Women have been asked to acquire the skills to produce quality products.
PIC: Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde speaking during the 4th annual women business leadership conference in Bugolobi, Kampala. (Credit: Maria Wamala)
Women entrepreneurs in Uganda under their umbrella, Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association (UWEAL), have been urged to unite and work in groups instead of working as individuals if they are to succeed in cross border trade.
While opening the 4th annual women business leaders' conference themed; Trading Aross Borders at Silver Springs Hotel in Bugolobi, trade minister Amelia Kyambadde said working as individuals and lack of support for one another are some of the things hindering women in business.
"Let us work in groups, instead of struggling alone. If you are in a group of 10 or five people, you can each contribute and raise money for the business," Kyambadde said.
She also advised women to seek skills and knowledge in their trade and also pass it on, so that their businesses have continuity.
"The problem that is killing us as women is that when we get skills, we do not want the next woman to learn. We are jealous of each other," she said.
The trade minister also told women entrepreneurs to formalise their businesses, so they can get more market and also avoid loses incurred in back-door trade.
Nancy Gitonga, the regional co-ordinator East Africa women in business platform, said the status of women in cross border trade in the East African Community is less than 1% of the total number of the women entrepreneurs in the region.
PIC: Banks generally have reservations when it comes to loaning women finances because they do not usually have collateral
Gitonga said another reason why women do not engage in cross border trade is quality and standards of goods.
"Through capacity building and training, women can improve their skills and this will expand and improve of their production. Unless you produce the requirements of the market, the international market will deny you a chance to sell your goods," she said.
Why women entrepreneurs fail to access credit?
Mike Muwonge, the Managing Director of Financial Access Commerce & Trade Services Ltd (FACTS), said that women are not accessing finance because, "They start business out of circumstances not out of passion. It's either after a divorce or luck of support from a spouse and if things change, the business suffers and that cannot guarantee repayment."
He added that lack of acceptable collateral security also restrains financial institutions from extending credit to women. "Government needs to make legal provisions allowing women to own land to enable women access to finance for their businesses," he said.
PIC: Mutesi Christine (left) shows trade minister Kyambadde (centre) during the 4th annual women business leadership conference in Kampala, as Gudula (right) looks on. (Credit: Maria Wamala)