dfcu Bank in partnership with Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) has completed a two-day training in Gulu district, Northern Uganda as the initiative continues in its efforts to equip and empower female entrepreneurs across the country. Over 300 women attended the two-day sessions which was facilitated by key experts.
The training was the third and second last of the regional activities which are all aimed at imparting skills necessary to run and maintain successful businesses to women involved in various ventures. Previous trainings were held in Mbale and Ishaka districts.
An initiative under dfcu Bank’s Women in Business program, ‘Rising Woman’ seeks torecognize, celebrate and promote a culture of mentorship among women in business in Uganda. This year marks the initiative’s second season, following last year’s successful inaugural activity that attracted thousands of women who took part in different activities including; trainings, the Rising Woman Expo, Awards Gala and study tour to Nairobi.
dfcu Bank’s Gladys Nalukenge noted that the theme for this year’s Rising Woman Initiative, ‘Taking your business ahead’ is focused on “equipping female entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills and abilities to improve the way in which they operate their businesses; with a goal of enabling them to create profitable operations.”
“Through this initiative, we are focused on building women’s financial literacy skills, creating awareness of available opportunities, widening their networks, and enabling access to credit and financial support,” Nalukenge added.
While many of the barriers faced by entrepreneurs are common to both men and women, in many cases, they are more significant for women. Fear of failure discourages most women from entering the entrepreneurship arena. Women also tend to perceive that they lack entrepreneurship skills in addition to challenges such as difficulty in accessing finance. Equally, tax policies can discourage female labour market participation, including entrepreneurship.
A participant in the training session, Ms. Josephine P’Ochen, Proprietor of Tour De North, said the marketing and customer care skills tips acquired were enlightening. “At times we fail our businesses just because we cannot get the small things right. I have learnt that appreciating customer and understanding their individual needs provides my business with additional value, which in turn builds loyalty and maintains my customer base.”
During the sessions, women were equipped with business skills including; business planning; enterprise management, positioning for access to credit and marketing to help them leverage on existing opportunities.
Ms. Fausta Akech, a business woman in the coconut oil business noted that the training on standardization of the products was timely and eye-opening. “Many businesses tend to ignore standards; as we don’t often realize that standardization plays an important role in building and maintaining both a brand and a business.
The fourth and last regional training will take place at Hotel Africana in Kampala district on 2ndand 3rdOctober 2019. Women entrepreneurs are encouraged to participate in proposal writing which runs up to 20th September 2019.
The top 3 winners of this year’s Rising Woman Initiative will win UGX 15 million, 10 million and 5 million respectively. The Top 10 participants will go on an all-expense-paid study tour in Nairobi in January 2020.