The Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Uganda is set to link more than 500 small and medium enterprises in Uganda with foreign companies in the UAE, France, China, England and USA to help their businesses expand.
The enterprises are registered under a business investment club, which the bank's officials say will also benefit from investment advisory, reduced interest rates on loans and subsidised travel rates as they explore business opportunities in other countries.
"This is how an institution growth together with the market. Uganda has a very entrepreneurial population but due to capital inadequacies and knowledge gaps, the businesses collapse before their second birthday. Here, we are trying to help some of them grow, and in turn, they will also help others, "said Mathias Muhimbisa, the bank's executive director.
Muhimbisa was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the business club at the Kampala Imperial royal hotel on Friday evening.
He said the bank's move is partly in response to the country's need to create more jobs in the economy, which is closely linked to the successful development of the SME sector.
"More than 80% of Ugandans are employed in the SME sector, and we cannot ignore that this is where growth and development of this nation will come from. As a bank, therefore, we shall help as much as we can but also, make a bit of money," he said.
Dressed in a dark blue jacket with a red tie, Muhimbisa said SMEs need to take advantage of the latest business practices in the local and international markets to grow effectively.
He added that SMEs are considered one of the driving forces of modern economies, due to their multifaceted contributions in terms of employment generation and export promotion.
David Tanki, a professional public speaker called on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country to form partnerships in order to take advantage of the economies of scale.
He said forming partnerships will help SMEs to access funding and machinery more easily, as well as identify contacts for possible joint ventures in foreign markets.
"SMEs constitute a big percentage of the private sector and it's now time to facilitate them to expand to bigger markets through creation of partnerships and adding money to their businesses," he said.
He also advised SMEs to adhere to high levels of transparency in financial reporting, so as to attract both local and foreign investors