Gov’t hails Stanbic for supporting women enterprises

Through the program, women have also accessed UGX 65 billion in discounted credit at 15.5%, the lowest in the market, and mobilized more than UGX 15 billion in deposits.

By Our reporter

Kampala: Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited, in partnership with the Global Influence Club, recently held its annual Women in Business Forum under the theme ‘Breaking Barriers to Trade 2023’ at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel.

The event brought together several women entrepreneurs and provided an opportunity to network as well as learn new business skills. The bank also showcased a range of financial solutions that can support the growth of their enterprises.

Eve Mpalampa, Stanbic Bank’s Head of Oil and Gas Business Commercial Banking, said hosting the event was part of the bank’s purpose: ‘Uganda is our home; we drive her growth.’

She said Stanbic is committed to running programs and products that can help transform society, and empowering women in business is one of their priorities.

“As a bank, we have many products, but because of the passion we have for elevating women, we rolled out the Stanbic for Her Initiative. This offer includes training in financial literacy, cash flow and management of working capital, loan management, and managing savings and debt. Mentorship and advisory services are also extended by the bank with support from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Stanbic Business Incubator.” Mpalampa said.

The IFC is the private lending arm of the World Bank Group.

While giving a keynote address, state minister for investment Evelyn Anite hailed Stanbic Bank for championing the spirit of supporting and uplifting women’s entrepreneurship in Uganda.

She implored the women to prioritize best practices in today’s business operations in order to benefit from different government empowerment projects.

“There is no way women can thrive in business when they are not doing the best practices like legalizing business, paying taxes, and keeping records, among others. If you don’t do this, then there is no way the government can support or partner with you. Even commercial banks like Stanbic Bank cannot give you all the financial support if you don’t uphold those principles,” Anite said.

Anite stressed the need for value addition, branding, and proper packaging of products as key factors in running a successful venture.

The Uganda Investment Authority Director General, Robert Mukiza, advised the women to make good use of the different government ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) like the UIA in order to get free advisory services, land, and warehousing space, among other business-enabling platforms.

He said the authority has continued simplifying work for different businesses, like digitizing the certification and licensing processes for both local and foreign investors.

“A company is eligible for an investment license after it has been incorporated in Uganda and meets the following thresholds: Foreign firms must have a capital investment that exceeds US$250,000, whereas domestic firms must exceed US$50,000.

Applications for an investment license from the Uganda Investment Authority can be done online. After all the required documentation is submitted and is satisfactory, the license is issued within 48 hours at no cost. Therefore, it’s high time women took advantage of this opportunity,” Mukiza said.

The Stanbic for Her program equips women entrepreneurs with basic business management skills and links them to market opportunities through the bank’s expansive commercial networks, reaching over 10,000 beneficiaries by June 2023.

Through the program, women have also accessed UGX 65 billion in discounted credit at 15.5%, the lowest in the market, and mobilized more than UGX 15 billion in deposits.

“We are pleased with the program’s outcomes, achieved within less than two years since we launched it. With the skills gained, women have exhibited an impressive ability to run their businesses with efficiency and have also proven to be disciplined customers, borrowing and repaying their loans on schedule,” said Mpalampa.

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