Leadership for Entrepreneurs

Compassionate Leadership for Entrepreneurs Series: Leading with the Heart

ConsumerCentriX, in partnership with Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited (or Stanbic Bank), kicked off the first webinar in its Compassionate Leadership for Entrepreneurs Series on November 4th, 2021, under the theme “Leading with Heart: Adapting to a New Normal in a Tough Business Environment.” The webinar explored how the bank and other key businesses in the market adapted to the current business climate given the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of using compassionate leadership as a business strategy.

The webinar was moderated by Maurice Mugisha, a Ugandan journalist and Managing Director of Uganda Broadcasting Corporation, and the panel included Emma Mugisha, Executive Director and Head of Business Banking at Stanbic Bank, Dr. Peter Kimbowa, Chairman of the Board of Directors at the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Thadeus Musoke Nagenda, Ag. Chairman of Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA), and Isaac Nsereko, Managing Director of RI Distributors Ltd.

The COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda has led to waves of lockdowns and business closures, making it impossible for businesses to continue day-to-day operations as usual. The disruptions have heavily affected decision-making, employee management, and the bottom line for businesses. All of the panellists agreed that leading with compassion during these extraordinary times has been essential. For them, this has meant listening to their employees and the concerns of their customer base, challenging the assumptions behind their convictions, and being ready to adapt to a constantly changing environment.

A few key themes emerged from the discussion:

Work together. As business leaders, it’s important to share best practices and ask others to join in utilizing compassionate leadership. If more business leaders share their knowledge on how to listen to employees and customers, challenge assumptions, and adapt quickly in a changing environment then institutions will improve, and the economy will be strengthened. In the case of KACITA, the largest trader block in Kampala, Mr. Nagenda explained that most of the shopping malls its businesses operate out of were closed during the lockdowns. KACITA approached the government and advocated for the reopening of arcades so that its business owners could continue doing business and making a living. Due to the shutdowns, the company also asked for a moratorium on rent for the business owners. Mr. Nagenda that “most of the [arcade] landlords are also traders and part of KACITA” and they began working together to find solutions.

Adapting to change is imperative. Leaders should approach challenges as opportunities to shift their ways of working. The pandemic forced many sectors to embrace change through digitization, whether that included investing in ways for their staff to work from home or making loans available to more customers through mobile banking. In the case of Stanbic Bank, Mrs. Mugisha mentioned adjusting working hours to better fit customer and employee needs and implementing changes so staff could work from home comfortably. As the pandemic dragged on, more customers began to default on their loan payments and the bank “put in place repayment extensions to relieve the customers who were affected by the pandemic,” said Mrs. Mugisha. Focusing on the mission of the business instead of the structure allows businesses to adapt to a new normal. 

Trust is essential. The most valuable component of an institution is its people. A leader must build and maintain trust with employees in order to make compassionate leadership sustainable. When suppliers cut off credit lines, RI Distributors, one of the largest logistics trading companies in Uganda, focused on preserving the business through adapting their supply chain lines and establishing trust with their truck drivers by launching a number of key safety measures. First, they divested in long-term projects and focused on ramping up COVID-19 testing stations for their truck drivers. The business also hired more drivers so to ensure adherence to safer social distancing policies through a more flexible driver rotation schedule. Mr. Nsereko said; “I think it’s compassionate leadership that knows the business will [have the opportunity to focus on making] money in the future and chooses to look after their people now, in a sustainable way, in order to stay in business.”

Continue to Innovate. As institutions and leaders’ transition, make adjustments and recover from the shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to remain curious and willing to adapt. Continued disruption can make it really difficult to make a concrete plan for the future, but it can lead a company to develop better practices. NSSF, the largest social security fund in Uganda, launched a leadership ‘Think Box’ in order to continue to innovate and tackle the biggest challenges, particularly how to avoid layoffs and keep employees fulfilled while working from home. Dr. Kimbowa is proud of the results of these efforts – NSFF largely retained its staff, and reminds others that “firing people during hard times is in itself an admission of failed imagination [for leadership].” Continue to assess your beliefs and processes and make sure not to revert back to ineffective ways of working.

Compassionate leadership is essential in building resilient companies that survive in the face of adversity. The health and wellbeing of employees and clients should continue to be a priority for leaders in order to build a stronger and brighter future. Join us for the next instalment of the series that is planned for the first quarter of 2022.


wellbeing of small business

ConsumerCentriX launches Compassionate Leadership for Entrepreneurs to support wellbeing of small business owners

ConsumerCentriX is launching Compassionate Leadership for Entrepreneurs to support small business owners as they navigate uncertain times. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disorienting effect on global health, economic activity, and our daily lives both professionally and personally. Business owners and entrepreneurs have been among those most affected by COVID-19 as lockdowns and border closures made it nearly impossible for them to continue their day-to-day operations. As small business owners work to recover from the effects of the pandemic, personal wellbeing should be a priority, as it affects decision-making, employee management, and ultimately a business’ bottom line.

Compassionate Leadership for Entrepreneurs will feature a series of informative blogs, webinars, and a local radio show that explore tools and tips for business owners to positively impact their wellbeing. The initiative draws on the concept of compassionate leadership, which is defined as interacting as a leader in ways that exhibit compassion for oneself and in relationship to others as well as acting intentionally to create positive impact in the world as a whole.[1] The first of three webinars in the Compassionate Leadership Public Engagement Series launches on November 4th, 2021 in partnership with Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited. In Rwanda, the Building Back Healthier Series launched with a local radio show held October 25. Two additional webinars are scheduled to take place this fall, the next in mid-November.

In tough business environments, leading with compassion takes courage and is rewarded with resilience. Compassionate Leadership for Entrepreneurs will take a deep dive into the positive impact of compassionate leadership and the importance of focusing on personal wellbeing. Stay tuned as we share strategies and tools to help entrepreneurs foster better work environments, build better business outcomes, and lead with compassion.

[1] Center for Compassionate Leadership. July 9, 2019. “What is Compassionate Leadership?


gender-intelligent Fintech Design

Gender-Intelligent Fintech Design

Gender-Intelligent Fintech Design

DOWNLOAD REPORT

In collaboration with the Financial Alliance for Women, ConsumerCentriX conducted a research study “How Fintechs Can Capture The Female Economy.”  The research team interviewed 31 fintechs, 10 investors and 15 industry stakeholders across the world.  The report quantifies the opportunity cost of not taking a gender-intelligent approach and shares solutions that fintechs can use to increase women’s conversion rates at each stage of the sales funnel.

Click here to access the full report: Fintech-Research-II


business plan

Strategies that can help save your business and plan for the unexpected

A version of this article was originally posted on the Covid-19 Business Info Hub 

Due to the pandemic, many businesses have experienced new and significant operational challenges such as inadequate cash flow, decreased demand, and supply chain disruptions resulting from lockdown restrictions. According to the Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC), 50% of businesses in Uganda had to close operations at least temporarily for an average of over three months. These challenges were unprecedented and have made it clear how disruptive a crisis can be. Most companies were unprepared and as a result, some have closed operations permanently. Others have struggled to get back on their feet.

Here is where a business continuity plan can be a critical tool enabling businesses not only to survive but potentially to thrive even during a crisis. A business continuity plan is a document that outlines how a business will continue operating during an unplanned disruption. It guides businesses on how to reassign resources and communicate effectively internally and externally, all key components to maintain operations even during challenging times.

Because developing a business continuity plan may be a new concept for small business owners, in September, the COVID-19 Business Information Hub focused on guiding entrepreneurs in their development. We had insightful discussions with stakeholders and businesses who implemented a variety of business continuity strategies during the pandemic, and here is what we learnt:

Conducting a risk assessment: The first thing that every business owner should do is assess the risk and vulnerability of their business. This can be easily done using a tool that the International Labor Organization (ILO) provides free of charge. The ILO also outlines a six-step process to develop the business continuity plan with a key focus on four main elements (People, Process, Profits, and Partnerships). We spoke with John Kakungulu Walugembe of Federation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises-Uganda (FSME), who explained in detail what the 4Ps stand for and how businesses can use the six-step plan to their advantage. (click here to access the special interview with John Walugumbe).

Determining critical activities: Business owners need to define critical activities needed to continue to operate during a crisis. Businesses should immediately identify actions to take based on the risk exposure. Lilian Katiso of Mau and More, a company that sells potted plants, recognized that watering plants was critical to mitigate the risk of losing her inventory due to withering. The business decided to purchase a motorcycle to facilitate one staff to do the watering during the lockdown.

Establishing an internal communication plan: A communication plan outlines how teams and employees may best communicate with each other to support the company’s objectives. It helps increase communication frequency and promotes the dissemination of information about what is happening within the company and the employees. Toddler’s Gold  implemented a communications plan including regular meetings to discuss business targets and understand staff welfare. As a result, their sales grew during the lockdown.

Embracing technology and digital platforms: Technology helps to support business operations during challenging times. When regular work arrangements were disrupted, and we saw a shift to remote work, Rajab Mukasa, Director at Pique Nique Ltd, adopted mobile money and the use of agents to complete his banking activities. It allowed the company to order by phone and pay suppliers remotely instead of using cash.

The disruptions caused by COVID-19 have set a new preparedness benchmark and demonstrated that small businesses need to continuously adapt and evolve their strategies to better prepare for future risks. Joseph Walusimbi a national coach and trainer with the International Trade Center (ITC), an agency of the United Nations, encourages entrepreneurs to embrace business continuity plans to prepare for uncertainty. He also highlighted the potential need for external financing to implement specific activities. Businesses should seek financing options focusing on recovery, innovation, adaptation and sustainability, such as the Economic Enterprise Restart Fund available at Stanbic Bank Uganda or credit guarantee schemes that shift risk from the private to the public sector.

 

 


KCB Bank Rwanda

The SME Response Clinic Partners with KCB Bank

The SME Response Clinic Partners with KCB Bank  

A version of this article was originally posted on the SME Response Clinic

The SME Response Clinic has partnered with KCB Bank Rwanda as part of our ongoing efforts to bring entrepreneurs even closer to financial institutions that offer access to finance and non-financial services to meet business needs through COVID-19 and beyond.  

Through this partnership, entrepreneurs will have access to timely information on KCB Bank’s financial products as well as non-financial services such as KCB Bank’s Biashara Club, which features preferential offerings, trainings, business workshops, and networking opportunities. Through the partnership, SME Response Clinic visitors will also have a direct line to the institution at +250788140000. 

We are excited about the  opportunities this partnership can create for your businesses, and we look forward to providing you with regular updates on KCB Bank Rwanda’s products and services! 


Training

ConsumerCentriX best-in-class training to support financial institutions serving the SME segment goes virtual

ConsumerCentriX best-in-class training to support financial institutions serving the SME segment goes virtual

ConsumerCentriX has a long history of working to support financial institutions serving small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs).

SMEs face a tremendous financing gap, and many do not have access to the kinds of business development services that make them stronger potential borrowers with the skills to grow their businesses as usual or to manage disruptions like COVID-19. SMEs face unique challenges and have specific needs.

On the other hand, financial institutions have a hard time grappling with understanding the full financial picture of many businesses in this segment, and as a result, find it challenging to lend to SME entrepreneurs, whose recordkeeping varies and who may bank with multiple banks (or none at all).

The financial institutions that serve SMEs – both those who want to serve them for the first time and those who want to serve them better – need to consider implementing an approach that enables them to better understand their SME customers: a relationship management approach. This approach entails establishing and maintaining long-term relationship with customers centered around providing solutions that meet customer needs rather than just promoting one product or service. In turn, this ensures a greater share of wallet for the bank.

Effective relationship management in SME banking requires strong Relationship Managers with skills in connecting with customers and understanding how to analyze businesses in this unique segment as well as in monitoring post-disbursement to address potential issues before they arise or to identify additional needs customers may have. Earlier this year, ConsumerCentriX developed and launched a four-part virtual training program to support Relationship Managers in honing their skills to better serve the SME segment. The best-in-class curriculum centers around four key areas essential to serving SMEs:

Relationship Management

Provides trainees with foundational skills needed to build a relationship with customers and real-life examples to complement learnings

Gender Awareness

Identifies and addresses potential biases trainees may have in approaching or assessing women entrepreneurs

Business and Credit Analysis

Focuses on techniques to collect, cross-check, and analyze business information to conduct an efficient credit analysis using quantitative and qualitative information

Decision Formalization and Portfolio Management

Hones trainees’ technical skills in preparing credit proposals, including identifying potential risks and mitigation strategies that are monitored from loan origination throughout the repayment period.

ConsumerCentriX transformed these topics, normally covered in 8 days of in-person classroom training, into 4 online modules with 26 mini-sessions of between 20 and 45 minutes. The mini-sessions include animations, exercises, and videos that aim to bring life to self-paced virtual learning.

We recently piloted the training with Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited (SBU), one of the largest commercial banks in Uganda with a strong footprint among SMEs that aims to expand its reach and deepen its engagement in the sector.

What have we learned?

While the pilot is still underway, ConsumerCentriX is already seeing results and has been able to leverage preliminary learnings to make small tweaks to enhance the effectiveness of the virtual training.

Importantly, trainees are successfully learning the theoretical knowledge presented in the self-paced virtual sessions. While online learning has become frequent due to COVID-19, the sessions developed for this training are short and as interactive as possible to avoid some of the fatigue that has become common with participating in online events.

Pearl Akol, an Enterprise Direct Business Banker at SBU, shared that as a result of completing the relationship management component of the online training, she has “understood that you have to listen to the customer carefully and match a solution to the customer’s need” rather than to focus on selling a particular product. It transforms the way she approaches conversations with new and existing customers and is sure to have an impact on the bank’s bottom line. For Alex Insingoma, an Enterprise Direct Business Banker, the gender awareness module was eye-opening. “After going through this training, I was able to recognize the importance of women in business given their big numbers and their unique way of running businesses,” he said.

While theoretical knowledge can be effectively transmitted through self-paced virtual sessions, live online discussions and practice sessions best ensure information is internalized by trainees. Typically, ConsumerCentriX follows up our in-person SME training programs with hands-on coaching and mentoring done with trainees at their branches and in the field. This kind of approach can be difficult to replicate online, but other techniques can be used instead. We incorporated live virtual coaching sessions moderated by our expert SME team to smaller groups of 5-7 people for 1.5 hours at a time. They focus on addressing main challenges faced by participants on any of the content, provide a dedicated time for trainees to practice specific tools or skills acquired, and offer participants the opportunity to discuss real case studies from actual entrepreneurs.

Lastly, proper planning and oversight by the financial institution are critical to success. ConsumerCentriX usually conducts multiple planning meetings in advance of in-person training to outline the objectives, ensure staff availability, and to identify how outcomes will be tracked in close collaboration with the partner financial institution. These steps cannot be skipped for virtual learning.

  • First, an institution needs to identify its goals – particularly the behavior changes and outcomes that it aims to see as a result of the training.
  • Then, time needs to be set aside for staff to complete the training – this can be a number of hours per day or week within a certain period of time. This needs to be communicated to staff, and follow-ups should be conducted by managers to ensure staff are completing modules within designated deadlines.
  • Finally, the institution needs to identify the key performance indicators it will track to understand outcomes – if a financial institution wants to see additional business generated as a result of the training, key performance indicators around new leads or a greater share of wallet should be clearly communicated at the start of training, monitored during training, and tracked over time once training is completed.

ConsumerCentriX looks forward to completing the pilot training with SBU over the next few months and partnering with other financial institutions across Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond to continue to serve SMEs despite challenging times. If you are interested in learning more or partnering with us, contact info@consumercentrix.ch.

.


business continuity plan

Developing a Business Continuity Plan for Your Enterprise

ConsumerCentriX works closely with Stanbic Bank Uganda on both the COVID-19 Business Info Hub and the Stanbic Business Incubator. This article originally appeared on the COVID-19 Business Info Hub.

The COVID-19 Business Info Hub spoke with John Kakungulu Walugembe of the Federation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises-Uganda (FSME) to understand the importance of developing a business continuity plan for enterprises and how this helps to build resilience during challenging times. A business continuity plan can be defined as a document that outlines how a business will continue operating during an unplanned disruption in service. It contains contingencies for business processes, assets, human resources, and business partners – every aspect of the business that might be affected.

John K. Walugembe is the Executive Director of FSME, the umbrella/business association that brings together over 112,000 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises across 20 sectors in the country. Here’s what John had to say about the importance of business continuity plans in light of circumstances brought about by disruptions like the pandemic:

 

“Many businesses don’t have business continuity plans and do not know why they need to develop them.”

 

The impact of the pandemic on the MSME sector is unprecedented. Many businesses are closed, others have limited demand, and many are struggling to pay their staff. Businesses face challenges they have never encountered before and disruptions at overwhelming levels. So, “when we are talking about business recovery and resilience, we are trying to ensure that businesses get back to their pre-pandemic level” of operations. Business continuity plans can help businesses in doing just that. However, many entrepreneurs do not know what they are or how to go about putting them together.

 

FSME worked with International Labor Organization (ILO) to assist 200 MSMEs to come up with a business continuity plan according to a six-step process developed by the ILO.

 

FSME used the ILO’s six-step process for putting together a business continuity plan, which starts with an assessment of risk.

To assess the level of risk and vulnerability faced by a company, business owners need to focus on the 4Ps below and can assess their level of risk using the link included above.

People

How are your workers and their families affected by COVID-19?

Processes

How are the everyday operations of your business affected?

Profits

To what extent is your income and revenue affected?

Partnerships

How is the environment around your business affected by COVID?

Next, businesses must follow six steps as outlined below.

Step 1: Identify your key products or services.

Step 2: Establish the objective of your plan.

Step 3: Evaluate the potential impact of disruptions on your enterprise and workers.

Step 4: List actions to protect/minimize risks to your business

Step 5: Establish contact lists for non-physical activities (WhatsApp calls, Zoom meetings etc.).

Step 6: Maintain, review, and continuously update your plan.

 

“SMEs should also network and reach out for help.”

 

Although business continuity plans help answer questions about how your business can continue operations in moments of crisis, companies need to be agile and adapt plans to changing circumstances. One way to do this is by reaching out for support from organizations like FSME and to other business development service providers. Businesses can also reach out to their networks for ideas and support.

FSME is keen to support SMEs when and where possible, so please reach out to the organization via Tel at 0774147864 or via email at info@fsmeuganda.org or at john.walugembe@fsmeuganda.org


One Farm Platform

Learn How Stanbic Bank Uganda's One Farm Platform Promotes Business Linkages Within the Agribusiness Sector

A version of this article was originally posted on the Covid-19 Business Info Hub.

The COVID-19 Business Info Hub spoke to Christian Karamagi, Innovation Lead at Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited (SBUL), to understand how the One Farm Platform is creating business linkages within the agribusiness sector in Uganda. Read along to find out more.

What is the One Farm Platform?

The One Farm Platform, which is channel partner-led, is essentially a data-driven digital solution that creates business linkages within the agribusiness ecosystem, especially between smallholder and enterprise service providers like banks, insurance companies, exporters, and manufacturers. The platform has two main components. The first is supply certainty, the assurance that there is the right quality and quantity at the right time. The second is supply optimization, which is about empowering smallholders to produce at maximum capacity. The components are critical for SMEs to forecast the crop to buy from farmers, which helps builds trust between the farmers and SMEs.

Information is critical to creating meaningful linkages. The platform captures data on; location, acreage, and inputs to prepare data profiles of the farmers. This data is aggregated to estimate total production in each area and shared with off-takers or SMEs and other service providers. The profiling helps formalize the sector by providing farmers with a digital identity, giving them access to finance, insurance, agronomy and market linkage. It also helps the users grow their farming business, giving them credit and financial history, creating trust, increasing productivity, improving access to markets, and managing counterparty risk. SMEs use this information to make business decisions on where to source, when to supply the clients and the financing source. Other service providers, such as input suppliers, can project and plan for demand from the farmers.

The platform delivers its benefits to the users through the categories below:

  • Lend: is credit, including farmer production loans and value chain financing.
  • Protect: this is savings and insurance currently weather-based index.
  • Trade: this is the linkage within the marketplace, allowing SMEs to tap into the out-grower database. It includes a digital marketplace.
  • Grow: this focuses on offering agronomic services to farmers to enable them to grow their crops well.
  • Share: this refers to reaching out to communities with available food to feed the hungry.

How does the bank facilitate the participation of different actors on the platform? 

The platform is channel partner enabled. The bank has various approaches to engaging different actors on the platform, as elaborated below.

We are adopting multiple repayment options for the SMEs and farmers who have received lending using our hybrid models. It allows them to pay conveniently and access additional financing for their operations.

Delivery of timely financial services to suit the agricultural seasons when farmers need the finance through One Farm Lend. We know that farmers may miss out on the planting season in case of delays in the availability of financing to buy inputs. We manage the lending process to ensure that farmers apply for financing well in time to avoid any delays.

Establishing partnerships with NGOs/Donors, fintech & Agritechs, input suppliers, equipment leasing companies, and insurance providers has helped us increase the use of the platform. Working with the various partners brings onboard a broad range of services, experience and expertise that platform users can tap into.

We have embedded financial literacy and agricultural extension services for farmers and SMEs through One Farm Grow. These are influencing behavioural change, adopting new technologies, and best practices for sustainable solutions.

What is the future of the platform?

Our vision is to have the One Farm platform as the leading ecosystem driver in Uganda’s agriculture sector. Scaling up for the platform is also underway, which means capacity and capability initiatives. The first plan is to increase the number of data profiles to 20,000 profiles by June 2021. Second, we plan to incorporate more value chains from maize to coffee, beans, barley and oilseeds. We continue to engage different stakeholders and partners, especially SMEs, as buyers, SACCOs and fintech & Agri-techs, facilitating the development of value chains. Finally, we plan to empower young people to integrate such digital solutions into farm practices because we understand that the future of digitization in agriculture lies with the youth.


agribusiness

What we learned this month about how to promote recovery in Uganda’s agribusiness sector

ConsumerCentriX works closely with Stanbic Bank Uganda on both the COVID-19 Business Info Hub and the Stanbic Business Incubator. This article originally appeared on the COVID-19 Business Info Hub.

In July, the COVID-19 Business Info Hub focused its efforts on understanding recovery mechanisms and opportunities for the agribusiness sector. We engaged with many stakeholders, including SMEs, financing institutions, and organizations offering support to the industry. Here is what we learnt!

 

The agribusiness sector has faced a number of challenges. 

Just as SMEs were recovering from the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the second wave hit the country in May 2021. This led to another lockdown during June and July, which has brought more difficulties for SMEs operating in this environment. Some of the challenges faced by the businesses include:

  • Supply chain disruptions especially delayed transportation both by road and air cargo for agricultural inputs and products because of movement restrictions.
  • Working capital constraints because of reduced sales and delayed payments, which affect operational efficiency.
  • Reduced demand and price for agricultural products because buyers cannot easily access markets due to the lockdown.
  • Increased cost in retaining essential human resources as businesses work to keep staff on the payroll despite reduced operations to avoid losing critical talent to competition.

As a result of these challenges, SMEs have used up their cash reserves and thus need financial and non-financial support to recover.

 

Several organizations are providing support to help agribusinesses recover. 

Different sector players that we spoke to shared interventions they have in place to support businesses to stay afloat during the pandemic. Some are included here below:

aXiom Zorn creates digital profiles for farmers and agribusinesses to enable them to access financial services. The digital profiles capture data that builds a credit score for the farmer or the business. A credit score of 60% allows the farmer or agribusiness to access financing from a bank.

Stanbic Bank Uganda provides affordable loans to Savings Credit and Cooperative Societies (SACCOs) and farmer groups. SACCOs and farmer groups receiving these funds can then offer affordable loans to their members. Learn more about other interventions of the bank to reduce the financing gap in the financial sector.

Agricultural Business Initiative (aBi) promotes access to agricultural inputs by availing subsidized inputs to farmers to plant within the season. aBi Finance has also tweaked its credit guarantee product for partner financial institutions to help them to lend to customers with better terms.

Palladium is implementing a program to link farmers to service providers and markets via commercial agents. Through the model, over 80 businesses have benefitted to date with increased income.

 

Agribusinesses can implement a three-step plan to speed up the road to recovery. 

SMEs need to seek information to understand the shifts in the consumption, production and trade within the sector to plan for recovery and build resilience. Here is a three-step recovery pathway that SMEs can adopt;

  • Reflect: Pause and think about the impact COVID-19 has had on the business. Analyze what has worked during the period, lessons learnt and what needs to change. Then, adopt a holistic work approach to consolidate the best practices and manage change while maintaining a safe work environment.
  • Restart: Identify steps required to “restart” – maybe a new business process, a new product, or service line to fit in the new normal. Mobilize the necessary resources and take action.
  • Revitalize: Revisit the business environment to seize available opportunities along the value chain. SMEs need to optimize opportunities within the supply chain. They can improve volume flexibility, enhance delivery performance and identify areas where technology can help streamline processes to minimize costs.

 

For faster sector recovery, stakeholders also need to actively engage with the businesses to help them innovate and expand into new markets more than ever before.

 

SMEs can access information on:

Agribusiness financing from Stanbic Bank Uganda  

Call: 0800250250

WhatsApp: 0770588623

Visit:  www.stanbic.co.ug

 

Innovative digital solutions from aXiom Zorn 

Tel: +256 200 951 713/+256 200 903 099

Email: info@axiomzorn.com

Visit:  https://axiomzorn.com/

 

Commercial Agent Model from Palladium

Tel:   +256 774 040751

Email: jackline.kitongo@thepalladiumgroup.com

Visit: https://thepalladiumgroup.com/


SMEs in Agribusiness

Building resilience for SMEs in the Agribusiness sector post COVID-19

ConsumerCentriX works closely with Stanbic Bank Uganda on both the COVID-19 Business Info Hub and the Stanbic Business Incubator. This article originally appeared on the COVID-19 Business Info Hub.

This month, the COVID-19 Business Info Hub seeks to understand how the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the Agribusiness sector can remain resilient after the pandemic. We will feature insights from different players in the Agribusiness Ecosystem. We will explore the pandemic’s disruptions on the Agribusiness supply chain, learn about the sector’s challenges and opportunities, and provide insights on what to do to stay afloat. We will provide you and your business information on the available interventions and support that you can take advantage of to grow your business.

Before the pandemic, SMEs in the Agribusiness sector were vibrant and engaged in significant value addition with the food system. They created employment along the value chains in agricultural trade, farm services and inputs, agro-processing, urban retailing and food services. However, when the pandemic hit, the sector suffered adverse effects, especially disruption of the supply chain and reduction in market demand. Although SMEs tried to respond by adopting digital solutions to access information on production, training services, and access to finance and markets, business still remains low. Nevertheless, as the economy is slowly opening up after months of lockdown and restricted movement, SMEs are slowly seeking to build back businesses.

Stakeholders, therefore, need to design interventions that support SMEs to continue playing their critical role within the sector. Interventions should help SMEs cope with the economic and financial implications of the pandemic. For example, help them strengthen their digital capacity through training and provide them with relevant information for business continuity. Successful implementation of these interventions will enable SMEs to become innovative, build resilience, and manage the current pandemic effects. They will also withstand continued market uncertainty and position for more robust post-COVID trade.

Are you interested in learning how some of the Agribusinesses managed to survive the pandemic? Do you want to know more about the policies and initiatives to help you stay resilient and grow your business? Then, keep following The Covid-19 Business Information Hub this month for more insights and relevant resources in the Agribusiness sector!