Stanbic Bank Uganda will spend about Shs200m this year on supporting the skilling of small and medium enterprise (SME) owners on how to operate sustainable and profitable enterprises, courtesy of the bank’s Business Mentorship Programme.
The one-year programme was launched by Stanbic Bank in partnership with Enterprise Uganda, as a training agency, late last year to, among other things, provide mentorship and skills such as marketing, book keeping, accounting and customer service to 200 SMEs.
The programme is directed at growing small businesses’ capacity to be self-sustaining through training them on money handling, identify profitable investments, marketing, leadership and governance to enable entrepreneurs generate enterprises with a clear direction and ability to grow.
Speaking on the sidelines of a two-day business mentorship training in effective marketing and excellent customer care in Kampala recently, Stanbic Bank head corporate social investment Sharon Nassali Bbosa said the programme seeks to reduce the failure rate among Ugandan businesses.
She revealed that the bank started the programme after realising that Uganda has one of the best entrepreneurial minds in the world but most of the businesses collapse before their third year of existence because most startups do not know the tactics of sustaining businesses.
“So the bank took it upon itself to intervene and improve skills to ensure business sustainability,” Ms Nassali said in an interview.
Enterprise Uganda chief executive officer Charles Ocici attributed the rampant failure rate of enterprises in Uganda to poor customer retention.
Speaking at the same event, he said when businesses fail to retain customers; they lose the basis for getting income that can enable them run competitive enterprises and also pay salaries, resulting in enterprise failures.
“We should note that no business can survive long without satisfied customers, such customers can hardly be retained. Failure to retain customers arises mainly from poor capabilities of staff, which at times arises from a poor business management.” he said.
The Ugandan case
The 2014 Global Entrepreneur Monitor report rated Uganda as the world’s most entrepreneurial country, but also noted that more than half of the businesses collapse before they are three years into operation.