(L-R) The Chief Executive Officer of Stack Online Trade Show Brian Funzi and Legal Counsel Abbas Matovu handing over an award to some of hardworking staff during celebrations to mark the company's first anniversary recently. PHOTO: Abou Kisige
Brian Funzi said expensive loans are killing businesses in Uganda
Bank of Uganda has been asked to cut down on the lending rate to commercial banks to promote domestic economic activities in the Country.
"When the central bank puts its borrowing rate high, it will have implications on the interest rates of commercial banks and this makes businesses across the country struggle," the Chief Executive Officer of Stack Online Trade Show, Brian Funzi said.
He made the call during celebrations to mark the first anniversary of Stack Online Trade Show in Lweza, Wakiso district recently.
Stack Online Trade Show is an innovative virtual online trade show platform that exhibits products and services to the online market place.
Through their state of the art web portal and mobile app, they give businesses and buyers of all sizes access to a million products in a single place on the go.
Chief guest Abbas Matovu handing over an award to one the clients during the celebrations
Using their mission which is ‘to deliver aggressive and strategic marketing through their innovative online virtual trade show platform for your products and services', Stack has come at the right time when the world is becoming Digital.
Funzi said expensive loans are killing businesses in Uganda and implore the government to rethink and engage the central bank to cut down on the lending rate such that interest rates come down.
"If the central bank rate is somehow low, businesses in the country will be fine, shrive, shine and our economy will breathe," Funzi said.
He asked the government not to direct the commercial banks on interest rates but to engage with the central bank to cut down the lending rate.
"Taking a loan in Kenya is much easier and quicker unlike here. I am not saying the central bank should slash the lending rate to half, but something should be done really to about 8percent," Funzi appealed.
He explained that the idea of starting up Stack Online Trade show was conceived some years ago and brainstormed about it.
"We started by researching countries and we invested about Sh320m in this process. The research showed that this was a workable project and it could be consumed in the market," Funzi said.
He said after doing research, they put in place a working team and looking at their business, they invested in Information Technology because the business does more of online marketing.
Funzi revealed that in a space of two months, they will be launching another product of delivering goods like Jumia because their business idea goes beyond limits.
Officials of Stack Online Trade Show during the award-giving ceremony
The company boasts of more than 200 exhibitors in just one year and right now they are in talks with Tel-communication giants to see how they can bring them on board.
He noted that there's still a huge market potential, the challenge, however, is that more people have not been ready for e-commerce as their research indicated earlier alone.
"We are still trying to build brand awareness so that people get to know that they do not need to waste time looking for their desired products. You simply have to sit at the convenience of your computer or mobile phone and order for products which are delivered within no time" Funzi said.
Funzi said when one looks at the Uganda Investment Authority statistics, out of 100 businesses that start annually in Uganda only 36 celebrate their first birthday.
"Now that we are among the 36 businesses I think there's cause for celebration and that's an achievement registered," Funzi said.
Boaz Ahimbisibwe, Head of Operations and Supervision at Stack Online Trade show, noted that the low levels of computer literacy among the masses is one of the biggest challenges faced by online companies.
"Often than not you find an innocent businessman who has the potential to market their business and maximize profits but he is not computer literate," Ahimbisibwe said.
He explained that as a company they are devising means of addressing this challenge by engaging the company's Information Technology experts to hit the ground to train people on how to use phones and computers to maximize profits," Ahimbisibwe said.
He added that they are engaging the government to see that taxes are a bit waived so they can continue to create jobs for youth.
"As Stack, we have the potential to create over 1000 jobs for youth but when companies are heavily taxed at infancy, it curtails our potential and millage," Ahimbisibwe explained.
Abbas Matovu, who represented Odrek Rwabogo as chief guest, said there's cause for Stack to celebrate its first anniversary because many businesses die off at infancy.
"Now that you are growing strong, I think it's prudent to invite your customers, clients, business partners, and prospective business partners to show them that you are about to unleash another brand and success should be celebrated together," Matovu explained.