By Sabir Musa
Many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) including media remain unregistered, a key prerequisite for running business in the country, an issue they relate to limited resources and unclear guidelines on registration.
The Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA), a nonprofit making body that brings together Micro, Small and Medium Industries (MSMI’s) together with the Media Challenge Initiative (MCI), a youth-driven non-profit media organisation, that looks at building the next generation of Journalists in Africa organized a 2-days training on Content Development and Raising Capital for media SMEs.
Production Manager at Uganda National Cultural Centre, Mr Andrew Ssebagala facilitating on day one of the workshop held at the MCI Hub in Kabalagala, Kampala to discuss development of product or content by the media organisations to raise funding said many of these challenges can be addressed by raising funds through writing fundable proposals.
“The absence of strategic planning, lack of resources and poor market research are some of the challenges organizations face in their operations” he said.
He said, company registration with relevant authorities, being tax compliant and having a team to run activities will make funders trust them with projects.
Jinja City based Spot Magazine Proprietor, Noah Birumi attributes delay in registration of the organizations to lack of resources, as the entities are new without external funding and poor market base.
However, Caleb Okereke from Minority Africa who facilitated the session for Raising Capital & Pitching stories advised the participants to draft their ideas for funding and identify potential funders with proper knowledge.
He tipped SME Media owners and representatives to source funders through the right channels like official websites and social media platforms.
The training attracted 15 participants from different regions of the country, representing media organisations that are mainly newly established, many of which have not been registered as a requirement by law in the country to legally operate as well as tax compliance.
Media Challenge Initiative Chief executive officer, Mr Abaas Mpindi challenged participants to put knowledge gained from the 2-days workshop in practice as it is important to develop the organizations.
In a report released on the USSIA official website, there are more than 5,000 registered Micro, Small and Medium Industries in the country.
Uganda is one of the countries in East Africa with a fast growing number of Small and Medium Enterprises. Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), the county’s tax body in 2019, announced 1,000 top tax paying Small and Medium Enterprises saying that they contribute 25% to the country’s total GDP.
The list of 1000 announced by URA left out thousands of others that were unable to comply with tax, as most of them, in different sectors, struggle to raise money, and lack skills, Mr Ssebagala notes.