One hundred and twenty small and medium enterprises (SMEs) owners graduated recently after training under the ‘Network for Innovation and Sustainability in Agriculture and Tourism (NISAT) program organized by the Stanbic Business Incubator Limited (SBIL) in partnership with the Embassy of France to Uganda.
Last year in April, the French embassy in Uganda and SBIL launched a two-year project to foster entrepreneurship in Agro-ecology and eco-tourism in Uganda for a total amount of 435,000 Euros or approximately Shs 1.8 billion. This project is aimed at supporting the sustainable development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the two selected sectors.
The target beneficiaries are youth aged between 18 to 35 and women of all ages provided they fulfill the criteria set aside for the beneficiaries. This is set to be achieved by promoting skills development and building strong and sustainable networks amongst the target beneficiaries. The project will promote the emergence of these two sectors and consequently create jobs and increased revenue growth of the target beneficiaries.
During the graduation ceremony held in Kololo, Tony Otoa, the chief executive of the Stanbic Business Incubator, said: “We are committed to supporting SMEs by imparting skills ranging from compliance, corporate governance, and business planning and analysis to financial literacy and business ethics, among other things.”
According to the World Bank, Uganda is presently the fourteenth most vulnerable country in the world to climate change. Therefore, the NISAT project was launched to focus on promoting environmental conservation in the agriculture and tourism sectors as a direction of economic development.
It has attracted over 120 SMEs over the past two years with the highest number being the youth. Participants have been engaged in training, exposure visits and mentorship/coaching.
Yves Mercier, the Counselor for Cooperation and Cultural Affairs at the French embassy, said the working relationship of France with the NISAT network ‘is made to last because we share common ideas as entrepreneurship as a vector of inclusion and economic development, the necessary innovation in our societies, the promotion of youth and gender equality, the protection of the environment.