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Summary Report International Women’s Day y 2013 Bridging the Gap for African Women in Business Kampala, Uganda 2 March 2013

Promoting independence for African women


Table of Contents 3 5 7 8 10 14 16 18 21 29

About Bridging the Gap for African Women A big Thank you Summary discussions Business Executives Panel Discussion: Points of view from the audience Women in Business Panel Discussion Points of view from the Audience Pre-event interview with Dorothy Tuma Talking Points by Hope Kabirisi Founder Perfect Roses Feedback

About Bridging the Gap for African Women Bridging the Gap for African Women in Business is an Ethnic Supplies and LTHT initiative that engages African women in business, Business Practitioners, Academics, Government officials, Donors and NGOs in business discussions that explore the contribution of business to development

Objectives 1.


3. 4. 5.


To share practical knowledge and insights among a primarily business audience on how to successfully design and deliver inclusive business models, bringing together experienced companies with those newer to the discussion. To provide a platform for women in business to engage with peers in the business community, to share and to learn about practical solutions to key challenges in developing and growing inclusive business models To share the latest international thinking on how business can contribute to development in commercially sustainable ways To provide a platform through which partnerships can be built To shape and contribute to policy thinking within the donor community on how best to engage with and support business. Promoting independence for African women

Bridging the Gap for African Women in Business 2013 The first meeting took place on 2 March 2013 in Kampala and was inspired by discussions with the Centre for African Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London as part of their research into the supply chains of Multinational Companies (MNC) and women in business. From our experience it was apparent that all although women wanted access to global supply chains, some were not ready to join those supply chains. The key obstacles as we saw them, had to do with work ethic, quality of and products, business culture, Access to finance, communication, timing and managing expectations. We therefore sought to hear directly from multinational companies and women in business as to what can be done to address these challenges by posing a series of questions 1.




What are the opportunities that exist for African Women in the Supply chains of Multi National Companies (MNCs)? What are the key challenges for MNCs who seek to include African Women in Business in their Supply chains? What are the key challenges for African Women seeking to join the supply chains of MNCs, where are the gaps and how can these gaps be bridged and whose job is it to bridge those gaps Is there a role for governments, NGOs, donors?

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The meeting brought together Business Executives, women business owners, and experts from the business world and civil society to explore the opportunities that exist for women in business within MNC supply chains as customers, employees, suppliers and distributors of goods. The meeting enabled participants to share practical experiences and deepen their understanding of key challenges to women business owners becoming suppliers to MNCs and what can be done to bridge the gaps and what is needed to bridge those gaps. In addition, it served to bring these issues out in the open in order that we can begin to address them. This meeting departed from the usual meeting format covering topics such as this and instead focused on equipping delegates with practical skills in the following areas; use of social media in business, networking for business success as well as tips on accessing MNCs supply chains. The discussions were open, frank and engaging and the feedback we got was positive and emphasised the point that this was an important debate on issues that impact African women in business and should not be a one off ! Freda Palm Muyambo and Ida Horner – Meeting conveners


A big Thank you The organizing committee wishes to express their deepest appreciation to all the speakers for the important messages they shared with participants. You did an important thing on 2 March 2013 by opening up a dialogue on African women in the global arena.

TMs Ruge, Pheona Wall and CEO of AfriPads

We could not have done this without you. A special thank you to the delegates who attend the conference who through their attendance acknowledged the importance of the issues impacting women in business.

• Mrs. Amelia A. Kyambadde- Hon Minister of Trade and Industry - Guest Speaker • Mr. George Mbogo - Local Enterprise Development manager SABMiller / Nile Breweries • Pheona Wall - Public Relations Manager AirTel Panelists: • Dr. Maggie Kigozi- Director, Crown Beverages • AnnetNamubiru for Olive Kigongo- President, Uganda Chamber of Commerce and Managing Director, Amagara Skin Care • Dorothy Tuma - Consultant, DMT Consultants Ltd • Samalie Namirembe- Human Resources Manager Nile Breweries • Maria OdidoDifonzo - Chief Executive Officer, Bee Natural Uganda Ltd

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Regina Nakayenga – CEO RENA Beverages FlaviaAmoding Otto – Programme Coordinator –Uganda Workers Education Association Hope Kabirisi - Managing Director, Perfect Roses Farm Ltd

• Panel moderators: • Teddy Ruge Cofounder Project Diaspora • Dr. Ruth Bahika Founder Grace Villas • Ruth AineTindyebwa – Meeting time Keeper The organizers acknowledge the hands on support provided by: • Mrs. Stella Dumba of Uganda Women’s Entrepreneurs Association Ltd • SuminNamagandaof SABMiller/Nile Breweries • Akampa R Johnson of Youth Advocacy Foundation Uganda • Boaz Shani of Uganda Goes Online • Zahid Torres-Rahman of Business Fights Poverty • Joanne Knowles of Center for Africa Studies • Michael Kirkpatrick of Creative Communications Group.

We are grateful to the conference sponsors without whom the event would not have been possible • •

AirTel: Africa On The Blog: Business Fights Poverty: Creative Communications Group:

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Ethnic Supplies Ltd: Let Them Help Themselves Out Of Poverty: SABMiller: Uganda Goes Online: Uganda Manufacturers’ Association: http://

Promoting independence for African women

Summary discussions


n his address, Mr. Mbogo told the audience about Nile Breweries a subsidiaryof SABMiller Ltd the programmes and initiatives that incorporate women in business and how aspiring entrepreneurs could access those opportunities. These programmes provide opportunities for women to become involved both directly and indirectly as supplies of raw materials like barley and sorghum. He highlighted among others is the Local Enterprise and Agriculture Programme (LEAP)- an initiative that promotes local sourcing and enterprise development initiatives particularly barley and sorghum. He also shared success stories of

women groups who are beneficiaries of the business linkage between Enterprise Uganda and Nile Breweries who included among others; Farmers’ Center in Lira, Achiro Enterprise in Soroti. These have greatly impacted on the lives of the women in these particular communities by; Promoting access to education for their children, access to free health care, Clean safe water etc. He however, acknowledged the fact that men dominate the supply chains and one of the key reasons for this is education levels amongst women and as well as access to finance, which limit women’s ability to work with MNCs. For these reasons Nile

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Address by Mr. George Mbogo: Local Enterprise Development manager SABMiller / Nile Breweries

Breweries has sought to engage with projects that work with women and whose Corporate Social Policy prioritises women as suppliers of goods and services.


Business Executives Panel Discussion: This panel was tasked with addressing the HOW, WHAT AND WHY and comprised of the leading Business Executives in Uganda. The central question they had to address is whether there exist opportunities for women with the supply chains of MNCs, and if so what are those opportunities and how can women go about accessing those opportunities.

Panel discussion including (from left) TMS Ruge- Moderator, Dr. Maggie Kigozi, AnnetMubiru, Dorothy Tuma, and Samalie Namirembe

This is a Summary of talking points Question


Qn 1: How do we change the women’s mindset to quality? Responded to by: Dr. Maggie Kigozi

• MNCs have the responsibility to follow the global standards and ensure quality at the area of production. • Women should be encouraged to produce products on time and find ways of ensuring quality and quantity. • Always be positive to be part of the supply chain

Qn 2: How can we revolutionarise the education system to empower women more into the supply chain the MNCs?

• Parents should be encouraged to ensure girl child access to education just like the boys • There is need to strengthen government support towards girl child education interventions in Rural areas. • Empower and support girls to become leaders. • Women role models should also be featured in school textbooks. • It is every body’s responsibility to uplift women’s role in our society e.g. through songs, media, Drama etc.

Responded to by: Annet Mubiru and Dorothy Tuma Qn 3. What role should MNCs play in counterbalancing cultural relations? Responded to by Samalie Namirembe

• There’s no specific measure to addressing this challenge rather, we all have a role to play. • Media can play a big role in recognizing the successful women in business.

Qn 4: What advise do you give to women that look up to you? Responded to by: Dr. Maggie Kigozi

• Show love to their daughters • Educate the girl child • Build self esteem of the girl child through giving them positive feedback • Women should seek entrepreneurial skills to boost up their businesses • They should be proud of who they are because they equally contribute to social and economic development. • Should be hardworking and determined to achieve their goals.


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Points of view from the audience


here was considerable discussion on the importance of knowledge and skills and how the two Dorothy Tuma called for a multi thronged approach to bridging the gap between the supply chain and the multi-national corporations. She emphasised the need for the education system to adopt a gender balanced syllabus were text books feature women leaders. Let women who have done things be featured in school textbooks to inspire other women. She noted that seeing pictures of those women who have done things or who have been up there competing with men will inspire us into knowing that we can also do it. A key question for consideration from the audience: What can be done at a micro level so that women feel they have opportunities and pursue those opportunities? The conference heard that a study by Nile Breweries found that 70% of small-scale farming is done by women. When this is equated back to the quality of produce, it shows that women are not accessing the necessary skills to produce good quality products that MNC are looking for. A participant in the audience called for increased dialogue at a more macro level in order to target knowledge and skills in the right direction. This dialogue she said, should involve all the key sector players like, policy makers, women leaders, skills providers, women in farming and the multinational corporations. In response, Regina Nayenga of RENA Beverages Ltd stressed the need for a concerted effort in improving the skills that are taught. She castigated the myopic level of business thinking of some of the products of Uganda’s higher institutions of learning. She stressed the importance of an education system that empowers people with real business sense and the ability to think outside the box.

The conference heard from Juliet from Ndali Ltd (http://www. who are successfully supplying into Waitrose a UK based Supermarket chain. She stressed the importance of information, the importance of networking as a way of learning new ideas and acquiring business contacts. Juliet also talked about the need to train and empower out growers. She gave an example of the intensive training and knowledge transfer that they give their Vanilla out growers, which has enabled them to produce and supply some of the best Vanilla in the world. She emphasized quality as the key component in the supply chain to multi-national corporations. Samalie Namirembe of Nile Breweries Ltd, called on women to stop looking at themselves as victims but be inspired by other women who have succeeded in a male dominated world of business. She encouraged them to copy successful men as well as minimizing the mistakes that the men have already been made. Participants agreed that addressing the issue of treating male and female equality vs. equal abilities and opportunities is every body’s responsibility. That navigating through a system that is embedded in cultural and traditional reluctance toward equality will require every body’s input. The media needs to start putting more positive images of women and celebrate their success. Participants lauded the remarkable progress that has been achieved by affirmative action in enhancing women’s education. They also saluted the government’s lead in uplifting women as evidenced by cabinet appointments, minister of education, Health, Information, Trade and Industry, Finance, Energy etc. The audience agreed on the following are some of the key challenges facing women seeking to join the supply chain; Poor

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packaging, financial illiteracy, limited market penetration, limited knowledge transfer, lack of business skills, quality of product offering, lack of confidence and limited mentorship DR Maggie Kigozi recommended that women improve on their confidence if they are to cut it in business and be to join the supply chain to MNCs. Knowledge is power and so women need to take any chance they get to learn new skills. She encouraged women to stop waiting for information but, rather go it if they are cut it in the cutthroat business world. She called on women in business to know all about the sector they are in and or expect to go into. ”Go to conferences like this one, use the internet, network with other business people” in order to learn and your sector. Pheona Wall PR Manager Airtel Uganda, appealed to women leaders, policy makers all those in business that have time and space to help pass down knowledge and skills to others and help mentor them as the fastest way of bridging the gap and improve on skills. She counseled that while the education system is doing its bit it is important that other women give a hand in empowering fellow women. She called on women to stop asking for empowerment if they cannot empower each other. She stressed that time is right for women to stop looking at themselves as the weaker sex who need hand outs all the time. “Women will always have issues like child bearing but, this in no reason to deny the fact that women else were have taken it in their strides and have reached their potential” she said. Pheona also encouraged women to join social media as a means of acquiring information and keeping in the know through networking. She thanked Ida for giving women the opportunity to such a dialogue.


Olive ZaitunKigongo President, Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UNCCI) Challenges faced in getting women to supply to Multi-National Corporations Introduction A Multi-National Company is a corporation that is registered in more than one country or that has operations in more than one country. It is a large corporation, which both produces and sells goods or services in various countries. It can also be referred to as an international corporation. MNCs play an important role in the field of business world over. In Uganda, examples of MNCs include MTN, Barclays Bank, Citi Bank, Tullow Oil, Shell, Total, BAT, e.t.c. Women face numerous challenges in trying to do business with MNCs as enumerated below; The gender card Historically due to cultural, religious and tribal beliefs, women have been labeled as not being business orientated. Of course a number of women have challenged this clichĂŠ but others have come to take on this ideology. They have an inferior complex and low self-esteem surrounding operating businesses. This has led to some Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) to doubt the leadership and productivity of some women owned companies that seek to supply to them. This bias has proved a hindrance to having women owned businesses to supply into MNCs. Limited adherence to contract requirements Most women owned businesses are often SMEs and as such they encounter challenges with meeting the supplier requirements of large MNCs such as packaging, brand


consistency, product quality and standards etc. Most times MNCs come with their set standards that need to be met, but unfortunately few women owned businesses can meet them. Limited access and cost of credit In Sub-Saharan Africa, there is a chronic problem of access to business credit. Even when it is available, it is too expensive for an average businessperson. Moreover, lending institutions require collateral, which many women owned businesses do not have. This constrains their ability to finance their commercial activities and be able to supply to MNCs. Unfair competition: Not all local services providers are as indigenous at it seems on paper This is a very regular occurrence, a lot of companies are owned by foreign nationals who have recently acquired Ugandan passports. They incorporate companies which are later contracted by MNCs. Some people are using such kinds of avenues, thus an urgent need to clarify on what a Ugandan company is. For example, In Kenya, the definition of a Kenyan company is one, where 51% of the shares are owned by Kenyan or Kenyan nationals. In Angola, it’s 70% and they use the word indigenous; it means that person has to be indigenous in Angola. This safe guards local companiesfrom this trickery because foreigners can come, incorporate companies, purport to be Ugandans and leave Ugandans out. Lack of affiliation to sector associations A large number of women suppliers are not members of sector associations. These associations are at the forefront of ensuring the Promoting independence for African women

inclusion of Ugandan companies in a specific industry. For example, the petroleum industry has an association called the association of Uganda oil and gas service providers. This group brings together Ugandan suppliers who are involved in the oil sector. Because of being locked in their own silos, women miss out on the collective bargaining power, standards and contracts awareness, access to cheap credit, lobbying for better local investor treatment etc. For example under the association mentioned above, if an MNC requires a company to supply welders, the association will back one company, offer bid security and try to make sure that they render available support for their member to win the tender because as a group they have much more clout. A sole company can achieve little individually; there is always need for a much bigger, stronger entity. Informal nature of most women owned businesses Most women owned enterprises in Uganda are not formal in nature. In most cases, they are not legally registered, do not pay taxes, and do not keep clear records. Most MNCs however like to deal with formal companies who have proper books of accounts, trade licenses and a credible credit history. Many women owned companies do not have these and hence lose out on doing business with MNCs. Limited consideration for local content In some countries, there are provisions for MNCs to have special consideration for local companies in terms of contracts. Certain categories of supplies must be made by locally owned companies including those that are owned by women. This affirmative action enables SMEs owned by women to access business with MNCs. This system should be replicated here to give special consideration to locally owned companies to supply to MNCs.

Most women owned business are not exposed to information relating to available contracting opportunities in MNCs as well as on the procurement and disposal procedures used by MNCs. This has left many local supplying companies in a vacuum thus, miss out. Lack of relevant skills A lot of women lack relevant skills to engage in business with MNCs. The skills they lack include business management skills, resource mobilization skills, negotiation skills, ICT skills, marketing skills e.t.c. This is a big hindrance to doing business with MNCs. Proposed way forward from UNCCI •

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Women need to change their attitudes and be more outspoken, confident and proactive to operating businesses. Private sectors players like UNCCI should increase their lobbying for access to finance for women in business to bodies like the East African Development Bank through partnerships with women CSOs. There is need to avail and make accessibility to MNCs supply tender and contract information easy for women to take advantage of. Partnerships and joint ventures between Ugandan companies and other outside companies that are versed with standards and experience should be encouraged, such that after a certain period of time, Ugandan companies will have acquired standards and skills, and then take over. Sensitize women to have their businesses formalized. Encourage women owned business to form/join associations for collective bargaining Increase the ease of access to credit.

Lack of information Promoting independence for African women


Women in Business Panel Discussion This panel comprised of women who are successfully supplying into the Global supply chains. Their task was to answer a central question; Is there a business case for women as part of global supply chains. The shared their experience or the HOW WE DID IT.

Panelists including L-R Dr. Ruth Bahika-moderator , Maria OdidoDifonzo, FlaviaOmoding, Hope Kabirisi and Regina Nakayenga



Qn 1. Why don’t the local women have standards to produce and export their products?

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Limited distribution of the standards in rural areas Poor media publicity of the standards Lack of awareness about the standards

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Lack of government back up for local entrepreneurs. Government should extend the opportunities it gives to foreign investors to local entrepreneurs. Poor packaging of products. Farmers and suppliers should improve the quality of packaging of their products. Lack of market information. We need to know what the market needs in order to satisfy the market. You need to have the right information and the Internet and networking with the right people etc. We need to follow our dreams and be ready to sacrifice for the sake of those dreams. Don’t listen to people who discourage you. Fight for what you want. Suppliers should deliver their products “just in time, the right quality, right quantity, at the right destination.

Responded to by: Regina Nakayenga Qn 2. What are the gaps in the supply chain and who should bridge them? Responded to by; Hope Kabirisi

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Qn 3. Do you think women are ready to supply to MNCs? Responded to by; FlaviaOmoding

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Qn 4: Who are the businesswomen in the supply chain of MNCs? Responded to by Maria OdidoDifonzo


Yes, smallholder farmers are willing to supply to the MNCs however, they feel they are cheated out of this opportunity and looking to organize themselves in order to take advantage of such opportunities; Most of the smallholder farmers are aging and the young people are not available to take up their roles, this limits take up Supermarkets do not trust the smallholder farmers’ products. They do not want to sell their products and sometimes they do not pay for the products supplied by small scale farmers They lack storage facilities for their products. Access to transport and finance means that smallholder female farmers rely on middle men to take their products to market. This means that the women do not capitalise on the full value of their efforts Most of them lack skills of marketing and information about the marketing environment. They do not know the needs for the market. There is therefore a need for developing such skills amongst women including quality control. Women are good multitasking-although in the business perspective it is assumed that men are more successful than women. We need to look at the impact of the MNCs in our communities and then pool resources, this will enable us to supply successfully into global chains. Women should believe in themselves as view themselves as problem solvers and avoid being seen a problem to others Promoting independence for African women

Points of view from the Audience Q.1. Are any of you part of the Fair Trade initiative? Maria OdidoDifonzo: I am not part of the Fair Trade initiative because it is expensive to join and the value of being Fair Trade registered to a business like mine is minimal. I successfully access markets without being part of Fair Trade Hope Kabirisi: there’s a standard policy used by our Holland market, which is a quality trade and not fair trade because we think involvement in the fair trade initiative is not worthwhile for business.

Q.2. Are there particular barriers that affect women more than men in business? Maria OdidoDifonzo: women are the biggest barriers of women, in terms of the way they perceive themselves, direct themselves, this determines the

nature of their business ideas and consequently impacts business outcomes Hope Kabiriisi: a woman must be prepared to fight for what she wants to achieve. The biggest asset a business possesses is the quality of the workers/employees and thus one should train the workers in the quality of output expected from the business.

Q.3. How do you ensure that the women that work for you benefit from their wages. Hope Kabirisi: in rural areas in particular it is not uncommon for the husband to have an expectation that the wife will handover her wages to him. When this happens the wife has no control as to how that money is spent. The solution that we have come up with to this problem is we reached an agreement with Centenary Bank which ensures that all of our employees have access to

bank accounts at a local Branch into which their salary is paid. This has ensured that women have some control over their wages, given the time and effort involved in actually going to bank in order to access the money. But I can’t with certainty that the woman would not be coerced into withdrawing all the money and handing it over to the husband against her will. There is still a lot of work to do in this area.

Q.4. What steps should be taken to help women improve their production • Provide capacity building to the women on quality control measures. • Organize and support women groups. • Provision of medical services to women to improve their health to enable them work efficiently. • Encourage education of the girl child • Encourage savings/ financial discipline.

Pre-event interview with Dorothy Tuma Ida Horner (IH): So Dorothy, as you know you we are only days away from business meeting that will explore the challenges and opportunities that exist for women as part of the global supply chains. What are your thoughts about this top? Is there a business case to be made? Dorothy Tuma (DT): This is a timely meeting and I strongly believe that MNCs can provide good in roads for women to grow their businesses. But there are challenges for women in business. Some of the challenges have to do with

the nature of businesses that women engage in. Women are engaged in petty trade and run enterprises that are not registered, you have to ask when the connection between what MNCs are doing this type of enterprise, there is a disconnect, telecommunication companies like MTN are unlikely to have opportunities for women selling tomatoes as part of their supply chains. Women-run businesses tend to be agro-based and companies like SABMiller provide opportunities for women to supply the raw materials that

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SABMiller would require for its beer. Supermarkets also provide opportunities to become part of global supply chains, but even then women face challenges. A multinational would require the business to be registered, in addition women tend to farm on small scale and there will often be issues of quality and quantity. Women may not be able to meet the quantities required. So the challenges here are to do with whether your business is formal or informal and the size of the business itself, is it


large enough provide the quantities required. We do have to ask the questions, what is the real opportunities for women to supply global chains and what are the connections between women and these chains in the face of such challenges? Although agro-based supply chains provide opportunities for women, are women ready to supply these chains, have they got the quantities that supermarket require? What about companies like Coca-Cola? What percentage of their distributors are women? I don’t have the latest statistics, but I would guess not many. One needs a large financial outlay to service the contract and generally it is the men that can access such financial resources. The financial outlay is prohibitive for women. If you are a women in business and you have formalized your enterprise, the MNC will still need to know that you are financially secure and that you can service the contract and if not you are out. Then there are the standards that you have to meet as well as the quality. IH: What can be done to address some of the challenges, bridge the gap between MNC expectations and the women trying to be part of the MNC supply chains? Are these problems peculiar to female-owned enterprises? DT: Issues of quality and standards are not peculiar to women owned businesses. MNC need to consider investing in capacity building of their suppliers in order to build long-term relationships. IH: Is it the job of MNCs to build the capacity of suppliers? DT: It may not be their business but there is business case to be made. If MNCs did more with the small scale supplier, there is a lot that can be gained from that exercise e.g. the breweries would want to ensure that have good quality raw materials for their beer and this can easily be achieved by both parites working together. Toyota Uganda has a good program of working with its supply base to build the capacity of the small enterprises it outsources to. IH: I would like to take you back to the issue of the nature of female owned businesses


and that the fact there are mostly agrobased. Internationally, it is said that there is a technology revolution going on Africa. Are you aware of any programmes for women to engage with multinational telecom companies for instance? DT: Not really, if there are, they are keeping that a secret IH: OK, if I have understood you correctly, women need to UP their game, but is it easy to register a business in Uganda. DT: It isn’t difficult but there is a perception that it is. You need at least £37. People shy away from it because they think it is complicated and also that if they register, the tax man will be knocking on their door soon or later. IH: How do we get round these problems and whose job is it to fix them? DT: I chair the East African women in Business platform, which is a conglomeration of all women entrepreneur associations, we have three objectives: 1. Increase women participation in integration 2. Increase women petrifaction in regional trade 3. Help women move from informal to formal enterprises. We are going to do some work around the benefits of having a registered business. It has became very easy to register a business in Rwanda, where the process is online and your business is registered within 24 hours. In Uganda this process can take a month as we shuffle paper form one place to the next. It can be costly too if you do not know how to fill in the forms yourself, but there is help, other than that which is available from lawyers. The registration of businesses lies with Company Registrar. The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) should be involved in this too as they have a vested interested. IH: Does either institution run workshops on how to register a business? DT: Not really. URA runs workshops with respect to tax procedures. IH: What about you? When I first met you Promoting independence for African women

nearly four years ago, you had taken the decision to return from the US and set up shop, how have things worked out for you? DT: I am a consultant and mostly work with donors, development partners and NGOs. I also like working with women, to support their enterprises, as I believe if women are empowered, that solves a lot of problems. I face

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challenges of a different work ethic, sometimes people do not want to pay, there are inefficiencies in the system that one has to work with, but I manage and sometimes it is necessary to lower one’s expectations.


Talking Points by Hope Kabirisi Founder Perfect Roses 1. Who needs to bridge the gaps?


a) The woman herself: The NUMBER ONE person responsible for venture to succeed is one to believe I CAN DO IT . If you do not have that self belief and self motivation, no amount of input or help from anybody else will make you succeed! b) The Government: The government also needs to do something about supporting local entrepreneurs. At the moment the tendency is to give breaks to foreign investors only and yet we locals are here to stay while foreigners can always pack their bags and go back to wherever they came from if things don’t work out. The government does not only need to put the right policies in place but it also needs to make sure they are implemented/don’t just stay on paper!

2. What are the key challenges for African women seeking to supply multinational corporations? a) Inadequate funding: Most banks are not interested in start up businesses. When I was trying to start PERFECT ROSES, unlike most other rose growers who start with billions, I needed a salary loan of a mere 20,000,000/ (twenty million Uganda shillings) to add to my savings go make the 50,000,000/ fifty million) I had estimated would do me 1 acre. I went to my usual bankers, Standard Chartered Bank in Uganda, but they refused to give me the salary loan because they thought my idea was ‘mad’! But because I believed in my idea, I shopped around until I found a then new bank, DFCU, who agreed to give me the loan that I needed. I started with exporting one box of 1000 (one thousand) stems of roses only, which we used to transport by motor cycle/BodaBoda. 5 years later, I am exporting at least 250,000 (two hundred and fifty thousand) stems per month and still growing. If I had waited to have billions there would be no


b) Lack of information / Not bothering to find out what the MNCs expect: We need to do more research before we start. c) Poor Quality Most people (not only women in this country) do not know about the use of standards to deliver top quality merchandise to the Multinational Corporations. And yet, with the stiff competition in this global business village, it is the quality of your product that will ensure your product breaks into and stays in the market. d) Lack of resources / One needs to be innovative Instead of waiting to have billions to start my farm so that I could have ultra modern irrigation systems, a cold room, cold truck etc I started with a very old tiny water pump and engine and made sure I gave water more often. Instead of waiting for electricity we use diesel. I started on the 6acres of family land that we already had. With no money for a cold truck, I take my roses to the airport very early on the morning of exporting or sometimes the night before so that we make use of the cold room at the airport to bring the temperature down to what is required by the international market.So, woman need to stop Promoting independence for African women

waiting for millions so that they can do things the conventional way! e) Poor packaging Most Ugandans do not take the trouble to do proper packaging. And yet as they say, YOU NEVER GET A SECOND CHANCE TO MAKE A 1ST IMPRESSION/NSIBAMBI EDIBYA MUTERE! So MNC’s will not buy a product that is going to get passed over on their supermarket shelves! f) Late delivery, under-delivery or no delivery at all - or to the wrong destination! There is no point in delivering red roses to Holland on the 15th of Feb when the order was for 12th Feb because of Valentine’s day which is on Feb 14th. Someone who has 1000 guests for dinner will not find it funny if you deliver only 10kgs of your top quality beef instead of the 100kgs he ordered. Delivering the right quantity of top quality roses to London instead of Holland, even when delivered

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on the correct date is no good.So women (all exporters) must adhere to the JUST IN TIME, RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT QUALITY RIGHT QUANTITY principle if they are to survive! g) Discouragement from others / lack of self belief The first meeting that I attended as a flower export at the Ministry of Finance was an eye opener. I walked into this room full of men only and before I could even sit down, the Minister, a man, asked me what I was doing in his meeting of flower exporters! At that time there were 17 flower farms, all owned and ran by men! When I told the Minister I had started a new farm called PERFECT ROSES FARM LTD one member turned to me and asked me if I was mad to go in that field! I asked him if he was mad himself and without even blinking he told me ‘ME? I AM A MAN’! I stood my ground and sat down and attended the meeting and I am proud to say that 5yrs down the road my farm in one of the only 9 farms still standing and growing one painful STEM at a time.


Keynote Address by the Right Honorable

Mrs Amelia Kyambadde Minister for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives


he CEO Ethnic Supplies, Mrs. Ida Homer Program Coordinator Ethnic Supplies, Mrs. Freda Palm, Business Executives of MNCs, The CEO UWEAL, The Chair - UMA Executive Director, UNCCI Women Entrepreneurs’ Distinguished guests Ladies and gentlement. It is an honor to be here to share my experiences with you. First of all, I would like to thank the Ethnic Supplies UK, UWEAL and UMA for organising and coordinating this business symposium. In a special way, I wish to also congratulate all Ugandan women entrepreneurs for their positive contribution to improving socio-economic development in our country. The theme of this occasion is “Bridging the Gap for African Women in Business” and exploring opportunities for African women to join the supply chains of Multi National Corporations (MNCs). “Rural Women” To start off, I will put an emphasis on the “Rural Woman.” What


ever the country produces in the agricultural sector is entirely the effort of Rural Women. Women employment in the agricultural sector accounts for 58% of the 7.3 million workers (National Employment Policy 2011). Rural women in Uganda have a critical role in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty. They spend much of their time in the fields toiling toproduce food for household and income generation. A significant number of rural women are members of informal groups whereas others subscribe to Cooperative Societies through which they empower themselves socially and economically. Thus, besides contributing to food security, they make meaningful financial contributions to the wellbeing of their families. Despite the fact that a good percentage of Ugandan women have managed to upgrade in all sectors of the economy, the rural woman has lagged behind. They have poor access to and control of land, lack information on markets, lack access to maternal health, HIV/AIDs, etc.

It was through my personal ambition to uplift the standards of living of the people that i developed a Community Based Organisation called Twezimbe Development Association (TDA). TDA has aspired to meet the basic needs of the people in North Mawokota in order to trigger socio-economic development. The focus has been on improving household incomes, life expectancy, education, and reducing maternal and infant mortality. TDA has also rehabilitated health centers at three sub-counties to enable women access maternal health services. The projects have also supplied farm inputs and implements to farmers. Statistics on women Looking at the current statistics, the African population is estimated at 1.037.694.509 persons. (World Population stats, 2011). Where by the female composition in Africa is at 519.058.499 persons, which is greater than our male counterparts. Whereas Uganda’s population is estimated at 34million people, female composition is attributed at 17.244.861 million people (51.2%). (UBOS).

Promoting independence for African women

Statistically data on women is scattered, however, a study on Gender responsiveness in Uganda, indicates that women constitute 51.2% of Uganda’s population, 88.2 % are self employed or unpaid family workers. Women own 40% of micro and small enterprises, of which most of them are informal. Majority of the women are engaged in the agricultural sector which employs 72% of women. The questions we need to ask ourselves today are; 1. How do we position Uganda women entrepreneurs to tap into the supply chains of MNCs? 2. Which MNCs are we targeting? Which sectors can participate, where do we have comparative advantage? 3. What are the existing challenges and what can be done to address them? MNCs offer diverse opportunities for key players in their supply chains. They are supposed to integrate corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies within these supply chains. MNCs are required to comply with domestic laws, ethical standards, and international norms. This theory aims to achieve positive impacts on the environment, consumers, employees, and the communities in general. In-terms of opportunities and benefits; •

MNCs offer commercial opportunities for small scale and informal sector players their by boosting their profits.

The MNCs supply chain is ‘predictable’ and sustainable.

If women entrepreneurs tap into this network, they can ably develop their production capacities, access contractual production models that will enhance low risks and promote higher gains. Currently in Uganda, Nile Breweries is providing training and capacity building programmes to women suppliers of agricultural in-puts. These women are at the moment supply sorghum, maize and barley. 4

International MNCs that have supported women: Wal-Mart’s On Sept. 14, 2011, Walmart announced a major global initiative to help empower women economically across its supply chain. The specific goals of this initiative are to open markets for womenowned businesses and increase training and career opportunities for women on farms and in factories. They are providing support to China, India, Bangladesh, Central America, and Brazil. Starbucks: Research conducted by Starbucks in 2008 showed that their consumers were interested in the ethical conditions under which the company’s promotional goods were produced. In response, the company launched pilot initiatives to source two merchandise lines (basket charms and soft toys) from women’s producer groups in Kenya and Rwanda. These initiatives were appreciated by

Promoting independence for African women

the press and consumers, and the company is now exploring how they might transfer this model to other product lines and countries. Challenges Women face in supplying to MNCs Unformalized businesses As we all know, women still comprise of the majority of entrepreneurs’ in the informal micro and small enterprise economy- the fastest growing job creation sector of Africa. Uganda’s informal trade with her neighbours was estimated at just under US$777 million, which was 58% of the country’s formal sector exports for the same year. (UBOS 2007) A significant percentage of women are involved in street and roadside trade within the rural and urban settings. These women are forced on street due to social-cultural and economic reasons. Many of them are young girls who have dropped out of school and have to support their families. The challenge of registering a business is attributed to the cost of formalization, which involves various agencies such as URSB, KCCA, MOLG, URA, etc. The procedure is lengthy and in- cumbersome. Standards As an agricultural dependent economy, Uganda seeks to expand and further diversify its agricultural potential particularly in food and other agricultural exports. However the private sector (including women), who are the major drivers of the current economic growth (the engine of growth) continue to increasingly encounter more stringent regulations and private


standards requirements, not only in relation to food safety and plant & animal health and life, but also in other commodities. Supply side constrains (Sustainability) Effective supply chain management is all about delivering the right product in the right quantity and in the right condition with the right documentation to the right place at the right time at the right price. The challenge is that women sometimes fail to sustain the volumes as required by the Buyer. Other challenges: Poor packaging / lack of innovation & branding, Distrust, Financial illiteracy, and lack of business development skills WAY FORWARD

However, some of the products were being placed right at the end of the shelf thereby being invisible to consumers. The reason given was that some of the products were poorly packaged and therefore better placed at the bottom of the shelf. It was also noted that some suppliers of Ugandan products do not meet supply requirements such as; barcodes, certification & quality marks, expiry dates labels, registered businesses, among others. Business Registration Uganda women should be ready to position themselves strategically. This will require formalising their business ventures and meeting all the business and licensing requirements in the domestic and the global supply chains.

Standards Standards have increasingly become crucial elements in facilitating transactions and trade within and between countries. Standards and technical regulations stipulate parameters that products must meet in order for such products to be sold in certain markets, as well as adding to constraints that determine what can orcannot be traded in certain markets and define the procedures that must be followed for exchange of goods and services to take place. The Government of Uganda, through the MTIC strongly believes that getting the required standards right can greatly improve competitiveness of Uganda’s major traditional and non-traditional exports. Last year the Ministry developed and passed the National standards and quality policy which provides the overall Government framework on standards. The implementation modalities require the Ministry working closely with Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) and the Ministry of Agriculture; Animal Industries & Fisheries (MAAIF) to ensure that standards are adhered. to with a view of enhancing competitiveness of Ugandan products.

The Ministry is committed to continuous dialogue with relevant agencies (URA, URSB, KCCA, and MOLG) to ensure that the business community acquires service delivery efficiently and effectively. Encourage Contract Farming It is found that the MNCs deal with relatively large producers; their contracts are biased against farmer groups. Contracting leads to higher farm incomes and labour employment, especially for women. Therefore Women should also be encouraged to take up leadership posts in contract farming schemes and producer groups. Sustainable Business Models Uganda women entrepreneurs’ and Small businesses owners need to develop sustainable business models to succeed and partner with large companies.Efforts should focus on improving production and quality in order to improve household incomes. Productivity will be enhanced if women have access to training opportunities, and accessibility to land ownership.

Supermarket Survey I wish to share with you about findings of a supermarket survey undertaken by the MTIC. The purpose was to ascertain whether Ugandan products were given equal shelf space and the outcome indicated that 30% of local produce was able to penetrate the supermarket supply chains of Uganda.


Financial Literacy, Business Development Skills For any person to engage in any business transaction there is need to have the basic business skills upfront. These may include among others, book-keeping, preparing a balance sheet, negotiation skills, financial and banking skills, logistics, etc. The Ministry is working with Promoting independence for African women

several Government and private agencies to support initiatives that promote entrepreneurship in schools and institutes of higher learning. More efforts are being undertaken by women associations and others agencies to train women in business. These agencies providing this support - UWEAL, Techno Serve, Enterprise Uganda, Uganda Investment Authority etc. Innovations & creativity As consumer tastes and preferences differ so do their desire for new and better brands. Suppliers in MNCs should be creative and innovative to meet new customer demands for high quality goods and services. Formation of Women Groups, Networking Encourage formation of women to form groups, such as producer groups, cooperatives, among others; with a view of exchanging and sharing beneficial information. Uganda women Suppliers

should partner with one another to share best practices that make them more competitive and promote business development with existing and prospective customers. As I conclude, I wish to appeal to all women present today, to continue being apart of the good course in achieving national social and economic development, which is a corner stone to attaining MDGs. Once again I would like to thank all the organisers of this business forum. I leave you with an inspirational quote; Mary Kay Ash Founder Mary Kay Cosmetics once said “Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as for as your mind lets you. What you believe remember, you can achieve”. THANK YOU FOR LISTENING

Feedback Nanfuka Mary Immaculate: Thanks for organizing the event. The speakers were very good. l learnt a lot. The only challenge l observed was time management i.e. starting time affected some of us who kept time, controlling the speakers in the Women in business panel (Challenges in accessing MNCs supply Chain) was not good enough, i.e. were not given equal time to express themselves which l think was bad. Otherwise it was a wonderful event and l will be happy if invited again when it takes place next time.

Nellie Sali: Thank you very much for inviting me for the workshop. It was time well spent because I got to network with more than three peopleand I was very happy to network with AkampaTanbull because I have always wanted

to work with youths we are going to see how we can work together.

Fiona Batwala: The workshop was great. On my part the workshop is a source for information where I am informed of business opportunities that are more practical with less paper work. For instance, businesswomen want to provide services and products to industries but the requirements are too many.I am part of the UWEAL Jinja chapter known as NIWE and I share business opportunities with them but as Regina pointed out, people want quick money and that can never happen without hurdles to jump.But overall, workshop was good.

GudulaNaigaBasaza: Thank you for the educative networking event you organized

Promoting independence for African women

for Ugandan women.

TMSRuge: Well done Ida! The event should actually become a series here in Kampala, so that women in business here have a forum to discuss, plan, and design their roles in the supply chain in the country.

Dr Maggie Kigozi: It was a productive meeting. The businesswomen took away a positive ‘I can do it’ feel. Thank you for the organisation

Pheona Wall: Ida we were honoured to stand with you! I agree with Teddy on continuity.

Stella Ddumba: It was a pleasure working with you.Great networking. The meeting went very well. Let us keep the momentum, and yes,


this should be an annual event.

Dorothy Tuma: Congratulations Ida and thanks for the opportunity. It was a pleasure to participate, learn and network. This should however not be one of those “drive-bys.” I hope it is just the beginning.

Sumin Namaganda: It was a great event. I loved every bit, learnt a lot from it and truly I am currently looking at the world differently.

Maria Odido: It was a pleasure to have participated in the workshop. It was great to have been a part of

it. Thank you for the opportunity to meet new and old friends, and to learn and impart new things.

Flavia Amoding: I greatly appreciate the fact that I was part of this event. I too learnt a lot and will surely put in action what I learned.I believe setting up a similar forum here will help us continue with spirit of fighting poverty.

Akampa Tanbull: Many thanks for appreciating and for the opportunity to YAFU to be part of Saturday’s event, it was so interactive and I hope the 5 Girls made networks of value and will maintain

them and had interactive fun to share and learn as well. Working with you was so amazing and we are looking forward to working together even on other initiatives in the due course, any time, any day, please do not hesitate to reach us to provide our packages to you and even to anybody else on your network. Contact details Ida Horner +44 7780703869 Freda Palm Muyambo +44 7879854010

Special thanks for the additional reporting by Vivian YOUTH ADVOCACY FOUNDATION UGANDA –YAFUMOB: +256 782 621551. TEL: +256 705 211 273.E-mail In her own words: My name is Vivian Namazzi, a youth advocate from the Youth Advocacy Foundation Uganda (YAFU). I was privileged to participate in the “Bridging the Gap for African Women in Business” workshop held on 2 March 2013 at Lugogo Conference Hall. I attended both the sessions; the Morning session on Social Media and the afternoon session organized by “Let Them Help Themselves out of Poverty”. I learnt a lot about social media including LinkedIn and Twitter which social media interventions I rarely used. I was thus empowered on how to use them. I now know how to engage with other people in my circles using these specific social media. In the afternoon session, I volunteered to report on the workshop which report I submitted to “Let Them Help Themselves Out of Poverty” on behalf of YAFU. The team from YAFU volunteered to combine efforts with the other stakeholders to make the event a success. I learnt a lot from the different successful Women in the business industry as they shared their experiences, challenges and success stories e.g.Dr. Maggie Kigozi, Hope Kabirisi and many others. I was also privileged to meet in person and share with powerful Women like Hon. Amelia Kyambadde. I am so grateful that I and my friends from YAFU were invited to participate in this workshop and I pray that all the people involved keep up the spirit in empowering the underprivileged Women and fellow Girls in both the rural and urban areas. It starts with you and me. I will forever live; “Together We Can”


Promoting independence for African women

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International Women's Day 2013 Summary Report  

Bridging The Gap for African Women in Business Are African women in business ready to join Multinational Supply Chains

International Women's Day 2013 Summary Report  

Bridging The Gap for African Women in Business Are African women in business ready to join Multinational Supply Chains

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