Women entrepreneurs still fear using technology - ex minister

MTN Uganda chief executive officer Brian Gouldie (L) hands over the award for MTN Women in Business CEO of the year, 2016 to Nina Interior’s Alice Karugaba at Kampala Serena Hotel last week . PHOTO BY MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI

What you need to know:

The ladies in business are also said to fear countering competition

KAMPALA.

A section of women entrepreneurs still fear using technology, yet it can save them costs, increase profitability and cultivate important networks beyond borders.

Presidential adviser on economic affairs and head of judges at MTN Women in Business awards Maria Kiwanuka, noted the above pointing out that information technology can reduce costs and increase a company’s value.

According to United Nations report on trade and development titled: ‘A survey on women’s entrepreneurship and innovation,’ few women are more likely to use social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter for business marketing and communications than men.

“Just under half of business owners in Uganda have created webpages supporting their enterprises. The results indicate that access to ICTs can be more problematic in developing countries,” the report states.

The same report says in Uganda, 28 per cent of women entrepreneurs use social media networks compared with 24 per cent of men.
“There was limited visibility of technology in influencing companies,” Ms Kiwanuka said during the fourth annual edition of the MTN Women in Business Awards 2016 under the theme; “Women in Business: Using technology to manage their businesses”, held at the Kampala Serena Hotel last week.

Most nominated women entrepreneurs also exhibited challenges in managing risk, preferring to do the same business that their competitors were doing.

“Competition is a threat but none had a strategic plan to counter that,” Ms Kiwanuka said.
Ms Judy Rugasira Kyanda, the managing director Knight Frank Uganda and a panelist at the event, said technology has not been demystified.

“IT was never pushed. The older and the rural woman still fears technology and to an extent the urban woman,” Ms Kyanda said suggesting how to solve this: “We must simplify technology solutions. Whatever we develop must be simple and accessible.”
Ms Mapula Bodipe, the MTN chief marketing officer, said creating relevance at service level is vital.

“If you see and perceive how another business owner is using it [technolgy], then you can learn,” Ms Bodipe said.
Meanwhile, Nina Interiors owner Alice Karugaba was named MTN Women in Business CEO of the year 2016. Started in 1991, Nina Interiors deals in home and office furniture, curtains and blinds, home décor accessories and carpets, among others.

“Thank you for recognising hard work. I’ll take on technology,” Ms Karugaba said shortly after receiving the award from MTN Uganda’s CEO Brian Gouldie.

The Excellence in financial services award went to Ms Jacqueline Birigwa Nuwamanya of Rural Communications Centre Limited.
Ms Susan Ajok of Straight Talk Africa scooped MTN Women in Business Excellence in ICT.

Ms Charlotte Kanabahita Kamugisha of Bunyonyi Safaris won the Public Choice award.

how technology improves business
Technology is able to reduce the distribution chain and lower overall costs.

Better use of technology in business for a woman also means learning better working practices from others, better financial management, better ways to grow a business and better access to markets in a cheaper way too, and faster processes to get to a final product.

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