A Year in Review

The COVID-19 Business Info Hub has tackled a number of topics this past year aimed at supporting you as an SME. We have featured articles with insights from public sector experts, business owners and entrepreneurs, and industry stakeholders from across sectors to help you grow your business despite challenging times. Below are some of the articles from the past year that entrepreneurs and business owners found most insightful. Stay tuned – there’s plenty more to come in 2022!

Voices of Young Entrepreneurs

Transforming innovative ideas of the youth into viable business ventures – Diana Ntamu, Director MUBS Centre.

Voices from the Oil and Gas Sector

Stanbic Business Incubator Chief Executive gives an overview of the opportunities for SMEs in the Oil and Gas Value Chain in Uganda

Voices of the Agribusiness Sector

Learn how Stanbic Bank Uganda’s One Farm Platform promotes business linkages within the agribusiness sector

Growing Your Skills

Learn from Lilian Katiso, Proprietor of Maua and More, on the strategies she implemented to ensure business continuity during crisis

Thinking of starting a business or growing your startup but unsure of where to start? Develop a Business Model Canvas

Learn how Toddler's Gold, a store focused on clothing and accessories, has successfully navigated pandemic disruptions

In a recent interview, Rosemary Tusabe, the owner of Toddler’s Gold, shared how she successfully navigated her children’s apparel and toy business through pandemic disruptions. Toddler’s Gold is an online store that was launched in 2018 with offices in Muyenga and employs six staff.

What was the impact of the lockdowns here in Uganda on your business?

We found it challenging to access our suppliers and customers during the first lockdown because of movement restrictions. So, we intensified our online trading and arranged delivery to our customers through boda-bodas. We found that our demand increased because children were home, and parents realized children needed more clothes now than when attending school. As a result, we ran out of stock.

After the government lifted the first lockdown, we stocked more items for clients to prepare ourselves if there was a second lockdown. So, when the second lockdown happened, we were well prepared.


How did you navigate these challenges?

During the first lockdown, because we could not access our suppliers, we identified similar businesses that were struggling to sell because they lacked an online presence. They agreed to supply us on a cash basis arrangement.

Having increased our marketing online, we also generated many inquiries from expectant mothers, so we introduced a new service line called personal baby shopping for expectant mothers. Through this service, we agree with our customers on their shopping needs and pricing and then buy and deliver the items. They can do all of this from the comfort of their homes.


What business continuity strategies were most helpful as you navigated pandemic disruptions?

Since we continued to sell our products online, we were able to keep all our staff working. We also introduced regular meetings to discuss how to hit targets and understand staff welfare during this time. As a relational capital-focused business, we realized that rewarding and motivating our staff during the crisis would keep them happy and, in turn, serve the customers with a smile. So, we continued to pay full salaries for staff and also provided them with relief items.

We also introduced a new program, the winning mom’s mastermind. The program advises mothers on financial planning, conscious parenting, and personal growth and development. Although the company had set to start this program in 2 years, the lockdown presented us an opportunity to speak to mothers who were now at home and needed advice on parenting and personal development.


What other business continuity strategies are you implementing to survive any further disruptions?

The pandemic has taught us to prepare for a rainy day, and here are some of the strategies we are implementing:

The business has established an emergency fund to help us with any unforeseen circumstances that may arise in the future. We consistently put aside a certain amount of money from our profits that we don’t touch for any cash obligations that occur. I recommend this practice to other business owners as part of their continuity strategy.

We regularly engage our customers to understand their needs and problems to tailor our products and services. We hope that these interactions will enable us to get new product ideas to help diversify our offering.

Finally, we have embraced technology and digital platforms to seize online customers since most people use their phones and laptops to shop. The technology helps us understand customer purchase habits, and then we offer them a convenient shopping experience.


Learn more about our products on:

Instagram:     @toddlersgold

Facebook:     @toddlersgold

WhatsApp:   0776511499

Call:             0709728624/ 0776511499

Learn how SME owner Rajab Mukasa implemented business continuity strategies to remain afloat during Covid-19 lockdowns

Learn how SME owner Rajab Mukasa implemented business continuity strategies to remain afloat during Covid-19 lockdowns

Rajab Mukasa, Director of Pique Nique Links Limited, shared with the Covid-19 Business Information Hub how his company managed disruptions caused by lockdowns and plans for business recovery. Pique Nique Links Limited is located at Lakeside crescent in Luzira and currently employs five staff. The company is engaged in bid management, organizing corporate events, and supplying general merchandise to enterprises.

What happened to your business during the first lockdown?

During the first lockdown in March 2020, we were unfortunate because our business came to a standstill. We didn’t expect the lockdown, so we had spent all our money to deliver on client orders but did not have cash flow from client payments. As a result, we closed for the whole length of the lockdown, and our staff had to find their means of survival. Upon easing the lockdown, customers began paying for the supplies we had made, at which point we re-opened business.

After re-opening, the company came up with a plan to only do partial deliveries to clients and agree on a short-term credit period. It was challenging to negotiate with the big corporations on these terms, but they eventually agreed. The plan enabled the business to build a cash reserve to continue operations during critical times, which prepared us for the second lockdown.


How did you manage to continue operating during the second lockdown?

During the second lockdown, we were better prepared. We learned that communication needed to be a key part of our business continuity strategy, so we actively engaged our clients and suppliers. We first informed our customers that we could not supply their orders because it was nearly impossible to obtain goods since suppliers’ businesses were closed. Customers understood the situation, and we also kept communicating regularly to alert them when we received some items available for supply. Given that we traditionally pay suppliers in cash, it was also critical to discuss alternative payment options with them. We used mobile money and bank accounts through agent banking, the new methods that allowed us to order by phone and pay remotely.

Another contingency plan that we put in place was to source jobs and consultancy work for our company directors, which funded the company’s operations despite reduced cash flow. This was important to help the company’s operations to stay afloat.


What other business continuity strategies are you implementing to survive any further disruptions?

First, we want to ensure that we have a cash reserve in our bank account at all times to be used only to finance critical activities during tough times. We hope this can shield the company against liquidity challenges resulting from delayed customer payments.

We are also thinking about diversifying into other ventures to widen our business model and obtain alternative income. In the past, events management was our primary source of income; given the current circumstances, other sources of income such as the supply of goods will be a priority.

The pandemic disruptions have been a learning experience for the business. The critical lesson here is about building a sustainable value relationship between clients and suppliers. Relationships require transparency and two-way communication where you share openly about the challenges and develop solutions to propel the relationship ahead.

Developing a Business Continuity Plan for Your Enterprise

The COVID-19 Business Info Hub spoke with John Kakungulu Walugembe of the Federation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises-Uganda (FSME) to understand the importance of developing a business continuity plan for enterprises and how this helps to build resilience during challenging times.

A business continuity plan can be defined as a document that outlines how a business will continue operating during an unplanned disruption in service. It contains contingencies for business processes, assets, human resources, and business partners – every aspect of the business that might be affected.

John K. Walugembe is the Executive Director of FSME, the umbrella/business association that brings together over 112,000 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises across 20 sectors in the country. Here’s what John had to say about the importance of business continuity plans in light of circumstances brought about by disruptions like the pandemic:


“Many businesses don’t have business continuity plans and do not know why they need to develop them.”


The impact of the pandemic on the MSME sector is unprecedented. Many businesses are closed, others have limited demand, and many are struggling to pay their staff. Businesses face challenges they have never encountered before and disruptions at overwhelming levels. So, “when we are talking about business recovery and resilience, we are trying to ensure that businesses get back to their pre-pandemic level” of operations. Business continuity plans can help businesses in doing just that. However, many entrepreneurs do not know what they are or how to go about putting them together.


FSME worked with International Labor Organization (ILO) to assist 200 MSMEs to come up with a business continuity plan according to a six-step process developed by the ILO.


FSME used the ILO’s six-step process for putting together a business continuity plan, which starts with an assessment of risk.

To assess the level of risk and vulnerability faced by a company, business owners need to focus on the 4Ps below and can assess their level of risk using the link included above.


How are your workers and their families affected by COVID-19?


How are the everyday operations of your business affected?


To what extent is your income and revenue affected?


How is the environment around your business affected by COVID?

Next, businesses must follow six steps as outlined below.

Step 1: Identify your key products or services.

Step 2: Establish the objective of your plan.

Step 3: Evaluate the potential impact of disruptions on your enterprise and workers.

Step 4: List actions to protect/minimize risks to your business

Step 5: Establish contact lists for non-physical activities (WhatsApp calls, Zoom meetings etc.).

Step 6: Maintain, review, and continuously update your plan.


“SMEs should also network and reach out for help.”


Although business continuity plans help answer questions about how your business can continue operations in moments of crisis, companies need to be agile and adapt plans to changing circumstances. One way to do this is by reaching out for support from organizations like FSME and to other business development service providers. Businesses can also reach out to their networks for ideas and support.

FSME is keen to support SMEs when and where possible, so please reach out to the organization via Tel at 0774147864 or via email at info@fsmeuganda.org or at john.walugembe@fsmeuganda.org