Enterprise Uganda Executive Director Charles Ocici

Stanbic Bank has conducted a business mentorship programme for 210 Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) businesspersons, with the best ten performers being rewarded today at a ceremony held at the Golf Course Hotel.

Conducted in conjunction with Enterprise Uganda, the year-long mentorship programme was aimed at improving the capacity of small scale businesses to become more self-sustaining by acquiring specialized skills on how to handle financial and administrative management and identify profitable investment for future growth.

Those rewarded include Michael Wamala, a crafts maker, Felix Gonzaga, a dealer in foodstuffs and agricultural services, Mary Asiimwe, a dealer in jewelry, Nickson Olama, a mobile money operator and James Mugisha, a dealer and distributor of agricultural products.

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Others are Rose Nabawanuka, Florence Adong and Kenneth Wasswa, all of who registered improved profit margins compared to their previous earnings.

Speaking at the ceremony Kevin Wingfield, the Head of Personal and Business Banking at Stanbic Bank, that SMEs, which constitute the bulk of private sector investments, form the backbone of the economy. He also said SMEs are one of the largest employers and generate a considerable amount of tax revenue.

He noted that the majority of the business owners in these companies have never been formally trained to run their companies professionally, and as a result many of them struggle over time and as a result they collapse after just after a few years.

“Our objective as Stanbic 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  sustain a profitable long term enterprise,’’ Wingfield said.

Charles Ocici, the Executive Director enterprise Uganda said the initiative is aimed at ensuring the long term success of SME’s.

“This is a direct contribution to economic growth of the country’’ Mr. Ocici said.

The 2015 Global Entrepreneurs Monitor (GEM) report indicated that Uganda had the best Entrepreneurship Growth rate at 28% but the challenge of sustaining these businesses is immense since more than half of the businesses started do not live to celebrate their first anniversary.

This could easily be as a result of poor book keeping and lack of proper guidance on how to run a business, and the uncertain financial muscle backed by high level of competition can not be underestimated.