Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Kataaha Museveni,
has applauded Stanbic Bank Uganda and a British Peer, Baroness Verma, for backing women-led enterprises with networking and skilling sessions which, she said can help accelerate growth of their businesses.
She was speaking virtually on Nov.25 at a Stanbic Bank sponsored one-day inaugural conference organized by Global Influence Club, under the theme; ‘Breaking the barriers to trade,’ at Protea Hotel in Kampala.
The event brought together slightly over 200 women running businesses across the country. Similar conferences are slated to take place in India and the United Kingdom in the coming months, however Ugandan women in business can still attend virtually.
The conference is a brainchild of Baroness Verma, (Businesswoman, politician and appointed member of the House of Lords), Emma Mugisha (Executive Director and Head Business Banking, Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited) and Nataliey Bitature (Chief of Staff Simba Group).
The conference was aimed to share knowledge, skills and networks, market and credit access opportunities among women-led businesses in Uganda, India and the UK.
Janet said, “The timing of the conference is right given that most of our women in business are still emerging from the negative effects of covid-19 and would require information to support their businesses. Mentorship and growth should be done through such a forum in a sisterhood way.”
She thanked the organizers for supporting this initiative and encouraged women in business to be proactive in all its activities.
Baroness Verma said, the other aim of the conference was to inspire women in business to do more and get business to work.
“Participants should be able to network, get and follow their new contacts and be able to solve problems affecting their businesses,” Baroness Verma said.
Stanbic’s Emma Mugisha said, business owners must start, be hard working and learn to be patient in times when their businesses do not yield immediate positive results.
“Consulting with the people that have made it is also key for one to succeed in business,” Mugisha said.
She added that, together with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), they made research on supporting women-led businesses which culminated into unveiling of ‘Stanbic for Her’ solution that extends credit to women enterprises at the currently low interest rate of 15.5%, lower than over 20% industry average interest rate.
Other women in business shared their thoughts at the same event. Julian Adyeri Omalla, Founder and Managing Director of Delight Uganda Ltd said, “I have learned over time that one needs experts to advise them and organize them better. Invest in what you know best and have time for your business. Invest in a team that is open and transparent to run your business.”
Patricia Mwangi, Senior Operations at IFC said: “There is a need for banks to innovate and come up with more new products and solutions tailored for women in business to break the norm that banks are started for men.
Women need financial support because more often they are engaged in household and other activities that men are not.”
Jackie Nampala, Associate Director, PWC said, financial planning and forecasting is key because banks would like to see that before extending any credit facilities to a borrower.
“Good corporate governance, internal business controls, and being tax compliant is key to keeping your business afloat,” Nampala said.