Uganda Development Bank (UDB), the government-funded development finance institution, in partnership with sister government MDAs, has launched the Enterprise Development Programme which is aimed at preparing entrepreneurs for financing through enhanced business practices.
The Enterprise Development Programme (EDP) is scheduled to be a series of training under the Bank’s Business Accelerator for Successful Entrepreneurship Programme, which is conducted on the basis to build business survival and resilience and walking the entrepreneurship journey in supporting business owners to appreciate why they should operate their businesses professionally to guarantee their long-term profitability and sustainability.
“Access to finance remains a major challenge for businesses, especially small and medium enterprises in Uganda because many are not formalised and structured. Some of the other challenges include inadequacies in management, governance, financial management and record keeping, business planning, statutory compliance, tax compliance and standards,” said Sam Edem Maitum, the Director of Credit at UDB who also doubles as the Acting Managing Director of the bank
He made these remarks during the programme’s launch at Hotel Africana in Kampala recently.
“In response to these challenges, UDB has organised the Enterprise Development Programme to bridge the gap between enterprises, especially SMEs, and financing. Together with other government partners, we are making every effort to ease and enable a seamless credit application process for entrepreneurs,” he affirmed.
Partnering with other government bodies
The business and entrepreneur training sessions will be held in partnership with Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) – the tax body will ensure tax compliance is aligned end-to-end, Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) for business registrations, Uganda National Bureau of Standards for quality certification and the Ministry of Trade and Industry will be part of the scheme to ensure proper alignment to the government agenda.
The bank through this programme is expected to train over 365 entrepreneurs. The apprenticeship will be conducted across Uganda starting with the Central Region, with subsequent training in the northern region, where 279 entrepreneurs are expected to be trained, the eastern region – 273 and the western region will have over 250 trainees respectively.
In 2021, the Uganda Development Bank published a call for applications inviting enterprises interested in business advisory support and a total of 1,064 applications were received which confirmed massive interest for improvement among Uganda’s business community.
“These training will be conducted in a phased approach. Our target is to get the enterprises to a level where they can effortlessly access financing and resultantly grow their businesses, create jobs, pay taxes, increase output value and become foreign exchange earners thus accelerating Uganda’s socio-economic development,” Mr Maitum stated.
The Economic Policy Research Centre recently released a report that states that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) employ 8.5million Ugandans.
90% of these SMEs contribute to the private sector and 80% of them are in manufacturing and yet the sad fact is that about 70% of the MSMEs habitually close their business operations before even celebrating their second anniversary.
This is partially what inspired UDB to start this programme to ensure business continuity for posterity.