Community, Diaspora and Immigration

International Women’s Day 2013 Bridging the Gap for African Women in Business Kampala, Uganda

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On 2 March 2013 Business Executives and women business owners came  together with experts from the business world and civil society at the Uganda Manufacturers' Association Conference hall in Kampala, Uganda (Lugogo) to examine the supply chains of Multinational Companies (MNCs).

Titled Bridging the Gap for African Women in Business, the meeting sought to answer the question:

 

Is there a business case for women as part of the supply chains for MNCs? 

 

The meeting explored the opportunities that exist for womenin business within MNC supply chains as customers, employees, suppliers and distributors of goods.

 

The meeting comprised of two separate panels, the first panel was modulated by TMS Ruge of Project Diaspora and comprised of

 

  1. Dr. Maggie Kigozi- Director, Crown Beverages
  2. Olive Kigongo- President, Uganda Chamber of Commerce and Managing Director, Amagara Skin Care
  3. Dorothy Tuma – Consultant, DMT Consultants Ltd
  4. SamalieNamirembe- Human Resources Manager Nile Breweries 

 

This panel explored of Business Executives explored the challenges and opportunities that exist within the supply chains of Multinational Corporations (MNCs). What was apparent, was the issue of standards, i.e. those women seeking to become part of these global chains have to meet strict standards, however that these standards are not always clear. Moreover that those women seeking to become part of these chains do not take the time to engage with MNCs so that they can learn about what it takes to supply MNCs. A Key challenge for MNCs seeking to work with women business owners is that by nature female owned businesses within Uganda are very small and informal. The advice given to women is “join forces and formalizes your enterprise in order to successfully supply these global chains

 

The second panel was modulated by Dr. Ruth Bahika of Grace Villa and comprised of

 

  1. Maria OdidoDifonzo – Chief Executive Officer, Bee Natural Uganda Ltd
  2. FlaviaOmoding –Programme Coordinator –Uganda Workers Education Association
  3. Hope Kabirisi – Managing Director, Perfect Roses Farm Ltd
  4. ReginaNakayenga Founder, Rena Beverages

 

The task for these panelists was to share their experiences with the audience and had to answer the question, how did you do it?  This panel also explored the following questions

 

  • Are there particular barriers faced by women more than men; 
  • Who needs to bridge the gap for women?
  • Are there  actions that business, others can take to overcome these barriers?

 

 

These incredibly successful women, were inspiring and told tales of fighting the system to get what they want and refused to be defined by their gender nor take NO for answer. The key message here was BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND YOUR ABILITIES. Business is not easy they told delegates but if you want it badly enough nothing will stop you.

 

 Ida Horner of Ethnic Supplies Ltd, and the Trustees of Let Them Help Themselves Out Of Poverty, a Community Development and UK registered Charity convened the meeting which was sponsored by Business Fights Poverty, Uganda Manufacturer’s Association, SABMiller/Nile Breweries Ltd. The meeting was part of a collaborative effort by Center for African Studies at SOAS, Africa on The Blog, Ugandan business networks to rally business energy and expertise around inclusive business models.

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