SEND OFF: KCB Managing Director Joram Kiarie at the flagging off of the SME entrepreneurs to China.

A group of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) under the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Business Club are set to benefit from a networking and learning trip to China sponsored by the bank.

The trip, an effort by the bank to support growth of the SME sector in Uganda, is set to equip the entrepreneurs with knowledge on how to better run their businesses and improve productivity.

Speaking during the flag off, KCB Managing Director Joram Kiarie said the trip would help the SME entrepreneurs create business linkages.

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“China is the business hub for most of our SME customers and most of the imports in Uganda today come from China; this trip will benefit our SMEs create linkages, meet new stakeholders and provide new opportunities for them to be able to grow their businesses and get new entrepreneurial ideas,” Mr Kiarie said.

He added: “China has a lot of exposure, the SMEs will be exposed to more and new possibilities as far as manufacturing, agro-processing and industrialization is concerned.”

The 10-day trip is scheduled to correspond with the world’s largest business fair, Carlton Fair in Guangzhou, where the SME entrepreneurs will be able to leverage on both import and export opportunities.

“We are going to help create linkages for the SMEs with their China counterparts,” said Godfrey Ssenteza, the KCB head of SMEs, adding: “This is a platform to grow our SMEs into corporates and the only way to do it is to expose them to big markets like China.”

Statistics by the Uganda Investment Authority released this year indicate that over 2.5 million people are employed in the SME sector, which accounts for approximately 90% of the entire private sector, generating over 80% of manufactured output.

However, the industry still faces constraints like lack of knowledge of opportunities in foreign markets.