WAKISO – On the 3rd and 4th of September, Gudie Leisure Farm (GLF) hosted the 8th National Region Spotlight – the Central Region Spotlight – to showcase and celebrate the wealth of investment opportunities in and culture of the region.
GLF is a social enterprise providing various agribusiness development services to youth-owned micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in the agricultural sector, and in particular, those operating in the white meat and related value chains.
Speaking at the spotlight at the Farm’s head offices in Najjeera II – Kira, Wakiso on Monday, Prof. Gudula Naiga Basaza, Founder and Managing Director said that the youths must keep numbers if they are to become good entrepreneurs and understand if their businesses are productive, planned and profitable.
“You cannot do any business when you don’t know how it is working, what are you putting in and what are you getting out so that you are able to know that I’m making a profit or making a loss.”
This, she said, will aid them when it comes to paying taxes.
“Many people claim that taxation is making them lose business but they don’t tax your working capital, they don’t tax your loss, they tax your profit. So if you don’t keep your record very well, chances are high that the taxman might think that you’re actually making profits but if you have your reports, you have all the weapons that you require to be able to present your case properly.”
The Central Region Spotlight was a private sector-led initiative organized to enlighten local and foreign investors about the investment opportunities that exist in the region, to generate support for the young entrepreneurs that are already investing in it, and to celebrate its rich cultural heritage.
She noted that “The main goal of our investment promotion initiatives is to facilitate development across the country by promoting its regions to potential investors and fostering the formation of win-win partnerships between them and the local communities, especially young people in business.”
She noted that the central region plays an important role in developing the other regions.
“We see the central region as one of those regions that are highly populated, the region that has a big number of the middle class that is actually the market for the other regions that we have been spotlighting, also to this year.”
Unlike youth in other regions, Prof. Gudula urged the youth in central to have a different kind of perspective in terms of what they are going to engage in – especially in the value chain.
“Whereas the other regions we’ve been saying they have land, they can now plant soybeans, maize, this same message may not work for the youth in Mukono, Kampala, and Wakiso because we know that these are now the bedrooms of who is working, you go to work, you come back to sleep in Wakiso. So the land for digging is becoming small but they have a part to play in the value chain.”
According to her, Buganda is the most hospitable and diverse region in the country and its progressive and entrepreneurial nature has and continues to attract the best investors – local and foreign – to the country.
“This region’s continued development and success is pertinent to the growth and sustainability of other regions in Uganda. We hope, therefore, that with this event, we will be able to competently highlight the wealth of the region and its people and by so doing, spark increased interest in and active investment by all Ugandans and foreign partners in its development, especially its young entrepreneurs.”
Mr. John Walugembe – Executive Director, Federation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises debunked some of the myths by economists, that there are no opportunities in Uganda.
“So you see the move by Ugandan young people to travel out either to the Middle East or to the West. Yes, it’s difficult but what they must understand, it is much more difficult for them out of the country.”
“I’ll give an example that you have all these foreigners coming here to invest, why do they leave their countries to come and visit here if we didn’t have opportunities?”
He challenged the youth to participate in commerce, manufacturing, agriculture, and in a digital economy but most importantly to be innovative if they are to adapt to the existing situation.
Walugembe also urged the youth and all Ugandans in businesses to be bold in asking for incentives from their elected officials “because no government official is going to come home and say, now you are eligible for this incentive. No, you have to ask. The beauty of these investors are very aggressive, they look for these opportunities and ask for money. We must challenge ourselves to do the same.
Ms. Florence Nampeera, one of Gudie Leisure Farm’s region coordinators commended the Farm noting that, “The Central Region hosts the Capital and is Uganda’s main business and trade hub. It is where most of the country’s biggest business deals are made. It is necessary, therefore, that as the private sector, we enlighten the country and potential foreign investors, especially the youth, about the opportunities that abound in the region and the eco-system of support that exists to help them succeed.”
“We are proud of the fact that as young entrepreneurs from this region, we too are proactively investing in our country’s development! It is indeed important that private sector actors like Gudie Leisure Farm as well as the government create platforms such as these where young people like us get to interact and form strategic partnerships with key players in industry. The relationships we have created especially with young entrepreneurs that come from other parts of the country through these Spotlights and other business activities are going to play a significant role in driving meaningful trade across the regions, innovation, food security, tolerance and economic development. We therefore welcome all Ugandans, especially ambitious youth, to participate in this event!”
About Gudie Leisure Farm
Gudie Leisure Farm (GLF) is a social enterprise providing various agribusiness development services to youth-owned micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in the agricultural sector, and in particular, those operating in the white meat and related value chains. Established in 2009, the company, since its inception, has been providing the MSMEs with the technical and business training they need to produce and distribute high quality white meat products and services through its agribusiness incubation center, linking them to markets in and outside their districts of operation that can deliver them with the returns they expect from their investments and business development services (BDS) providers in the public and private sectors that can support the growth and sustainability of their enterprises.
The entity has built a network of 112,900 youth in 750 parishes in all regions of Uganda across 30 districts including; – Kampala, Mukono, Wakiso, Lwengo, Kyotera, Masaka, Kiryandongo, Luweero, Dokolo, Moroto, Arua, Amolatar, Nwoya, Soroti, Jinja, Namisindwa, Tororo, Hoima, Mbarara, Isingiro, Kabale, Kisoro, Kikuube, Fort Portal, Kamwenge and Kassanda, Rubanda, Butambala, Kabongo, Rakai and operates in 6 refugee settlements – Rwamwanja, Kiryandongo, Maaji, Nakivale, Rhino and Kyangwali.
Within the Central region, Gudie Leisure Farm has incubated 108 Youth Agripreneur Champions from 18 parishes. These have since returned to the region and incubated over 9,000 Youth Agripreneur Champions (out of school youth) and 2,160 Youth Agri-Club Agripreneurs (youth in school). All the youth have embracing the role of transforming their region by being proactive, productive, planned and profitable. They are engaged in value chain linked agribusiness. They have held district skilling fairs for communities within the region and train community members on a weekly basis in their Parish Entrepreneurship Learning Associations (PELAs) and Divisions.