Kampala: Barclays Bank Uganda, a subsidiary of Absa Group Limited has today announced the launch of the AbsaSmall and Medium Enterprises (SME) Academy, a pioneeringprogram providing capacity building, training and professional support to new and existing SMEs in the country.
The programme was launched at Sheraton Hotel Kampala by Deputy Governor, Bank of Uganda, Mr. Louis Kasekende.
Speaking at the launch, Nazim Mahmood Interim ManagingDirector at Barclays Bank Uganda said, “The Academy aims athelping SMEs grow their businesses by developing sound financial management and corporate governance structures, solutions for enhancing performance and awareness of the local environment in which they operate.”
AS part of the launch, a scholarship was granted to 70 SMEs to a three-month training program tailored for local small business proprietors and directors.
The training content will cover topics including corporate governance, marketing and establishing a brand, financial management and planning, accounting and tax essentials, understanding bidding and procurement processes, people management, insurance and risk management, among others.
“SME growth is essential for Uganda’s national and economic development. There is no doubt that support for the development of small and medium enterprises can be the answer to both economic growth and job creation,” said Mr. Kasekende, the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank.
According to data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, current estimates suggest that about 160,000 SME’s in existence contribute 20% to the national gross domestic product (GDP) and employ 2.5 million people; 49% of whom are in the service sector, 33% in commerce and trade, 10% in manufacturing while 8% are in other sectors.
The course content will be delivered through practical sessions with more action learning, group studies, panel discussions and field visits, and will not be language restricted for purposes of flexibility.
While speaking to the pioneer class of SMEs, Emmanuel Katongole, Executive Chairman of Cipla Quality Chemicals Limited encouraged the business owners to embrace proper business practices to enable the turnaround of their small businesses to large corporations.
“As entrepreneurs, many sacrifices are made for business growth. Taking your small business to the next level will not happen unless you put in place proper governance structures, sound financial management and business structures to create a legacy of wealth or success,” Katongole said.
The Absa SME Academy is one of the key initiatives Absa Group Limited has put in place for SME growth on the African continent. As an African financial solutions partner, Absa has adopted a three-pronged approach to supporting SMEs; providing access to finance, access to markets and access to business development support.