First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Kataaha Museveni, has applauded Stanbic Bank Uganda and a British Peer, Baroness Verma, for backing women-led enterprises with networking and skilling sessions which, she said can help accelerate growth of their businesses.
She was speaking virtually on Friday last week at a Stanbic Bank sponsored one-day inaugural conference organized by Global Influence Club, under the theme ‘Breaking the barriers to trade’ at Protea Hotel in Kampala. The event brought together slightly over 200 women running businesses across the country. Similar conferences are slated to take place in India and the United Kingdom in the coming months however Ugandan women in business can still attend virtually.
The conference is a brainchild of Baroness Verma, (Businesswoman, politician and appointed member of the House of Lords), Emma Mugisha (Executive Director and Head Business Banking, Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited) and Nataliey Bitature (Chief of Staff Simba Group). The conference was aimed to share knowledge, skills and networks, market and credit access opportunities among women-led businesses in Uganda, India and the UK.
Mrs. Museveni said, “The timing of the conference is right given that most of our women in business are still emerging from the negative effects of covid-19 and would require information to support their businesses. Mentorship and growth should be done through such a forum in a sisterhood way.”
She thanked the organizers for supporting this initiative and encouraged women in business to be proactive in all its activities.
Baroness Verma said, the other aim of the conference was to inspire women in business to do more and get business to work.
“Participants should be able to network, get and follow their new contacts and be able to solve problems affecting their businesses,” Baroness Verma said.
She added, the hybrid event invites small businesses led by women, women entrepreneurs-budding and those who have started their journey, to take part and ask questions, be inspired by those who have succeeded before them and gain new networks and financial knowledge that will help them to grow and showcase their business today and safeguard them tomorrow.
Stanbic’s Emma Mugisha said, business owners must start, be hard working and learn to be patient in times when their businesses do not yield immediate positive results.
“Consulting with the people that have made it is also key for one to succeed in business,” Mugisha said.
She added that, together with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), they made research on supporting women-led businesses which culminated into unveiling of ‘Stanbic for Her’ solution that extends credit to women enterprises at the currently low interest rate of 15.5%, lower than over 20% industry average interest rate.
“Even when interest rates in the market went up, we did not increase this rate for women; our prayer is that the economy gets better so that we continue supporting women with this product,” she said, adding, “the same product offers non-financial services to women like skills and entrepreneurship training through Stanbic Bank sister company, Stanbic Business Incubator Limited.
Mugisha moderated two panels during the conference including; “What are the barriers to finance, entrepreneurship and how can we overcome these and what are the solutions?” and the other was; the role of government and the banking sector in women’s entrepreneurship.