Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Uganda has sent 30 of its Business Club SME members to a 10-day sponsored trip in Germany and Turkey in an effort to support growth of the SME sector in the country.
During the business trip, the customers will network with a wider international market so as to acquire new business linkages to suppliers of goods and services.
Speaking during the flag off at Oasis Mall, Joram Kiarie, the managing director KCB Bank Uganda said “at KCB Uganda, we are aware that one of the biggest challenges that our local SMEs face is creating valuable linkages to enhance their businesses, this trip is a step towards facilitating our customers to make these linkages,” he said.
The business trip will include visits to construction factories with modern cost saving technology in Germany, firms that sell heavy construction machinery in Ulm, modern health facility installations and medical equipment manufacturing companies, the BMW museum as well as have business to business meeting with the Turkish business community to create linkages.
“We are keen to empower and nurture the growth of our home-grown businesses, such business trips are platforms to empower our SMEs as they interact with experts from various sectors” noted Kiarie.
According to statistics, trade volume between Turkey and Uganda amounted to $27 million during the first 10 months of 2017. Turkey’s main export products to Uganda are cereals, electronic equipment and rubber while Uganda’s mainly imports machinery and chemical products from Germany.
The Germany ambassador to Uganda Dr Albrecht Conze noted that the trip provides an opportunity will help the new generation of entrepreneurs in Uganda to grow their businesses.
“The backbone of German industry is the family businesses, which is the same for Uganda, this is an opportunity for KCB SMEs to learn how to go further, as well as make contacts for opportunities to resell machinery,” said Conze.
Charles Ogwel the managing director UMCAT one of the SMEs taking the trip said he is happy for having got the opportunity to travel, “Germany is known for quality, I hope to improve the quality of the machines in my business, network and make linkages to strengthen my business, I also hope to learn modern ways of doing business,” he said.
The SME sector employs the largest number of people in Uganda, according to Uganda Investment Authority, over 2.5 million people are employed in this sector, where they account for approximately 90 per cent of the entire private sector, generating over 80 per cent of manufactured output.