Stanbic Bank Uganda on Tuesday hosted its enterprise conference at Hotel Africana in Kampala, under the theme, “Unlocking the Oil and Gas opportunities for local Enterprises” — focused on providing a platform for SMEs to exchange ideas on how they can tap into Uganda’s nascent Oil and Gas.
Stephen Segujja, Stanbic Bank Uganda Head Enterprise Banking, speaking at the conference said, “As Uganda becomes an Oil and Gas producing nation, it’s important to ensure businesses maximize the opportunities therein.”
Uganda’s oil and gas sector is expected to attract investments of about USD$20 billion with about USD$6 billion expected to be retained into Uganda’s economy. Therefore, SMEs are eager to be in this space — which the bank is willing to help.
“It’s therefore important to prepare SMEs to help them tap into these opportunities, win contracts and be part of the value chain that is going to deliver first oil,” said Stephen.
Stephen claimed that SMEs contribute 40%-50% of Uganda’s Gross Domestic Product making them engines of growth that account for up to 99% of country’s businesses.
According to Stanbic Bank Uganda, there are 250,000 registered SMEs in Uganda. Most of these are informal and lack the tools to keep them sustainable. To tackle some of the these problems, the bank, holds the annual conference to address some of the challenges.
The conference brings together entrepreneurs to share experiences on how to grow their businesses and retain sustainability.
In addition, to the conference, the bank has a business incubator training for SMEs that equips entrepreneurs with skills needed to be sustainable.
Tony Otoa, Head of the Stanbic Business Incubator while making his presentation said, “We’ve been running a training facility for SMEs for a year now that equips them with skills needed to be sustainable while preparing them to participate in the Oil and Gas sector.”
So far, the program has trained over 500 entrepreneurs from over 150 businesses benefit from the incubator.
“Many of these have shown impressive growth in terms of finances and compliance while others have expanded operations. This is proof that our local businesses are capable of taking up opportunities in the Oil and Gas sector. Therefore they shouldn’t be left out but rather should be empowered,” said Tony.