Top SMEs warned on attitude

Heritage Coffee managing director Jolly Ngabirano (L) and Geo Information Communications Ltd managing director Amadra Ori-Okido (C) talk to Mr Peter Kimbowa, the keynote speaker at the Top 100 conference in Kampala yesterday. PHOTO BY STEPHEN WANDERA

Kampala- Uganda’s Top 100 mid-size companies have been told to adapt best business practices or face extinction.

“To be competitive, local businesses must change their attitudes or else they will be overrun by global forces,” Mr Peter Kimbowa, a renowned motivational speaker and team leader of CEO Summit, said yesterday.

While presenting a paper on how small and medium enterprise (SMEs) in Uganda can be globally competitive, he said businesses should begin taking charge of their organisations rather than blaming other entities for their weaknesses.

Mr Kimbowa said Uganda’s Top 100 mid-size companies should expect no favours from any quarters because ultimately the responsibility of managing the business squarely lies in their hands.

Sustainable model
“Stop waiting for the government to solve your problems. You must not forget that at the end of the day the success and failures of your businesses depend on you and the decisions you take—and not the government or any other person,” he said.
“We must engage in trade and forget about aid because that is the only sustainable model. Dependency and pointing fingers will not take us anywhere.”

He said for a company to be competitive, it must have quality leadership, be financially sound, have capacity for innovation and retain talent among others.

He further argued that competitiveness also involves wisely using company’s assets and quality solutions provided to clients. “The question is; how many of our businesses have those traits?” he asked.

Mr Kimbowa is of the view that Ugandans are still locked up in what he calls archaic and primitive tendencies, most of which have dire implications on business and its competitiveness.

Meanwhile, the 2013 top mid-size company survey revealed that up to 60 per cent of the companies that have made it to the Top 100 mid-size companies are Ugandan owned.

Gone up
The survey also showed that savings are the major source of start-ups although the number of enterprises borrowing from financial institutions has slightly gone up.
Despite the recent economic challenges the country grappled with, the report presented by KPMG senior manager Peter Kyambadde showed that the Top 100 mid-size firms increased their sales by nearly 80 per cent.

About SMEs
-Top mid-size companies are those enterprises whose turn over ranges turnover from Shs360 million to Shs25 billion annually.
-Willing to provide financial ratios based on 3 year audited accounts
Companies excluded
-Public companies (those listed on the stock exchange)
-Financial services providers (financial institutions and insurance firms)