KAMPALA – The Uganda top 100 Mid-sized Companies Survey for 2019 has Wednesday been launched, under the theme “SMEs Shaping the Future of Business Landscape”.
The Survey, now in its 11th year (since 2009), aims at helping SMEs, the engine of Uganda’s economy, to understand the market, position themselves, grab opportunities (both domestic and foreign) and compete well.
The ceremony took place at Sheraton Hotel, spearheaded by representatives of the major sponsors the Daily Monitor (Tony Glencross, Managing Director), audit firm KPMG (Edgar Isingoma, Country Leader), Uganda Investment Authority (Eria Kaweireku, Ag. Director Small and Medium Enterprises Division), Insurance Company of East Africa (Emmanuel Mwaka) and Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Basil Ajer).
In his speech, UIA’s Kaweireku, who represented Ag. Director General, Lawrence Byensi, said the Agency uses the Survey to get clear feedback which it uses in its policy advice to Government.
Mr. Kaweireku urged Ugandan SMEs to get investment licenses from UIA in order to grab investment opportunities like setting up shop in industrial parks upcountry.
He appealed to SMEs to also pick interest in setting up private industrial parks and free zones.
Daily Monitor’s Glencross said the Survey is a development yardstick for companies which, amongst other things, makes them adjust according to what other companies are doing. He stressed that the future of Uganda lies in the strong base of SMEs.
KPMG’s Isingoma said by promoting good corporate governance SMEs have the capability of growing and contributing significantly to economic growth and national development.
ICEA’s Mwaka observed that SMEs in Uganda need to start appreciating the risks they face and how to mitigate them. He said they want to use the platform to deepen awareness on business insurance.
Basil Ajer, who represented the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations, urged SMEs to embrace innovation, research and intellectual property rights in order to improve their competitiveness. Ajer revealed that the ministry is setting up an Innovations Fund for the sole purpose of benefiting SMEs.
DFCU chief executive, Mathias Katamba, said the Survey brings to the forefront the achievements of SMEs in shaping economic growth and national development, adding that there is a need for SMEs to transform themselves for that important role.
Katamba advised the SMEs to become proactive and innovate for the future in order to be prepared for disruptions, like in technology, and the unique demands of an ever growing and fast changing demographics, especially the tastes and demands of young people.
The ceremony was also attended by representatives of many SMEs, who were taken through aspects of the 2019/20 national budget and the opportunities in it that they can exploit.
It was revealed that some SMEs that participated in the initial surveys have since grown beyond the SME bracket (Club 101).