Stanbic Bank has today awarded graduation certificates to 420 entrepreneurs from 119 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through its business incubator.
This is the second cohort to graduate since the incubator was launched earlier this year. Cohort one saw 94 entrepreneurs from 34 businesses graduate; therefore making a 2018 total of 153 SME companies and 514 entrepreneurs.
Speaking during the graduation ceremony, Stanbic Head of Enterprise Development Tony Otoa said, “This facility is purposed to equip Ugandan SMEs with the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding of the requisite standards required to successfully participate in the Oil and Gas sector, and to run their businesses in a sustainable and profitable manner. It fills me with great pride to see the incubator attract more and more businesses with each in take. Today, 119 SMEs have graduated compared to 34 in May this year. This is a clear indication that we are moving in the right direction towards impacting on business sustainability and ultimately job creation.”
Stanbic Chief Executive Patrick Mweheire noted, “SMEs are key engines of economic growth in this country employing approximately 2.5 million people, contributing 20% of Gross Domestic Product and producing 80% of Uganda’s manufactured output. They however continue to be plagued with challenges that limit their potential, including lack of financial support and lack of skills including entrepreneurial, management, marketing and financial
planning. Stanbic Bank, through this incubator, is nurturing SMEs in order for them to develop and grow by bridging the identified gaps.”
The graduating cohort is involved in a wide range of businesses including catering and catering support services, security, medical services, facilities management including cleaning services, fumigation and pest control and grounds management. Equipment logistics, personal transportation and warehousing and logistics support services hotels and accommodation, entertainment, events management and support services, recreation, travel and tour operations.
Richard Ochieng, of the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) said, “One of the biggest challenges facing these SMEs is compliance and governance. These are key aspects for any competitive business to thrive and be able to operate in a high standard environment. I believe the entrepreneurs who graduated today from the Stanbic Business Incubator are well equipped to participate and in the sector as we await first oil.”
Uganda’s first oil is expected in 2021 according to the Ministry of Energy and Stanbic believes this will be ample time to have trained as many SMEs as possible and position them to benefit and make the biggest impact. The bank plans to expand and establish business incubators across the four regions of the country.