The Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited (UWEAL) has held the 10th Annual Women-in-Business Leaders’ Conference, with a focus on digitalization in women trade.
According to Connie Kekihembo the CEO UWEAL, the conference helped shed light on the invaluable involvement of women in national economic development, highlighting their potential to generate employment and income.
She noted that this also addressed the transformative power of digital tools and emphasized the importance of creating an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs.
According to Uganda’s National Census report in 2014, women constitute 51% of the country’s population yet a recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report revealed that startup rates for women dropped by 15% from 2019 to 2020, underscoring the challenges faced by female entrepreneurs such as limited access to finance and adapting to technological advancements.
She noted that its highs time the country prepared and allowed women understood that ‘we are in the global world’.
“We need to start moving in the new digital trends while carrying out businesses, we have been encouraged by the women today, and it’s possible, we have carried out trainings, given out laptops to some of our chapters, to widen the digital network.” She said.
Speaking at the event, Rosa Malango, said the event provided crucial information for women intrapreneurs.
She talked on business formalization and registration, “What are the services? What do you get? It’s the importance of being registered, catching up with the digital age, why technology is important, and how to access markets. One of the concerns that I also saw was the challenges and getting certification, especially for the small scale, limited entrepreneurs. And it’s something that I look forward to working on and see how to accelerate this.”
Malango added that there’s need to deepen trainings on branding, among others. “People have to know that this product is Uganda made by women, made by youth and that will also help in terms of selling exports and trade.”
Representing the State Minister for Trade, Cleopas Ndorere, the commissioner for External Trade, called on women entrepreneurs to formalize their businesses in order to benefit from the different government programs.
He also asked agencies in charge of registering and formalizing businesses, to provide some incentives like literacy and financial trainings to attract more people.
“Let’s Formalize with Incentives. Let’s get an interaction where we say once you formalize you will get different benefits like education and connections to different financing opportunities,” he said.