According to research conducted by a team from the College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), Makerere University and partners, entrepreneurs with secondary education were more likely (69%) to start new businesses after skilling compared to those with either primary or post-secondary education. Additionally, 70% of female entrepreneurs started one business after attending a skilling programme compared to 30% of their male counterparts. The findings were revealed at a research dissemination event held on Friday 11th December 2020 at CoBAMS and hosted live on ZOOM.
The research team led by Dr. Anthony Tibaingana was also made up of Dr. Faisal Buyinza, Mr. Emmanuel Ssemuyaga and Ms. Catherine Tumusiime from CoBAMS. Mr. Ronnie Mulongo from the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) and Ms. Rita Atukwasa from the Institute for Social Transformation (IST) completed the team. The research which focused on exploring “The Impact of Skilling the Youth and Women in Household Enterprise Start-Up and Performance in Uganda” was funded by the Government of Uganda under the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF).
The data that informed these findings was collected by the research team through surveys and face-to-face interviews in the districts of Kampala, Mukono and Wakiso where skilling Uganda programmes under PSFU, Enterprise Uganda, Uganda Industrial Research Institute and The Africa Institute for Strategic Animal Resource Services and Development (AFRISA) are implemented. The study that began in December 2019 successfully concluded in August 2020 despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting Government guidelines that imposed a lock down and other mitigation measures.
The study objectives were to; identify the methods used in transferring skills, evaluate the contribution of skilling to the start-up of businesses, examine how the training is influencing the performance of existing businesses and examine the strategic interventions on start-ups and performance. Anchored on National Development Plan III (NDP III)’s goal “To Increase Average Household Incomes and Improve the Quality of Life of Ugandans”, the study was also conducted in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1-No Poverty, 8-Decent Work and Economic Growth and 9-Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.
Presenting some of the findings on selected determinants of start-up, Dr. Tibaingana shared that the per annum average profit for start-ups in the study areas was approximately UGX 276,000 with a maximum of UGX 8 Million reported. “This tells us that much as they are small, these start-ups are making some degree of profit and if they are well supported, they can become bigger and support the Government in its Vision 2040.”
Regarding proprietorship, the results showed that while the majority of businesses (61%) were solely owned, only a dismal number (1%) were registered as Private Limited Companies while partnerships accounted for 29%. The average age of business owners was 32.6 years while the maximum reported age was 72 years.
On a rather good note for the Government and implementing agencies, 92% of respondents attributed the source of their business ideas to the skilling programmes. Buoyed by this finding, Dr. Tibaingana said, “The Government needs to invest more money into skilling because it is helping us to get more business ideas.”
Delving deeper into the skills acquired during training by education level, the findings revealed that entrepreneurs with secondary dominated the skills acquisition. 59% of them acquired business creation skills, 58% acquired production skills, 51% marketing skills and 50% business management skills. Only 14%, 21%, 17% and 25% of entrepreneurs with primary education acquired the same skills respectively. The skill type reported as most acquired by those with post-secondary education was marketing at 32% while the least acquired was production at 21%.
Skilling methods play an important role in any learning endeavour. The stakes are even higher in an era where start-up capital is hard to find; the methods must guarantee knowledge acquisition and retention if start-ups are to make it past their second year of existence. Thankfully, role play was the most used method at 56% followed by the lecture at 27% and practical at 17%.
At the end of the dissemination, the research team made some policy recommendations. These included;
- Government measures aimed at easing business registration, access to external start-up capital and business training should be encouraged to promote investment in enterprises that are starting up.
- Skilling centres should be spread throughout the country so that entrepreneurs in rural areas can also benefit.
- Training syllabus should be developed to accommodate a calibrated training for all.
- Training materials should be made available to aid the practical method which is critical in skilling
- Business partnerships and limited companies should be encouraged to enhance big start-up businesses as potential sources of gainful employment and enterprise performance.
On behalf of the Principal Dr. Eria Hisali, the Deputy Principal CoBAMS, Dr. Bruno Yawe thanked Dr. Tibaingana, Dr. Buyinza and the research team for conducting the study on an important aspect of Uganda’s education sector. He equally thanked Mak-RIF for sponsoring the study and in a special way thanked Dr. Godfrey Akileng, the Dean School of Business, CoBAMS for providing the leadership that has enabled research to thrive.
Representing Mak-RIF, Dr. John Mutenyo a Member of the Grants Management Committee (GMC) commended Prof. William Bazeyo for his efforts in ensuring that the University secured funding from the Government to specifically support research and innovations. He equally appealed to Dr. Tibaingana and the research team to write more proposals when the next call is advertised.