An initiative by Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA) to impart digital skills among Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) is yielding dividends after the completion of the Kampala training, in which more than 1,700 MSMEs benefitted, writes JUSTUS LYATUU.
USSIA is running this digital literacy campaign in partnership with Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) under the Rural Communications development Fund (RCDF), which targets small businesses operators from across the country.
So far, more than 1,700 MSMEs have acquired digital computer skills to enable them participate in e-commerce, a platform widely touted as today's business enabler.
Patricia Kisakye, a professional weaver, has been in the business for more than a decade but didn't know how to grow her business beyond recommendations by her satisfied customers. She joined the training to get skills on how best to market her business online and is already relishing the prospect of attracting clients across the globe.
"I have always believed I'm good at what I do but I couldn't showcase my products beyond my shop on Luwum street in Kampala. So, it was not enough without marketing but I have learnt how to use social media to market and promote myself," she said. "I'm particularly keen on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram."
Kisakye's testimony is just one of the hundreds at the event held at Nakawa Vocational Training Institute on October 26. At the same event, John Walugembe, the USSIA executive director, says in this information age, everyone should be able to use the computer and work with associated programs with comfort. He adds the business community has been always left out of digital literacy programs with most of them targeting schools and communities in general.
"This is the very first time we are trying to target MSMEs with practical training on how to use the computer, the internet and different programs to promote their businesses," he said.
Walugembe said that through the program, USSIA plans to roll out more training sessions in Gulu and Mbale with a view of ensuring that Ugandan MSMES have the capacity to compete in the information age.
"We are mainly looking at people who work using their hands because we appreciate that most of these people have been left behind in this information age yet we all at one point or another need their service," he said.