication and Zimba Women. And this is specifically in terms of growing their business and looking at the environment. Both companies have fantastic products and they met the challenges in terms of setting up processes and procedures to manage the internal environment. And the advice here is: you are the entrepreneur, you know the business, you know what you want out of it. But take yourself back and think of growing this business scalability. Can you scale the business to the level you want working as an individual? And if you can, then it’s going to remain a niche product for a few people. And yet the demand for the product is great. The concept that we went through was one, assess your strengths and concentrate on this strength.

Secondly, look at the operatives. If you are taking this unique project out, you have any unique selling proposition. But in order for this proposition to be delivered, what are the steps you need? Do you need a marketing person? Do you need somebody to actually install, you know the uptake? And do you need somebody to do your finances? If you’re able to look at those critical business steps within the business, then it will help you to identify who internally would be the best person to manage it. If you do not have somebody internally, how would you then be able to take that? And that means you are recruiting. Are you able to price the product? Once you price the product, is it right for the market to be able to take it to the market?

I think from this learning perspective, there are two things that entrepreneurs need to know. As an entrepreneur, you do have a drive. You’ve seen the gap. You know that the market needs it. And that’s very important. But in terms of scalability of your product, in terms of taking your business to the market, you then need to look at those critical procedures, internal procedures that will allow you to take the product to the market. And the product will be the same today, tomorrow and the next day. That means there’s a standard of procedure. It’s a unique selling proposition and it’s a unique product that is going out to the market.

Engeri ekitongole ki Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) gye kiyambamu abakyala abasuubuzi okubeerawo mu kiseera kya nnawookeera wa Covid-19.

Omukutu gwa Covid-19 Business Info Hub gwayogerako ne Winnie Lawoko-Olwe ono nga y’akulira amakolero wamu n’eby’obusuubuzi ebitonotono (SMEs) ku Uganda Investment Authority (ekitongole ekivunaanyizibwa ku by’okusiga ensimbi mu ggwanga) nga twagala okumanya engeri ekitongole kino gye kiyambyemu abakyala abasuubuzi okuyita mu nnawookeera.

Ernest Wasake: Tukusaba weeyanjule era otubuulire ne ky’okola ku Uganda Investment Authority

Winnie Lawoko-Olwe:  Nze Winnie Lawoko-Olwe era nga nze nkulira obukolero wamu n’eby’obusuubuzi ebitonotono ku Uganda Investment Authority.

Ernest Wasake: Omukutu gwa Covid-19 Business Info Hub gutunuulidde okussa essira ku ngeri abakyala abasuubuzi gye basobodde si kubeerawo bubeezi wabula n’okuyitimuka mu kiseera kya nnawookeera. Tubuulire ku bikukwatako era ne ky’okola ku Uganda Investment Authority (UIA). Osobodde otya okubeerawo wamu n’okuyitimuka ku kiseera ky’olumbulege?

Winnie Lawoko-Olwe: Covid-19 yajja ng’ekyewuunyisa eri buli muntu. Ate olw’embeera y’amateeka n’ebiragiro ebyassibwawo okugobererwa mu kiseera kino, kyali kyetaagisa okulowooza okw’amangu wamu n’okukyusa enkola embagirawo.  Nga UIA, twatandikirawo okukola okunoonyereza era bizinesi eziwera nga 385 ze zaagezesebwa nga 30% zaali SMEs. Ate ku 30% ezo, 32% zaali za bakyala.

Tukimanyi bulungi nti eby’enfuna bya SME mu Uganda bitambulira nnyo ku nsimbi enkalu. Ekirwadde kyakosa abakyala abasinga era ne bafuna okusoomoozebwa ku ngera gye batemaatemamu ssente ez’okuddukanya emirimu wamu n’ez’okulabirira amaka gaabwe.

Mu kupimaapima, kyazuulibwa nti bizinesi zaali zinyigiriziddwa nnyo era nga zeetaaga okwongerwamu ku ssente. Era kyazuulibwa nti walina okubaawo ekikolebwa okusobozesa bizinesi zino okukyusa enkola zaazo okuva mu kutunda ebintu obutereevu ku nguudo badde mu nkola ey’okuweerezeganya ssente ku ssimu, okuzimba enjegere ezituusa ebintu ku bantu wamu n’okukola ebintu ebyo abaguzi bye basinga okwetaaga.

Mu nkola eya “Rising Woman campaign”, UIA etunuulira engeri gye tuyinza okutwalamu bizinesi z’abakyala ku mutendera oguddako-ogw’okukolera ku mutimbagano nga muno mulimu okunoonya akatale wamu  n’okusasulira ku byuma mu kifo kya ssente enkalu. Kaakano okutendekebwa kugenda mu maaso era nga tusuubira okuvaayo n’enkola entuufu mu mbeera y’okukwasaganyiza emirimu ku mutimbagano.

Ernest Wasake: Investment authority eyambye etya obukolero n’eby’obusuubuzi ebitonotono mu kiseera kya nnawookeera.

Winnie Lawoko-Olwe: Mu kiseera kino ekya nnawookeera, ekimu ku bisoomooza eby’amaanyi bye tulina kwe kuba nti amateeka agassibwawo okugobererwa (SOPs) gassa ekkomo ku muwendo gw’abantu be tusobola okuyamba. Mu kitundu ky’obulwadde ekyasooka, amateeka gaali gatukkiriza okuyamba abantu abatasukka 10 ne kitulemesa okutuuka ku balala. Olw’obukwakkulizo obwo, UIA etandise enkola ey’okutendeka abakulembeze b’ebibiina by’abakyala nga bano bwe baddayo ne basomesa bannaabwe ebyo ebiba bibayigiriziddwa. Okutendekebwa nakwo kukendeezeddwa okuva ku kubayigiriza okutondawo wamu n’okuddukanya emirimu ne kudda ku ngeri y’okunoonyamu obutale. Tutunuulidde engeri y’okuddukanyiza emirimu ku mutimbagano era n’okukozesa ebyuma bi kalimagezi.

Ernest Wasake: Olinawo obujulizi obwa bizinesi eziyitimuse mu kiseera kya nnawookeera era kiki kye tuyinza okuziyigirako?

Winnie Lawoko-Olwe: Bwe kiri, tulinawo zi bizinesi eziyitimuse era ezo zisobodde n’okwegatta ku nkola ey’okuddukanyiza emirimu ku mutimbagano. Tulina abakyala banji abakola eddagala eritta obuwuka (sanitayiza) wamu n’emmere era nga kaakano beeyunga ku mukutu gwa Zimba mart (mukutu oguli ku mutimbagano nga gwatondebwawo ekitongole kya Zimba Women). Ka ngambe nti Zimba Women kye kimu ku bitongole bye tusuubira nti bijja kuyamba nnyo abakyala okubatwala ku mutendera oguddako kubanga  kyatandikibwa bakyala abategeera obulungi embeera  z’omukyala wamu okusoomoozebwa kwonna abakyala kwe basisinkana.

Ekibinja eky’okubiri kye tukola nakyo kiyitibwa “Business and Professional women” ab’ettabi lya Kampala era nga bano batuukirira ebibiina by’abakyala eby’enjawulo n’okubayamba okuzuula ekiseera ekituufu we basobolera okutunda ebyamaguzi byabwe ku mutimbagano.

Ernest Wasake: Kiki ekiyinza okukolebwa okwongera ku muwendo gw’abakyala abenyigira mu by’obusuubuzi mu Uganda?

Winnie Lawoko-Olwe: okusobola okwongera ku muwendo gw’abakyala abenyigira mu by’obusuubuzi mu Uganda, tulina okusooka okuzuula ebintu eby’enjawulo ebisobola okukolebwa tusobole okwewala embeera y’abakyala abanji okwenyigira mu kintu ekimu. Njagala njogere ku bintu ebikulu bisatu abakyala bye batera okusisinkana: Ekisooka, basobola batya okutema empenda ezinaabasobozesa okukula, eky’okubiri okuyiga engeri gye basobola okuteekamu ekitono nga baddukanya emirimu gyabwe, eky’okusatu kwe kufuna okuyambibwakomu by’ensimbi mu ngeri esoboka era etunuulira obusobozi bw’omuntu obw’omunda.

Nkimanyi nti enkola ya Stanbic Bank eya Business Incubator ekoze bulungi mu kukwasaganya ebintu ebyo, naye bwemba omukyala omusuubuzi abeera e Busia, nnaalaga wa okufuna okumanyisibwa okwo? Wano nze nsuubira nti we wali ekinyusi – okufuna omukutu ogugatta eggwanga lyonna, nga buli mukyala wonna waali asobola okufuna okumanyisibwa kwonna kwe yeetaaze ng’anyiga bunyizi peesa n’asobola okuzuula abantu b’ayinza okukolagana nabo. N’ekisembayo be bantu be tulabirako – kino kitegeeza nti tutunuulira abakyala abatuuse ku buwanguzi mu bintu eby’enjawulo ne bafuuka eby’okulabirako wamu n’okukulembera bannaabwe.

Ekirala, ndowooza nti waliwo omuwaatwa mu mbeera y’okuteekawo ssente ez’enjawulo okuyambako abakyala aba SMEs. Bwe twogera ku nkola y’emyooga eriwo ensanji zino(enkola ey’okweggya mu bwavu), kyetaagisa omuntu okweyunga ku kibinja so ng’ate oba tosobola kweyungako nga SME. Nga SME, kyetaagisa n’oba ng’osobola okugenda awantu wonna ne bakupimaapima nga basinziira ku busobozi bwo, akatale k’olina wamu n’engeri gy’ogenda okuyitamu okusobola okubikozesa obulungi. N’olwekyo nze nsuubira nti ebyo bye bintu eby’enkizo ffe nga Uganda Investment Authority bye tusaana okussaako essira tulabe nga tubitereeza.

Ernest Wasake: Ng’omuntu, magezi ki g’oyinza okuwa omukyala okumuyambako okwekulaakulanya?

Winnie Lawoko-Olwe: Ng’omuntu, nnyambyeko Vantage Communication ne Zimba women ku ngeri gye basobola okukulaakulanya buzinesi zaabwe okusinziira ku mbeera. Ebitongole byombi bikola ebintu ebirungi era byasobola okutuukiriza obukwakkulizo obwetaagisa mu kuteekateeka embeera eddukanyizibwamu emirimu. Amagezi wano gali nti; ggwe musuubuzi, bizinesi ogimanyi era omanyi ne ky’ogyetaaga mu.  Ddamu olowooze kungeri gy’oyinza okugaziyaamu bizinesi yo. Osobola okugigaziya okutuuka ku mutendera kw’ogyetaaga ku lulwo? Bw’oba osobola, awo ky’okola kijja kusigala nga kintu kya njawulo ekigulwa abantu abatonotono so ng’ate abakyetaaga bayinza okuba nga banji. Ekikulu kye tutunuulira kiri nti; manya obusobozi bwo we buli era obunywerereko. Eky’okubiri, tunuulira ebikolebwa. Bwoba oleeseyo ekyenjawulo, oyiyiizzayo engeri ey’enjawulo gy’onoyitamu okufuna akatale? Kiki kye weetaaga okukola? Olina kitunzi? Weetaaga omuntu anaakukwasaganyiza eby’enfuna? Bw’oba omaze okwekkaanya emitendera gino emikulu mu bizinesi, awo obeera ojja kusobola okuzuula omuntu omutuufu anaakuyambako mu kugiddukanya. Bwoba tolinaayo muntu yenna ow’omunda, olwo obeera onookikwasaganya otya? Ekyo kitegeeza nti ogenda kuwandiikayo abakozi. Ebintu by’okola osobola okubissaako omuwendo? Bw’oba omaze okubiwa omuwendo, bigwanidde okussibwa ku katale?

Nze ndowooza nti waliwo ebintu bibiri abasuubuzi bye beetaaga okumanya. Ng’omusuubuzi, olina ekigendererwa, olabye omuwaatwa era okimanyi nti akatale keetaavu. Ekyo nno kya mugaso. Naye mu mbeera y’okugaziya ebintu byo, n’okutwala bizinesi yo ku katale weetaaga okwekkaanya emitendera egyo. Olina okulaba nga ky’okola kye kimu leero, enkya n’olunaku olunaddako. Kino kitegeeza nti engeri gy’okolamu ebintu byo eri ku mutindo, kino kikuyambako mu kufuna akatale kubanga ky’otunda kiba kya njawulo.

 

 

 


Cleaning up after COVID-19: An Interview with Lydia Syson Naiga of NLS Services Limited

COVID-19 Business Info Hub spoke with Lydia Syson Naiga, Business Development Manager at NLS Services Limited to understand how her business has weathered through the pandemic and to hear her advice for other women entrepreneurs.

Ernest Wasake: Thank you for joining us today. Can you introduce yourself and describe your business?

Lydia Syson Naiga: My name is Lydia Syson Naiga and NLS Services Limited is our business. We deal with medical waste disposal, hazardous waste disposal, and industrial waste. We pick up medical waste from different hospitals, around Kampala and the rest of the country, Kampala mainly, and take it to our incineration plant for disposal.  As of April, we have been in business for 11 years and currently, we’re employing 52 staff members.

Ernest Wasake: Can you tell us about how much of the market you control and what your business means in terms of its significance in the market.

Lydia Syson Naiga:  We have around 80 percent of the market share. Most of the private hospitals, actually almost all private hospitals are our clients. Recently, we managed to penetrate [to work with] the government referral hospitals.

Ernest Wasake: Let us understand a little bit more about your business. How has NLS waste management fared during the pandemic?

Lydia Syson Naiga: As essential workers, we continued to work through the lockdown because we had to pick up medical waste and there is no way medical waste could be left in the hospitals. I would say we didn’t get really affected because we have never stopped working. The only issue we had was making sure some staff members came to work, given the covid-19 travel restrictions. Some of our staff had to work from home, which wasn’t something we were ready for. That was a bit of a struggle.

 Ernest Wasake: Tell us what practical tools or skills you put in place to survive? What worked and what didn’t?

Lydia Syson Naiga: We just had to make sure we had to be very strict on the protective wear policy. We had to do mass testing every month for all staff members. The fact that our staff actually have to go on the ground and interact in these particular places where we have to actually pick up COVID waste meant we had to be very cautious.

 Ernest Wasake: Is there any other part of your business that you had to change or adjust as a result of COVID, either to increase your business or to protect business?

Lydia Syson Naiga: We have clients that have been struggling because their earning numbers have dropped. This has affected their payments flow, as a result we had to make sure we have money to run the business. You can’t tell a client “because payments are delayed, we can’t pick up your waste.” We had to just work with what resources we had and we made sure we save on every penny because it’s going to be tough ahead. The pandemic has also affected our suppliers, but we managed to get through.

Ernest Wasake: How can businesses position themselves for the times ahead? Now that we’re entering a different phase of the pandemic that will continue to shape the economy?

 Lydia Syson Naiga: The virus isn’t about to end today and It’s not going to end tomorrow. We just have to work with what we have and cut costs if we can. People have to be very careful with their operations and plan because enterprises are closing abruptly due to the effects of the pandemic.

Ernest Wasake: Could also tell us where do you see NLS Waste Management Services going in the next couple of years?

Lydia Syson Naiga: In the next couple of years, I think we will be the next big waste management company in Uganda and in Africa once we have aligned particular products, that we will roll out.

Ernest Wasake: If you had any personal last message that you can give to women entrepreneurs, what lessons would you share?

Lydia Syson Naiga: Be very clear and be consistent. If you think it’s going to be a walk in the park, it’s never a walk in the park, so it’s persistence and consistency. If you tell someone the contract, say this, it says we shall pick up your waste or shall do this – live within the contract. Don’t go beyond.