35 SMEs Start Orient Bank Business Academy Training

Diana Ntamu_Director MUBS Entrepreneurship Centre teaching the third intake of Orient Business Academy COURTESY PHOTO Diana Ntamu_Director MUBS Entrepreneurship Centre teaching the third intake of Orient Business Academy

After a successful vetting process, Orient Bank, a leading commercial bank in Uganda, together with the oldest business education center in Uganda, Makerere University Business School(MUBS) have officially kicked off the 2019 Orient Business Academy with 35 participants selected from the over 100 applicants that applied for the academy in June this year.

Applicants were required to have had a registered business in operation between one and three years, with a turnover below 120million.

Based on the applications received, the bank noted that the highest number of applicants was mainly drawn from the fields of agriculture, trade and e-commerce. Other represented sectors were; education, entertainment, media, transport and logistics, supply chain management, beauty and cosmetics as well as fashion and design.

Out of the initial 100 applicants, 60 applicants were invited to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges. Focus was placed on uniqueness of solution and scalability of the business.  

Out of the 60 entrepreneurs who faced the panel, 35 were selected to attend the academy. It is out of these that the top five entrepreneurs will be selected based on their business growth plans, created during the course of the training and funding provided.

 According to the Deputy Manager Career and Skills Development Centre, Dr. Ahmed Walugembe, on behalf of the judges of the Orient Business Academy noted that based on the applications received, many business men and women are now growing more towards the services delivery businesses as compared to manufacturing.

He also noted that the biggest challenge for most of the applicants was failure to clearly define their target market and creating unique selling points for their businesses.

“The biggest challenge we noted was that most of the applicants failed to describe their customer clearly. Someone has a business but doesn’t understand who their target market is. Secondly, many failed to identify the uniqueness of their business idea and how it can benefit the community.

Most applicants failed to differentiate their offering from what is already on the market,” he noted, adding that, “Determination of costs and prices also proved to be a challenge because most of the applicants based their pricing on competition and not on their target market demand or fairness of the cost to the customer.”

The academy focuses on training small scale business owners in the areas of; the entrepreneurship mindset, book keeping, competitive market analysis, marketing, human resource management, operations planning and financial planning.

The Orient Business Academy, which is now underway at The Orient Corporate Center at Nyonyi Gardens, Kololo  has over the past two years trained over 120 small scale business owners and rewarded 10 of them with financial support of up to shs120 million.

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