PSFU says revolutionizing business development services crucial for MSMEs to thrive

PSFU says revolutionizing business development services crucial for MSMEs to thrive
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The Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), in partnership with Mastercard Foundation and The African Management Institute (AMI) have hosted a groundbreaking thought leadership event, setting the stage for transformative discussions aimed at redefining the landscape for Business Development Services (BDS) in Uganda.

This event brought together leaders and innovators from the BDS ecosystem, focusing on fortifying the capabilities of BDS providers to catalyze the growth of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across the nation.

Stephen Asiimwe, the CEO of PSFU, emphasized the vital role of MSMEs as the backbone of Uganda’s economy, while highlighting the pivotal challenges they face, including limited access to finance and a lack of essential business skills.

He pointed out that BDS providers are crucial in bridging these gaps, offering the support MSMEs need to thrive.

To address these challenges, PSFU and AMI launched an extensive BDS training program.

This initiative has made significant strides in enhancing the capacity and quality of BDS providers across Uganda through a standardized framework.

Rebecca Harrison, CEO of AMI, highlighted that the programme was built from AMI’s proven training methodology - a practical, tools-based learning model equipping BDS providers with the necessary tools and diagnostics to effectively support SMEs.

With over 1000 applications, country wide representation across all regions, potential to impact 10,000 MSMEs and over 1835 tools downloaded to support business growth.

Over the course of the programme, more than 217 BDS providers received comprehensive training, elevating the standards of business support services nationwide.

The program facilitated the development of two core standards focusing on "Building Organizational Capacity" and "Delivery of Business Development Services," addressing critical gaps in the BDS sector.

This initiative thrived on a deep understanding of the Ugandan Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) ecosystem, achieved through extensive consultations and the involvement of local standards experts.

The approach embraced a consultative methodology that integrated diverse perspectives from various stakeholders, ensuring widespread acceptance and adoption of the guidelines.

Extending its reach beyond Kampala, the initiative made significant strides into rural areas as well, addressing accessibility challenges and fostering a sense of community among providers.

This comprehensive strategy not only elevated the quality of business support across Uganda but also set a new benchmark for future BDS training programs, underscoring the importance of local ownership, practical tools, and broad-based inclusivity in achieving sustainable business development outcomes.

The transformative effect of the training was echoed by BDS providers, with over 90% reporting that the quality of workshops exceeded their expectations and the knowledge gained was highly applicable to their operations.

Testimonials shared at the event painted a vivid picture of the program's positive influence on their professional journeys and business practices.

One of the BDS providers noted, "The training redefined our approach to service delivery, instilling a deeper understanding and gave us credibility as we support MSMEs effectively."

The thought leadership meeting also served as a forum for discussing the future of BDS standards in Uganda.

Influential panelists, including Angela Kerubo Mugisha (Mastercard Foundation) and Johnson Abitekaniza (Ministry of Trade), deliberated on strategies to ensure the wider adoption and sustained impact of these standards in the business landscape.

Today marks a significant milestone in the journey to empower BDS providers in Uganda.

Through setting new standards and fostering strategic partnerships, particularly with AMI, PSFU is dedicated to reshaping the landscape of business development services to drive the resilience and expansion of MSMEs across Uganda, paving the way for a more prosperous and inclusive economic future.

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