Stanbic Bank Uganda is helping to reduce the financing gap in the agribusiness sector.

Melisa Nyakwera, Head Agribusiness at Stanbic Bank Uganda, spoke with the COVID-19 Business Info Hub on the banks’ initiatives to reduce the financing gaps for smallholder farmers and agribusinesses. 

Stanbic Bank Uganda’s initiatives to reduce the financing gap in the agribusiness sector

Stanbic Bank Uganda has the following initiatives to facilitate access to finance for the sector:

  • The bank uses the One Farm platform to profile farmers and agribusinesses. We understand their needs and provide solutions such as input financing, agronomy training, insurance, and information on markets.
  • Stanbic Bank Uganda is increasing access to affordable finance to the farmers through their SACCOs and farmer groups by lending to the SACCOs and farmer groups at a subsidized interest rate.
  • The bank provides several financial products to the sector, including short-term and long-term loans, invoice discounting, stock financing, and asset financing.
  • Using the Flexi pay wallet, clients receive and pay for services or commodities from one wallet to another at no charge.

Keep in mind that agribusinesses need to have in place good business records, plans and a clear strategy to access financing during these challenging times.

For more information call: 0800250250 or WhatsApp: 0770588623

What is the role of Stanbic Bank Uganda in the agribusiness sector?

Stanbic Bank Uganda’s agribusiness segment works with all customers within the agriculture space. We look at the value chain from input suppliers, smallholder farmers, aggregators, and processors. We also engage with non-government organizations (NGOs), development institutions and ministry agencies working together to make a difference. Our role is running through that whole value chain to understand the needs of different actors and develop solutions to meet the requirements. We ensure that the solutions help them achieve their needs, and in case they require long term support, we work and walk with them along that journey.

 

How is the bank facilitating access to finance for the agribusiness sector? 

The bank has several initiatives in place to facilitate access to finance for the agribusiness sector.

First, we’ve got a new initiative called the One Farm platform. Here, we partner with Agri-techs, who collect data from farmers and agribusinesses, analyze it to understand their requirements and provide solutions through the platform. Some of the services offered include input financing, agronomy training, insurance and information on markets. This initiative has helped to improve financial inclusion for several actors in the agribusiness value chain.

The bank has come together with several funding partners to provide affordable loans to Savings Credit and Cooperative Societies (SACCOs) and farmer groups.  SACCOs receiving these funds can offer affordable loans to their members as well. We are also helping the SACCOs and farmer groups digitize records for a faster lending process.  Funding partners include Agricultural Business Initiative (aBi), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The third initiative is through the bank’s conventional offerings, which cut across the different value chain players from actual farmers, input providers to processors. Essentially, we have short-term and long-term loans, invoice discounting, stock financing, and versatile asset financing. We also have the Flexi pay wallet that enables users to receive and pay for services and commodities from one electronic wallet to another at no charge.

 

What can SMEs do to overcome disruptions resulting from the pandemic effects?

We all understand the impact of the pandemic, and we need to protect ourselves and keep safe. It means we have to go into the digital marketplace. Embracing digital tools will keep you safe and enable you to reach more customers than opting for face to face interactions.

Suppose businesses want to last and withstand the pandemic effects. In this case, they need good business plans, financial records and a strategy to follow through during this period. It will ease access to financing that they can use for operations to adapt to the current and future changes.

Financial institutions also need to play more in this space by supporting SMEs prepare the necessary records and plans to access the financing required.

 

For more information and access to Stanbic Bank’s Agri-banking Team;

Call: 0800250250

WhatsApp: 0770588623

Website: www.stanbic.co.ug

Visit any of our over 60 branches countrywide!

 

 


Call for applications to the Stanbic Business Incubator Enterprise Development Program starting August 2021

Call for applications to the Stanbic Business Incubator Enterprise Development Program starting August 2021

The Stanbic Business Incubator, in partnership with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)’s Employment and Skills for Development in Africa (E4D) initiative, invites applications from Uganda’s Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) to participate in an enterprise development training program starting August 2021. Participants will have the opportunity to learn from experts on various topics, including business planning and analysis, innovation and human-centered design, procurement, contracts and bid management, sustainability and the future, marketing and branding, quality management and standards, health and safety compliance and corporate governance.

The three-month program will be conducted virtually and will consist of both self-study and online live sessions. The call targets enterprises in the following sectors:

  1. a) Tourism and hospitality industry, including restaurants, tour guides and operators.
  2. b) Companies active in green sectors (such as renewable energies, energy-efficient products, environmentally friendly transport or electromobility, organic/sustainable agriculture, fisheries, sustainable forestry, recycling, energy and water-saving technology).
  3. c) Manufacturing and value addition, agribusiness, trade, retail and distribution of agricultural inputs and products, food and beverages.

 

Why should your business enroll?

Stanbic Business Incubator is aware of the struggles faced by businesses in the current pandemic. It is committed to ensuring small business survival through this program. Therefore, successful applicants will benefit from:

  • practical self-learning portal to build their knowledge and skills
  • Professional business coaching for the program period to support business growth
  • Live online training and peer learning from industry experts and business practitioners
  • A wealth of market opportunities, funding and joint ventures shared from our vast networks
  • Linkage to Stanbic Bank product offeringswith a recommendation for going through the program and a certificate of completion

 

Who is eligible to apply?

The program is open to businesses that:

  • Are legally registered with Uganda Services Registration Bureau (URSB) and in operation for at least one year
  • Have five employees or more with at least two on a full-time basis
  • Have average turnover of UGX 30 million and above.
  • Demonstrate ability to scale and create jobs
  • Commit to attending for the entire three-month program period

Women-owned businesses are encouraged to apply.

 

How to apply

Interested MSMEs must express their interest by applying through https://survey.zohopublic.com/zs/evRKz0.

 

Application deadline: 10th August 2021

For details contact Stanbic Business Incubator on: 

Phone: 0312226700

Email: incubator@stanbic.com

The Stanbic Business Incubator Limited (SBIL) is a private company duly incorporated under the Laws of the Republic of Uganda. The Incubator started in 2018 as an initiative of Stanbic Bank to support and nurture SMEs to prepare for and harness business and growth opportunities.

 


Five Tips to Jump Start Your Social Media Marketing Today!

Five Tips to Jump Start Your Social Media Marketing Today!

As a small business owner, you are always on the lookout for new strategies to grow your business. Social media can help your business build relations with existing clients and reach new customers. With COVID-19 pushing more and more businesses online, here are five tips to help jump start your digital social media strategy today!

 

  1. Create a Plan

Creating a social media plan with monthly or quarterly goals will help your business in the long-term. Your goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. For example, setting a goal to ‘reach 200 followers in three months is more useful than having a goal of ‘increasing followers’, and can help direct your efforts to reach that specific number of followers.

 

  1. Know Your Audience

Understanding who your customers are, how they spend their time, and what they like, and dislike can help you effectively target your social media marketing efforts. Moreover, these insights allow you to choose which platforms are most appropriate for your business. If your customers are younger and enjoy interacting with photos and short videos, you know to use platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

 

  1. Build Relationships

Once you have chosen the right platforms to interact with your customers, begin building meaningful long-term relationships by replying to their comments, implementing their suggestions, and starting conversations with them whenever possible.

 

  1. Focus on Quality Over Quantity

Always remember that your customer’s social media feed is flooded with content from hundreds of other businesses. So, make sure to take a step back and make sure your posts are focused on quality, not quantity. Try using the 80-20 rule where 80 percent of your content informs, educates, or entertains your audience. Use the other 20 percent of content to promote your brand or sell your products. Remember that your audience is likely to engage with your brand if it has consistent messaging, tone of voice and visual identity. These elements should be identifiable across all of your content.

 

  1. Track and Refine Your Performance

As you implement your social strategy, it’s important to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. You can then fine-tune your efforts and improve results. For example, if you see that your followers engage the most with shorter posts, consider making your future posts smaller to better suit their needs. There are plenty of social media analytics tools to help you with your customer insights.


Register now for the Youth Ideathon for a chance to win up to UGX 100 million for business investment

Register now for the Youth Ideathon for a chance to win up to UGX 100 million for business investment.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Uganda, in partnership with the National Association of Student Enterprises (NASE), invites youth with entrepreneurial aspirations to register for the Youth Ideathon. The Youth Ideathon aims to support young people to develop and refine ideas that can solve some of Uganda’s most significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Youth can submit innovative ideas for products, services and solutions to address challenges in the following sectors; Health, Agriculture, Information Communication Technology (ICT), Tourism, Mining, Renewable Energy, Manufacturing, Creative Industries, Smart Cities and Urban Development.

 

Why should you participate in the Youth Ideathon?

Youth with successful ideas will benefit from the following:

  • Chance to win seed investment up to UGX 100 million
  • Access to mentorship and training
  • Networking opportunities
  • Marketing of your products and services
  • Co-working spaces
  • Business development services
  • Legal advisory and support

 

Who is eligible to participate?

Eligible applicants should have ideas that meet the following requirements;

  • Outline a customer problem and include a clear suggested solution
  • Include details of the target customer segment and the potential market opportunity
  • Fall under one of the above-mentioned sectors
  • Be the entrepreneur’s own innovation/creation.

 

How to register

Complete the registration form and submit a business profile via the link https://undp.nase.co.ug/participant-registration/

Deadline: 25th July 2021

For more information contact;

Tel: +256 708 080 008

Email: info@nase.co.ug

Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/NASEUganda

Twitter –     https://twitter.com/NaseUG?s=09

Visit –          www.undp.nase.co.ug

 


Applications for an Innovation Grant to Catalyze Women Supply Chains are Due July 30th

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), through the VALUE4HER program, invites women-led agribusinesses to apply for an innovation grant. The grant seeks to catalyze women-women supply chains and will provide a crucial link between women SMEs, creating an opportunity for knowledge transfer between women in agribusiness.

How will successful applicants benefit?

Successful applicants will benefit as follows:

  • A grant amount of up to UGX 31 million, which can be used to cover up to 90% of the total budget for approved activities
  • Access to coaching and mentorship or role modelsupport
  • Networking opportunities with 20 top tier women-led SMEs in the sector through the VALUE4HER platform and 400 micro-entrepreneurs

Who can apply?

The innovation grant is open to women-led/owned agribusinesses that meet the following requirements:

  • At least 70% of shares held by one or more women
  • Legal entities (sole proprietorship, partnerships, corporation or limited liability company), with incorporation in an African country
  • Agribusinesses in bulking, processing or trading in agricultural commodities or products
  • Minimum of 3 years in operation
  • Annual turnover of UGX 70 million to UGX 700 million
  • Capacity to contribute at least 10% of the total project budget (in cash or in-kind).

How to apply

  • Eligible applicants are required to complete the official application form available here.
  • Applicants must submit a complete set of documents (scanned copies) to the following email address: rfcn@agra.org
  • Twenty(20) applicants will be selected and informed about winning an innovation grant by email.

Deadline: 30 July 2021, 23:59hrs (EAT).

 

AGRA is a farmer-centred, African-led, partnerships-driven institution working to transform smallholder farming from a solitary struggle to survive to a business that thrives. AGRA’s goal is to catalyze an inclusive agricultural transformation in the African continent by increasing incomes and improving food security. VALUE4HER is AGRA’s continental program, aimed at increasing women agri-enterprises’ performance through access to markets, finance, knowledge, and networking to build women’s collective voice.

For more information about the innovation grant email rfcn@agra.org or visit https://agra.org/call-for-proposals-applications-innovation-grant-for-catalyzing-women-women-supply-chains/.


Apply Now to Participate in Startup Uganda Investor Day!

Apply Now to Participate in Startup Uganda Investor Day!

Are you in operation for two years or more and are looking to scale up your business?

Startup Uganda is hosting the first in a series of Quarterly Investor Days, starting with the Q2 Edition.   Now accepting applications from startups in the Fintech and Health sectors to participate.

Startups will have a chance to pitch to various investors, including; The 97 Fund and Ortus CapitalImpact RoomsInua Capital and an angel investor, Derek J. Lobo.  Applicants should have a developed product and are interested in raising UGX 350 million and above.

Startup Uganda is an association of key players in the Ugandan startup ecosystem. It supports the growth of the ecosystem by maximising its exposure to international investors and network of entrepreneurs from around the globe. The association is partnering with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) to consolidate and connect the activities of different startups and  stakeholders with in the ecosystem.

Deadline: 18th June 2021

How to apply

Click the link to apply: https://bit.ly/suinvests.

For more information:

Website: https://startupug.com/program/20/startup-uganda-investor-day-q2

Twitter: Startup Uganda


The Entrepreneurship World Cup

Apply Now for the Entrepreneurship World Cup 2021

The Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) is more than just a pitch competition. It gives everyone who enters access to the knowledge, networks and for some, the capital they need to start and scale a company.

Entrepreneurs from various sectors in Uganda are invited to apply for a chance to win generous prize packages  offered in different categories. First stage winners will be selected at country level  and will undergo several phases throughout the competition to the global finals.

Launched in 2019, the EWC is the ultimate showcase competition for innovative businesses. It supports ventures ranging from the idea stage to the growth stage, with a virtual accelerator program to help all participants launch, strengthen and scale their enterprises. The Global Entrepreneurship Network operates the EWC through a partnership with Misk Global Forum and the Global Leadership and Education Foundation

Why should you join the competition?

EWC 2021 winners will receive prize packages totaling more than US$70 million of in-kind services and more than US$1 million in cash. These will include:

  • One (1) Grand Prize Champion: $500,000
  • One (1) 2nd Place Winner: $250,000
  • One (1) 3rd Place Winner: $100,000

Three (3) Stage Champions:

  • Idea Stage: $50,000
  • Early Stage: $50,000
  • Growth Stage: $50,000

Special Prize:

  • Social Enterprise: $50,000

EWC Service Awards:

  • One hundred (100) awards of in-kind services such as training, coaching and mentorship valued at $700,000 each

Who is eligible to apply?

The competition is open to:

  • Any startup throughout the world to apply free of charge;
  • Applicant(s) legally registered or planning to register in their country of residence;
  • Applicant(s) with operations less than seven (7) years old at the date of the global finals of 2021;
  • Applicants at any of the three (idea, early and growth) stages of the business life cycle.  

How to apply

Eligible enterprises can sign up and apply here

Application deadline: 15th June 2021

For more information, visit https://entrepreneurshipworldcup.com/  


Regional Enterprise Development Program

Call for applications to the Stanbic Business Incubator Regional Enterprise Development Program.

Regional Enterprise Development Program

Call for applications to the Stanbic Business Incubator Regional Enterprise Development Program

The Stanbic Business Incubator invites applicants to participate in their Regional Enterprise Development Program. The program will offer customized training to enhance local SMEs’ capacities and promote business resilience and sustainability. Participants will also receive coaching and site visits by mentors and coaches to their enterprises over a 6-month period. The training will take place in 20 districts across Eastern, Western and Northern regions of the country as highlighted below;

Northern:  Arua, Lira, Gulu, Kitgum, Nebbi

Western:  Mbarara, Rukungiri-Ntungamo, Kabale, Kasese, Ibanda, Fortportal, Bushenyi, Hoima

Eastern:   Mbale, Jinja, Soroti, Tororo, Moroto, Kapchorwa, Iganga

Why should your business enrol on the program?

By enrolling on the program, your business will benefit from the following activities;

  • Enterprise Development Program training (Customized group training for ten days)
  • Networking events, focus group discussions and access to subject matter experts
  • Mentoring and coaching for entrepreneurs after the Enterprise Development Program training (7 days of coaching site visits to the enterprises spread across six months)
  • Provision of opportunities for access to markets and finance

What will the successful participants learn?

By participating in training sessions, SMEs will learn about:

  • Entrepreneurial attitude
  • Innovation and business modelling
  • Basic design thinking and ideation
  • Business planning and analysis
  • Business management
  • Financial literacy
  • Registration and formalization
  • Tax compliance

 

Who is eligible to apply?

The program is open to entrepreneurs who:

  • Are based within the selected regions
  • Are startup or have been in operation for at least six months
  • Seek to professionalize and scale up their businesses
  • Operate in any of the following sectors but not mandatory: Agriculture/Agribusiness, Manufacturing & Fabrication, General retail and distribution, Tourism & Hospitality, Transport, Education & Health

 

How to apply

Eligible enterprises can apply for free using this link; https://survey.zohopublic.com/zs/gxCCPd.

Application deadline: 14 May 2021

For details contact Stanbic Business Incubator on: 

Phone: 0312226700

Email: incubator@stanbic.com 

The Stanbic Business Incubator Limited (SBIL) is a private company duly incorporated under the Laws of the Republic of Uganda. The Incubator started in 2018 as an initiative of Stanbic Bank to support and nurture SMEs to prepare for and harness business and growth opportunities.


Stanbic Business Incubator Limited (SBIL) celebrates Survive to Thrive programme graduates and prepares for another cohort

Stanbic Business Incubator Limited (SBIL) celebrates Survive to Thrive programme graduates and prepares for another cohort

On 13 April 2021, the SBIL celebrated the completion of its Survive to Thrive training programme by 21 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) from among Stanbic Bank Uganda’s (SBU) clients. The event was held in Kampala and consisted of a facetoface training session, an overview session on financial products available to SMEs led by SBU staff, peer networking, and a cake-cutting ceremony for all participants to enjoy.   

The training programme, developed and delivered as part of an existing partnership between  SBU, the Africa Management Institute (AMI), and ConsumerCentriX, is a six-month programme focused on equipping business owners with the skills they need to navigate the challenges and opportunities brought about by COVID-19.  

This cohort of the Survive to Thrive programme was launched in September 2020.  Enterprises participating came from various sectors of the economy, including Agriculture, Information Technology (IT), Tourism, Hospitality, and Trade. Participants engaged in monthly virtual group training sessions focused on practical skills led by AMI facilitators and received access to online tools to put those skills into practice. Training sessions focused on topics such as business growth and leadership skills and helped prepare businesses to access financing, which is critical to their business survival and growth. Businesses also had the opportunity to network with their peers both virtually and during the final session of the programme, which was conducted in-person following COVID-19 safety protocols.  

Participants who attended the final session were delighted to have the chance to meet others in their cohort in person and shared their feedback on the programme, including how they were able to put their new knowledge into practice.  

Participating SMEs acknowledged that the training programme helped them overcome challenges brought about by the pandemic, including Ms. Ronah Kuteesa of Praise Supermarket, who highlighted that the skills that she gained in strategic thinking have helped her adapt her business exposure to new ideas and enabled her to better motivate company staff during these tough times.  

The training also helped other businesses in expanding their customer segments. For example, Mr. Okello David of Kiro of Great Africa Tours explained that through the training, he gained knowledge on marketing strategies and  how to conduct customer segmentation. As a result, he was able to diversify his company’s product offering by including domestic tours offered to a niche segment in North Uganda to complement his existing international travel services    

Mr. MacWilliams Edward Mponye of Softech Integrated Africa Ltd, an ICT automation company, shared that he particularly appreciated the online tools on planning, finance, and management made available through the programme, which have helped him scale his business operations and enhance strategic planning for the company 

To mark the successful conclusion of the programme, SBIL plans to host a virtual graduation on 11 May, after which participants will become part of the AMI Growth Network,where they can connect with other entrepreneurs.  

The Survive to Thrive training programme will be available again later this year and open to Stanbic Bank’s SME clients. Those seeking to grow their businesses and thrive during these challenging  times should contact SBIL at incubator@stanbic.com or Stanbic Bank’s Entreprise Direct at  enterprisedirectug@stanbic.com  for more information. Stay tuned to learn more about the programme application dates and requirements! 


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!