The 2nd Kampala Private Equity & Venture Capital ConferenceBy Uganda Investment Authority
Business people, Entrepreneurs and Private Equity firms attended the second Private Equity and Venture Capital Conference at Serena hotel on 21st June 2016 under the theme “Enhancing the growth of SMEs through alternative financing.” Eng. Dr. Frank Sebbowa welcomed the stakeholders and highlighted the growing importance of alternative financing other than banks.
Eng. Tobias Karekaho, UIA’s Board Chairman bequeathed a brief background of the formation of UIA SME Division in 2009 and one of its major roles stated was to identify alternative sources of finance and link SMEs to financial sources. He keenly noted that Ugandans are highly entrepreneurial people and that SMEs are the only missing middle.
He appreciated the great opportunity unveiled for SMEs to take advantage of the private equity and venture capitalist firms and further informed that SMEs can be facilitated mainly in two ways i.e. by widening their market and provision of easy, cheap and affordable capital.
Mr. Lawrence Kiiza, Director Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development presided over the event on behalf of the Hon. Prime Minister. He zeroed on SMEs and identified them as a critical sect to the development of the economy (90% of working population employed by SMEs while 60% of GDP is from SMEs as well)He showed gratitude towards UIA and the organizing partners for their effort on linking SMEs to Private equity firms through the conference.
“Government supports such Private Equity conferences because they benefit the SMEs in a number of ways through providing cheaper financing options, better management skills as well as access to large markets.” He said.
Keynote speaker Prof. Nuwagaba defined Private equity as a source of investment capital from high net worth individuals and institutions for the purpose of investing and acquiring equity ownership in companies. He stated that the main importance of private equity firms is to provide cheaper affordable sources of finance, generation of high returns and active involvement of financiers/ experienced professionals in the business.
He however noted that in order to develop internally; Ugandans must also start saving more and invest. That way, they will create wealth which in turn would boost the country’s development.
Various equity firm representatives asserted that Private Equity and Venture Capital has continued to grow in Uganda and East Africa as a whole. Dealing with SMEs across countries is not any different although they have little experience in dealing with outside capital and yet opening up to outside capital can accelerate growth of the business.