Over 2000 entrepreneurs that participated in various training modules in the Stanbic Accelerator Program, Enterprise Development Program, Micro Enterprise Development Program and Supplier Development Program; to equip them with relevant business skills at the Stanbic Business Incubator Limited (SBIL) between January 2022 and April 2023, have graduated.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony held at hotel Africana, Stanbic Business Incubator’s Chief Executive Tony Otoa said, “Small and Medium enterprises (SMEs) are universally regarded as key engines of economic growth.
Therefore, SBIL is closely supporting SMEs to access the financial services and skills they need to grow and thrive.” He also mentioned that the goal is to see Uganda’s small businesses improve their operations and profits and create new jobs and business opportunities for women and youth.
Otoa noted that the trainings emphasized three key areas namely; access to markets, access to finance and business operational skilling, all of which are necessary for the growth of MSMEs. “SBIL will continue supporting entrepreneurs to exploit their potential in various ways through networking, connecting them to market platforms and guiding them on how to be competitive locally and internationally,” Otoa said.
SBIL developed the EDP in 2018, supporting 190 SMEs in Kampala by building their capacity to actively participate in Uganda’s natural resource sector.
In 2019, the SBIL received funding from the GIZ Employment and Skills for Development in Africa (E4D) programme to enable expansion of the Enterprise Development Programme (EDP) to support SMEs in Gulu and Mbarara districts to become more competitive, attain sustainable growth and create jobs.
Based on the promising results recorded by E4D in 2019, a new partnership was entered in 2021 to further upscale and expand the Incubator’s reach across the country to cover at least 20 districts through four regional branches
Speaking on behalf of the project’s development partners, the GIZ E4D Uganda programme, Team Leader, Donald Agaba mentioned that E4D will continue promoting local employment through capacity development in partnership with the Incubator. He went on to say that the role of MSMEs in a country’s social economic development cannot be downplayed because of their contribution to Gross Domestic Product and to creation of decent jobs.
He said, “We have partnered with Stanbic Business Incubator since 2019 and in our recent program evaluations we established the 1400 jobs were created as a result these trainings”. Mr. Agaba applauded SBIL for the significant achievements and solid partnership thus far.
During the graduation ceremony, Emma Mugisha, the Head of Business and Commercial at Stanbic Bank, advised entrepreneurs to always seize training opportunities. Ms. Mugisha said that in November 2020, Stanbic Bank launched the Economic Enterprise Restart Fund as a private sector led response to provide affordable funding for key sectors and groups that were most adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
She added that capacity building and training for SMEs through SBIL has been critical in ensuring faster business recovery and equipping business owners to survive through turbulent economic periods. She said, “Stanbic Uganda Holdings is building an eco-system through its five subsidiaries that include Stanbic Bank, Fly Hub – A Fintech Company, Stanbic business Incubator, Stanbic Properties Limited and SBG securities- an investment firm, to support Entrepreneurs and drive Uganda’s economic growth as well as create networks and collaboratively work with Entrepreneurs”.
The Guest of honor, Aga Ssekalala Jr, a renowned entrepreneur advised on the need to uphold values like honesty, hard work and integrity. He said, “The real success is not in the financial gains but in the positive impact you create as entrepreneurs from the financial gains,’’ and “that’s the success you should embrace,’’ he stressed.
Cathy Adengo , The head of sustainability Stanbic Uganda Holdings Limited, said, “We understand the challenges and hardships and we are here to support entrepreneurs in their journey as we drive economic growth.” She emphasized that, “Sustainability is a critical pillar in the Stanbic Uganda Holdings Limited’s agenda through providing easily accessible finance solutions and mentorship to entrepreneurs especially those in the agriculture sector.”
Aisha Mayanja, an EDP graduate and founder, Ewaffe Cultural Village said, “We forced to do market research and competitor’s analysis after the training, these are things we never thought we needed to do. We have been trained on the importance of being compliant and formally registered”