Graduands pose for a photo with Stanbic Bank and Enterprise Uganda Staff. (Photos by: Paul Mugume/ChimpReports)
210 Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) owners have Wednesday graduated from a one year business and mentorship programme supported by Stanbic Bank in partnership with Enterprise Uganda.
The program which ran from July 2015 to July 2016 was initiated to improve the capacity of Small businesses to become more self-sustaining by acquiring specialized skills on how to handle financial and administrative management.
The Entrepreneurs were taken trained in different pillars of business including talent management, Team building, Finance and capital, Marketing and customer care among others.
The training was also aimed at helping SME owners identify profitable investment opportunities for future growth.
During the graduation ceremony, Kevin Wingfield, Head of Personal and Business Banking at Stanbic Bank noted that “SME’s from the back bone of our economy, constitute the bulk of the private sector, are one of the largest employers and generate a considerable amount of tax revenue.”
“The challenge however, is that the majority of business owners in these companies have never been formally trained to run their companies professionally , as a result many struggle over time and collapse after a few years,” he added.
According to 2015 Global Enterpreneuers Monitor (GEM) report, Uganda had the best entrepreneurship growth rate at 28%.
The country however, faces big challenge of sustaining these businesses, as more than half of the businesses started don’t live to celebrate their first anniversary.
Although Limited access to finance has been blamed for the high SME failure rates in Uganda, poor financial management, lack of proper book keeping and guidance on how to run a business properly have also been identified as a key contributor to the rampant collapses.
“Our objective as a Bank working through Enterprise Uganda is to help bridge the skills gap in the SME sector, by equipping the business proprietors with basic business leadership, administrative and people management skills they need to enable them run sustainable and profitable long term enterprises,” said Wingfield.
In his remarks, the Executive Director of Enterprise Uganda, Charles Ocici observed that initiatives such as these are integral to ensuring the long term success of SMEs.
“By supporting and up-skilling SMEs, we are directly contributing to growing the economy of the country,” he said.
“We don’t believe in numbers or certificates but tru transformation of entrepreneurs who will grow to develop the country.”
Ocici advised the entrepreneurs to remain ‘learners’ in order for them to be able to build their brands further.
Micheal Wamala, one of the entrepreneurs who graduated told Chimpreports that the program has taught him many things; among them the confidence to fire employees who don’t deliver according to what is expected.
“I would always feel shy to fire someone who is not working well but after the training, I learnt that if I don’t fire her, she may deny many people a chance to be employed if the business collapses,” he said.
Wamala runs a business of making crafts in the Kampala.
Before the training, Wamala said, he was making baseline sales of Shs. 17,000 but after the training, he now makes a minimum of Shs. 500,000, a 2,841% change in his daily sales.