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Stanbic Business Incubator launches two programs to boost access to finance for SMEs in Uganda

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The Chief Executive of the Stanbic Uganda Holdings Limited (SUHL), Francis Karuhanga has officially launched two innovative programs aimed at supporting businesses access finance, fostering economic growth within Uganda’s dynamic SME sector.

Dubbed the Stanbic Accelerator Program (SAP) and the Supplier Development Program (SDP) and unveiled in Kampala on Thursday, the two are under the implementation of the Stanbic Business Incubator Limited (SBIL), which is a subsidiary of SUHL.

“Each year, we inject about sh2 billion into the Incubator. The programs mark a significant milestone in SBIL’s commitment to empowering entrepreneurs and small business owners across the country. These initiatives are designed to equip SMEs with the essential skills, knowledge, and resources needed to thrive in today’s competitive business landscape,” Karuhanga said.

SBIL has partnered with MTN, Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), NSSF, GIZ, Petroleum Authority of Uganda and many more strategic partnerships, bringing together key players in the sector to support SMEs that enroll for these programs to scale and create social impact.

Justina Ziraba, MTN Business representative, said MTN will work with the Stanbic Incubator to enable targeted businesses to build digital identities and digital brands; Specifically, MTN will be providing training and coaching experts for digital transformation and tailored-MTN business solutions for SMEs.

“MTN will also contribute to the Stanbic-SME awards Gala, an event which will recognise and award outstanding SMEs that demonstrate excellence during the capacity-building program,” Ziraba said.

Tony Otoa, the Chief Executive of Stanbic Business Incubator Limited, said strategic partnerships have enabled SBIL impact over 3,000 businesses in three years, while urging entrepreneurs to unlearn and relearn as they prepare their businesses for the future especially a future affected and driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI).

“We want to have a 99% support rate to all the entrepreneurs who seek access to finance,” Otoa said.

The Stanbic Accelerator Program is tailored to support SMEs in their journey towards growth and investment readiness. Through this program, business owners will gain invaluable insights and training to enhance their company’s growth prospects. Key focus areas include building competence in capital raising, fostering resilience, and creating employment opportunities. Furthermore, the program will facilitate the development of a robust pipeline for potential investors, thus fostering sustainable economic growth.

Meanwhile, the Supplier Development Program in alignment with Uganda’s growing energy sector, will demystify opportunities and empower SMES to participate actively.

Stanbic Incubator’s Programs Manager Nelson Kasadha said, “Participants will receive comprehensive training and guidance on navigating the complexities of the energy market, including market trends, opportunities, and challenges. Moreover, the program will facilitate crucial market linkages, connecting SMEs with potential partners and customers. Additionally, participants will gain insights into accessing grants and loans to fuel their growth and expansion within the energy sector.”

“We are thrilled to introduce these transformative programs aimed at empowering SMEs and driving economic prosperity in Uganda. By providing access to finance, training, and market opportunities, we are confident that these initiatives will unlock new pathways for growth and innovation within the SME ecosystem,” Kasadha said.

Stanbic Business Incubator Limited (SBIL) is a subsidiary of Stanbic Uganda Holdings Limited, dedicated to supporting the growth and development of SMEs in Uganda. Through a range of innovative programs and initiatives, SBIL aims to foster entrepreneurship, drive economic empowerment, and create sustainable impact within local communities.

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