Digital skills key for business growth – UCC boss

By Apollo Mubiru

According to Uganda Communication Commission, chief executive officer, Godfrey Mutabazi, the digital skills foster entrepreneurship, innovation and boost competitiveness.

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PIC: (L-R) Director Rural Development Fund (RCDF) Nyombi Tembo, executive director Uganda communications commission Godfrey Mutabazi, Barbara Nalubega from College of Computing and Information Sciences and chairperson Uganda tailors association Phillip Ssekimpi Kakembo during the launch of the SME digital literacy and skilling campaign at Makerere University on Tuesday.(Credit:Godiver Asege) 
MAKERERE - Acquisition of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) skills plays a pivotal role in creating a robust and conducive business environment for small and medium businesses in Uganda.
According to Uganda Communication Commission, chief executive officer, Godfrey Mutabazi, the digital skills foster entrepreneurship, innovation and boost competitiveness of the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Mutabazi made the remarks at the launch of a digital literacy and skilling campaign for MSMEs for the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area held at Makerere University on Tuesday.
UCC, under the Rural Communication Development Fund imparts basic knowledge about the use of basic ICT functionalities and the internet to entrepreneurs to enable them reach a wider clientele.
A 2015 study by the Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises (FSME) indicated that only 9% of the 300 businesses interviewed in Uganda have their contacts listed online, 6% advertise online and 22% admitted to having basic computer knowledge.
At least 14% confirmed having benefited from their online engagement, while 73% admitted that digital illiteracy was hindering them from running their businesses effectively hence the need to embrace digital operations for future growth.
The month long campaign is aimed at helping business community take advantage of the business opportunities in the digital economy.
The project seeks to address the digital illiteracy that is pervasive among MSMEs in Uganda.
The targeted MSMEs will be assisted to understand, appreciate and harness the opportunities that ICT offers to their businesses, through improving their skills and capabilities in basic ICT functionalities.
The training will adopt a practical and hands-on approach at resolving everyday ICT challenges that small businesses encounter.
The project targets 1000 entrepreneurs in Kampala, Mukono, Entebbe and Wakiso.
UCC will train the participants through the ‘digital citizen and digital citizen plus’ curriculum of the internationally recognised International Computer Drivers’ License (ICDL).
The syllabus introduces them to basic skills and concepts in computer use, desktop management, searching the web, sending emails, using social media, creating and editing documents.
At the end of the training, the SMEs will have been empowered to use ICT and the internet to meet their business needs.
The project is coordinated by the Federation of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises-Uganda (FSMEU) which was established as an umbrella body for Small and Medium Enterprises in Uganda.
It has operated for the last 35 years, as a non-profit association, registered as a company limited by guarantee and has a membership of over 25,000 entrepreneurs.
Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Uganda are said to employ an excess of 3 million people and account for more than 90% of the private sector and contribute more than 70% to our national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).