By George Busiinge
Stanbic Bank Uganda has officially unveiled the business incubator project that will help equip local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Albertine Grabben with skills needed to sustain their enterprises in the oil and gas sector.
The centre which is located in Bujumbura, Hoima municipality, was launched in partnership with Tullow Oil Uganda Limited and will focus on strengthening farmers’ capacity in the oil rich region, targeting agriculture opportunities in the oil and gas sector.
According to Stanbic Bank’s CEO Patrick Mweheire, over Sh500million has so far been invested in setting up the operationalization of the centre. He urged local leaders to popularize it for the benefit of the local community saying similar services will be extended in Gulu, Mbale and Mbarara this year.
Officiating at the launch on Tuesday, Mweheire said the facility will help to deal with agribusiness enterprise challenges in the Albertine region through training farmers on financial literacy and quality management.
Jimmy Mugerwa, the Tullow Oil Uganda Managing Director, advised farmers to practice farming as a business, work in groups and produce quality products.
He said the oil and gas opportunities are immense especially for the agricultural sector since over 150, 000 people will be employed in the sector at its peak and will need feeding.
Hanington Kiiza Asaba, the Hoima deputy Chief Administrative Officer commended Stanbic Bank and its partners for extending such a service to the region but also advised farmers to grab every opportunity aimed at empowering them to benefit from the Oil sector.
Early this year, presiding over the launch of the incubator programme, Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda said this Business Incubation Hub will empower more SMEs to grow their businesses. He said government intends to run 94 training centres for skills development.
Selected SMEs will go through a 10 months training on business analysis, financial literacy and quality management. Business sustainability is a major problem among Ugandan businesses; only 30% live to their 3rd birthday.
The incubator project will equip the Albertine community with the necessary skills, knowledge, networking opportunities and understanding to be able to participate in the oil and gas sector and to run their businesses in a sustainable and profitable way.