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Equity Bank Engages SMEs in ‘Tupange Business Ne Equity’ Initiative

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Following the national budget reading for the financial year 2024/2025, Equity Bank Uganda has launched an initiative to support regional small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Dubbed Tupange Business Ne Equity, the initiative aims to address SME challenges and provide support in crucial areas such as credit, innovation, and market access.

The Bank’s efforts to translate the complex national budget into actionable opportunities for SMEs is a significant part of this initiative. The Bank began its stakeholder engagement on June 19, in Kampala and subsequent sessions have been held in Jinja, Soroti, Lira with future sessions planned for Mbarara and Luwero.

Equity Bank Managing Director Anthony Kituuka emphasized the Bank’s role in mentoring and training SME business owners in effective financial management, innovation and export business strategies.  “Besides offering affordable credit solutions for SMEs, we pride ourselves on guiding our customers in financial management, record keeping and helping those in need of financial advice through our free financial literacy education,” said Kituuka

According to Kituuka, with the Bank’s support, SMEs could expand their agricultural product exports to countries within the East African Community and beyond.  He called on SMEs to invest in technology and innovation to stay competitive in today’s competitive market.

Speaking during the panel discussions in Jinja and Lira, Equity Bank’s Head of Retail Robert Wanok addressed challenges faced by the SMEs in the just-ended financial year, “We are engaging SMEs to understand their needs and support their growth.”

He added that the Bank would continuously visit SMEs to offer tailored services and support. “Equity Bank remains committed to supporting the SME sector with tailor-made products and services,” said Wanok.

The Tupange Business Ne Equity engagement has so far reached over 600 SME proprietors across the country, offering them advisory services, improving their financial knowledge, and providing networking platforms. The meetings also aim to scale up customer engagements with the retail SME segment at the regional level.

The initiative follows the successful ‘Abakyala Ku Ntikko’ regional meetings, where Equity Bank interacted with women entrepreneurs across Uganda. The engagements align with Uganda’s growth strategy for the new financial year, which focuses on the full monetisation of Uganda’s economy through commercial agriculture, industrialization, market access and digital transformation.

The campaign is also in line with the Bank’s effort to support critical sectors to fully recover post-#COVID-19 crisis, through its Africa Recovery and Resilience Plan. The critical pillars include agriculture, trade, extractives and oil, manufacturing, MSMEs, social and environmental transformation, and technology-enabled economy.

“The ‘Tupange Business Ne Equity’ initiative is timely, reflecting the growing influence of SMEs in the government’s policies, which promotes locally manufactured goods and skills,” said David Opio Okello, former Deputy Governor of Bank of Uganda.

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