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CoBAMS sets up forum to coordinate academia, innovators & entrepreneurs

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The College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) has set up a forum to facilitate partnerships and transfer of assistance from academia to small and middle-sized innovators and entrepreneurs. The forum was established at the first-ever Entrepreneurs’ Business Breakfast Meeting held in Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University on December 7, 2022.

The breakfast meeting was organised by the CoBAMS-based Makerere University Entrepreneurship and Outreach Centre, under the theme, ‘Makerere University’s role in entrepreneurship ecosystem’ The meeting was attended by government agencies, Makerere University faculty and students and a wide array of entrepreneurs in the private sector.

The forum was one of the two engagement platforms agreed upon in the meeting. Giving a wrap-up of the meeting’s discussions and resolutions, the college Principal Prof. Eria Hisali said, “We have agreed to set up two platforms: this one of academics with entrepreneurs and private sector practitioners, and the other for policymakers where we academics will engage with government ministries and agencies. The latter will be known as a policy laboratory. As for the former, the committee of volunteers we have set up today will come up with an appropriate name.”

A committee of ten volunteers was formed. They include;

  1. Mr. John Kakungulu Walugembe, the executive director of Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises Uganda
  2. Grace Nanyonga Mugisha, Grana Fish Supplies Ltd
  3. Kazigati B.L.F, NAADS secretariat
  4. Seregio Naturinda, Swiftia Devt ltd
  5. Sajjabi Bamuzala Robert, Uwezo Microfinance
  6. Nabuuma Teddy, Twin Cakery
  7. Pamela Nalukwago Ntalo, Pamville Schools
  8. Ssekimpi Philip Kakembo, Uganda Tailors Association
  9. Alitubera Martha
  10. Ssenogo Brian Kimuli
Dr. Sarah Bimbona the head of the Entrepreneurship centre.
Dr. Sarah Bimbona the head of the Entrepreneurship centre.

The committee will work with a secretariat to be headed by Dr. Sarah Bimbona, the director of the Makerere University Entrepreneurship and Outreach Centre (MakEOC). It was mandated to pursue the recommendations of the first Entrepreneurs’ Business Breakfast Meeting and plan for future activities which include organizing the second such meeting in June 2023.

It was further resolved that to start with, the forum should convene twice a year, but the committee should meet quite often and keep updating the forum members. The next meeting of the forum should have more numbers in attendance, with more entrepreneurs giving personal testimonies of assistance got from Makerere University.

VACATING COMFORT ZONES

Prof. Hisali was pleased to listen to requests for more practical interaction between academics and entrepreneurs and innovators in the practical economy. “I am happy that our guests are challenging us to get out of our comfort zones as academicians. As a college, we have the knowledge and the manpower – faculty and students – which we can dip into the ecosystem of business and innovation. We are well placed to provide advisory services in areas of funding, taxation and policies, among others,” Prof. Hisali affirmed.

The Principal CoBAMS, Prof. Eria Hisali addressing the guests.
The Principal CoBAMS, Prof. Eria Hisali addressing the guests.

He disclosed that the college works with several stakeholders such as Uganda Revenue Authority, Uganda Registration Services Bureau, women traders in Kampala markets and other communities. This, in addition to designing more practical and relevant academic programmes

Prof. Hisali said the conversation on how the university should guide potential entrepreneurs and investors, what type of skills should be given to students and how to build and sustain a solid bridge among academia, industry, finance and business should continue.

The Head, Department of Marketing and Management, Dr. Peter Turyakira, emphasized that the Makerere University of today is no longer the ivory tower of the past. “We recognize that we are in the knowledge era; so, we share the knowledge we create through publications and conferences; we mentor students through expos and hubs, such that many of them leave campus when they are already employers or employed.”

KEYNOTE SPEAKER JOHN WALUGEMBE

Mr. John Kakungulu Walugembe, the executive director of the 734,000-business-member Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises Uganda, was the keynote speaker. Mr. Walugembe underscored the central role of small and medium enterprises and businesses in the development of countries.

Mr. John Kakungulu Walugembe, Executive Director of the Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises Uganda the keynote speaker.
Mr. John Kakungulu Walugembe, Executive Director of the Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises Uganda the keynote speaker.

“There is a lot of confusion and lack of exposure in this country. No country has ever developed on the basis of big companies or big investors. It is small and medium-sized enterprises that have built economies in developed countries.” He added that no country can ignore the textile and apparels sector, adding that this sector alone would employ all the youth flocking the Middle East seeking employment.

Mr. Walugembe decried the culture of entrepreneurs working in isolation from one another and the alarming lack of soft skills especially among the youth who dream of becoming rich without sweating. “There are many jobs in this country, but it is very difficult to find honest people,” he lamented.

He also criticized banks in Uganda for concentrating on buying treasury bills and bonds rather than loaning money to businesses, and the tax authority which prefers closing distressed businesses rather than help them survive.

Mr. Walugembe outlined a number of interventions Makerere can make to improve the situation in the ecosystem. He advised Makerere to have a venture fund and raise funds for investment; intellectual property; set up student-led enterprises; and avoid training people for jobs that are dying or no longer exist, among others.

DESIGN LABS, PUBLIC INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT CENTRE

Dr. Cathy Mbidde, the manager at Makerere University Innovation Hub, said the hub had embarked on the task of retrieving research documents archived in the library and translating them into usable innovations and products. She disclosed that with UNDP support, Makerere University is going to set up nine design labs for making machines and equipment, among other uses.

Participants contribute to the discussion during the breakfast meeting.
Participants contribute to the discussion during the breakfast meeting.

Prof. Hisali reported that government has given money to the college to set up a Centre of Public Investment Management. He said the centre has started supporting the implementation of many government initiatives and the improvement of the management performance of Saccos and SMEs. It would also absorb many of the students who would give free service as part of their training.

Non-Makerere participants put forward a number of challenges they face and pieces of advice on how the university should collaborate with them going forward. For example, they requested the university to help them gain exposure through foreign visits, avail advisory databases that can provide information and guidance on what kind of business one can start with which amount of capital or skills.

Participants also asked the university to train their students in soft skills, character, morality and discipline. Lack of self-confidence and a persevering spirit and shortage of locally made machines and equipment were pointed out as major obstacles to growth and survival of many businesses.

Business & Management

2nd Cohort: Training on Investment Appraisal & Risk Analysis starts

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The Principal CoBAMS, Prof. Eria Hisali (6th R) with trainers and participants at the launch of the PIM CoE Cohort 2 two-week training in Investment Appraisal and Risk Analysis on 30th January 2023 in Jinja.

The Public Investment Management (PIM) Centre of Excellence, at the College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), on January 30, 2023 resumed training of its second cohort. The participants will undergo two-weeks training in Investment Appraisal and Risk Analysis in Jinja.

Speaking at the start of the training, Prof. Eria Hisali, the Principal of CoBAMS, appreciated the participants for taking off time to undertake the course. He also appreciated the government through the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MOFPED) for the continued financial support to the centre’s activities.

The government has given funding to the tune of UShs3.5 billion to the training centre to provide PIM capacity building to cover the whole government project management cycle.

The Manager, Public Investment Management (PIM) Centre of Excellence Dr. Willy Kagarura conducts one of the training sessions.
The Manager, Public Investment Management (PIM) Centre of Excellence Dr. Willy Kagarura conducts one of the training sessions.

Prof. Hisali informed the trainees, drawn from different government agencies, that the training will equip them with practical skills applicable to their jobs. “Many projects are being funded by development agencies and banks but many people don’t have the skills to manage these projects,” Prof. Hisali said.

This, the Principal said is the gap that the centre wants to bridge. The Center of Excellence will work closely with the MoFPED as well as other MDAs that handle Public Investments with the main goal of increasing Returns on Investments by maximizing efficiency as well as effectiveness in the whole project cycle through improved capacity building at all stages.

The training is conducted by trainers from Cambridge Resources International, MoFPED and Makerere University.

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Business & Management

Prof. Bbaale hands over Deanship to Prof. Okumu

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Front Row: Deputy Principal CoBAMS-Prof. Bruno Yawe (2nd L), Prof. Edward Bbaale (3rd L) and Prof. Ibrahim Okumu Mike (4th L) with staff from CoBAMS, the Human Resources Directorate and Internal Audit at the handover ceremony on 16th January 2023 at Makerere University.

Prof. Edward Bbaale on January 16, 2023 handed over Deanship of the School of Economics to Prof. Ibrahim Okumu Mike. This follows Prof. Bbaale’s appointment as the Director of the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT). The handover was witnessed by members of staff, the College Human Resources Officer, a representative from the Internal Audit Directorate and the Deputy Principal, College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS).

While handing over, Prof. Bbaale thanked the members of staff for the support offered to him during his tenure of 8 years. He especially thanked the Heads of Department, the internship and examination coordinators for the support rendered to him. Over the last 8 years, the school has registered several achievements which include growth in enrollment, improvement in teaching and learning, research and publications as well as building partnerships and collaborations.

Prof. Edward Bbaale (L) hands over the Deanship to Prof. Ibrahim Okumu Mike (R).
Prof. Edward Bbaale (L) hands over the Deanship to Prof. Ibrahim Okumu Mike (R).

The school has since installed white boards in all classes to replace the traditional chalk boards. The school also procured some ICT equipment for its staff. The school successfully reviewed all its programs and also introduced two new graduate programs; MSc Investment and Economic Modelling and Msc. Development Economics. The school, as noted by the outgoing Dean has maintained a good culture of research and publications.

The outgoing Dean pointed out some challenges that need to be addressed. These include limited lecture and office space, limited finances, limited number of professors, the low propensity of staff to conduct graduate teaching, non-functional computer laboratories, increased examination malpractice among students and the low completion rates especially among graduate students. “Addressing these challenges requires concerted efforts from all of us academic, administrative and support staff,” Prof. Bbaale said.

Prof. Bruno Yawe (2nd L) and a representative from the Internal Audit Directorate (R) witness as Prof. Edward Bbaale (L) hands over the Deanship to Prof. Ibrahim Okumu Mike (2nd R).
Prof. Bruno Yawe (2nd L) and a representative from the Internal Audit Directorate (R) witness as Prof. Edward Bbaale (L) hands over the Deanship to Prof. Ibrahim Okumu Mike (2nd R).

In his acceptance speech, Prof. Okumu said he hopes to enhance the research output of the school. “The zeal to deliver is there,” he emphasized. He shared his plans for the school which included building international relationships in an effort to start international reviews of Masters and PhD thesis, improving web presence of all staff members, grow the numbers of collaborations and starting of a mentorship program for graduate students.

The Deputy Principal, Prof. Bruno Yawe, congratulated both professors upon their new appointments and wished them good service to the university. He pledged management’s support to the new Dean as well as Prof. Bbaale.

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Business & Management

HEED-Africa: Call for Master’s, PhD, Staff & Visiting Scholars Mobility Scholarship Applications 2023

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A female student walks across the Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. Taken: 7th March 2019

Harmonization of Entrepreneurship Education for Sustainable Development of Africa (HEED-Africa) project is made up of a consortium of partner universities from Africa and Europe. The consortium comprises of Addis Ababa University, Coordinating Institution (Ethiopia), the University of Ghana (Ghana), Milpark Education (South Africa), Makerere University (Uganda), Kyambogo University (Uganda) and the University of Wolverhampton (United Kingdom).

HEED-Africa strives to foster the development of student and staff academic exchange through a systematic academic mobility flows framework in joint study, researches, academic activities, and mobility agreements across five regional higher education institutions.

The main objective of HEED-Africa is to develop and implement harmonized knowledge ecosystems in entrepreneurship through embedding. It also aims to create the learning conditions to increase the ability of graduates to become job creators rather than job seekers administrative staff.

HEED-Africa calls for outstanding students from African universities to apply for Academic Mobility Scholarship-2023 in different Master’s Degree and PhD Programme fields of study as well as academic and administrative staff to apply and join one of the five African universities for a short-term Visiting Scholars Academic Mobility.

HEED-Africa will offer a total of 35, 27 and 9 Scholarships for Master’s, PhD and Visiting Scholars respectively.

Applications Deadline is 30th January, 2023, and online applications will be closed at 14.00 GMT.

See Downloads for detailed adverts.

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