Entrepreneurs have been urged to position themselves to tap into opportunities in the supply chain of the oil and gas sector.

The call was made by experts during a stakeholders’ Supplier Development Workshop organized by the Stanbic Business Incubator Limited (SBIL) in Kampala on Friday, in a move aimed at driving local content in Uganda’s growing oil and gas sector.

The government’s National Content Strategy (NCS) aims to maximize the benefits derived from the commercial drilling of oil, including local workforce development, local supplier development, technology transfer, knowledge sharing, partnerships and collaborations.

For the past five years, SBIL has been at the forefront of providing capacity building for small business owners to actively participate in the sector.

Joseph Nyakairu, the Senior National Content Officer for Capacity Building at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) said, “The aim of the National Content Strategy is to add and retain value within the Ugandan economy and increase employment of Ugandan workers in the oil and gas sector and/or utilise goods and services provided by Ugandan enterprises.”

However, he advised relevant Ugandan suppliers to first ensure they are legally compliant before formally registering on the PAU National Supplier database in order to tap into the oil and gas supplier opportunities. PAU is the regulator for the sector.

Sheila Agaba, the SBIL Business Manager, said many Ugandan enterprises hesitate to participate in the oil and gas sector, because they lack the technical know-how while others believe they lack the adequate operational scale.

She urged small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to go through the various training modules offered by SBIL to help them scale-up and participate in bidding for contracts.

PAU recently recognised SBIL’s training interventions with the National Content Player Award for 2023. SBIL is a subsidiary of Stanbic Uganda Holdings Limited and since 2018, has grown into a leading resource centre for SME development in Uganda.

Agaba highlighted the ongoing SBIL Supplier Development Program that trains, exposes and identifies financing options for entrepreneurs.

A PAU survey identified the leading challenges to greater local participation as lack of exposure to industry standards, insufficient technical capacity, accessing finance and inadequate understanding of procurement and requirements.

In a related development, SBIL, in partnership with Hindsight Ventures, organized a Leadership Development Bootcamp for women entrepreneurs, which was aimed at equipping them with insights into current business trends.

SBIL’s Programmes Manager, Nelson Kasadha told the gathering, “We want to support people who are interested in growing their businesses. Most people keep saying that there is no money, but it is available. You only need to be equipped with the right skills and you will tap into financial support.One of the things you need to be interested in, is personal development and as an Incubator, we want to teach you how to do business the right way.”

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