Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Stanbic Bank is set to open three more business incubation centres countrywide as it seeks to tap into investments in the oil and gas industry ahead of the production.
Patrick Mweheire, the bank’s Chief Executive, said the lender will open the three training centres in Mbarara, Gulu and Mbale next year.
“This is meant to extend services closure to the people who need this kind of training,” he saidat the Stanbic’s business incubator in Kololo, Kampala, in which 420 entrepreneurs from 119 SMEs were awarded with certificates upon completing various courses.
Mweheire said SMEs are key engines of economic growth in the country employing approximately 2.5 million people, contributing 20% of Gross Domestic Product and producing 80% of Uganda’s manufactured output.
He, however, said they continue to be plagued with challenges that limit their potential, including lack of financial support and lack of skills including entrepreneurial, management, marketing and financial planning.
“Stanbic Bank, through this incubator, is nurturing SMEs in order for them to develop and grow by bridging the identified gaps,” he said.
He said it is prudent that local companies grab a share of the oil and gas investment to stimulate economic growth and development.
Uganda hopes to invest nearly US$15-20bn in oil and gas infrastructure that among others includes a refinery and pipeline ahead of oil production slated for the next two-four years.
The bank’s Head of Enterprise Development, Tony Otoa, said it is the lender’s interest that majority of the Ugandan SMEs are equipped with the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding of the requisite standards required to successfully participate in the oil and gas sector, and to run their businesses in a sustainable and profitable manner.