The Observer (Kampala)

8 December 2013

Uganda: KCB Trains Over 300 SMEs

Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde has advised small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to form cooperatives to access cheaper finance and machinery.

Speaking at the closure of the "KCB made in Uganda" project last week, Kyambadde said it was easier to support organized SME's than individuals. In the past five months, more than 300 disadvantaged rural and urban cottage industry entrepreneurs across the country have benefited from trainings that the bank has held in partnership with Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA).

Most SMEs lack formal grooming in business disciplines. Often, they suffer from a general lack of business direction and improper management in key areas of business operations such as packaging, finance and personnel management.

KCB Uganda Managing Director Albert Odongo, said this training helped to promote uptake of locally manufactured products.

"We have been able to improve the productivity of existing entrepreneurs by upgrading their managerial decision making capabilities. They have received insights in the latest developments in industrial management, marketing management, financial management and book-keeping," he said.

Despite its importance to the country's economy, the cottage industry has been fraught with a high failure rate and hence their inability to raise finances for sustenance. Daniel Musiitwa Ssubi, the USSIA national chairman, said the "KCB Made in Uganda" project had helped SMEs to become sustainable.

"A lot of agricultural development programmes focus on increased productivity without enough thought about how those products will be sold and processed competitively," he said.

"The skills development trainings we have been carrying out ensured that the trainees produce good quality products that are well packaged and can compete internationally."

The project had 10 training categories and identified the most critical training needs of each district.

"As a honey processing farmer, this is the kind of support I needed. I now know that I need to package my honey better if I'm to compete with international brands," Onega Emmanuel, one of the trainees in the honey cottage in Arua district said.

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