Dr. Peter Walekwa conducts one of the courses on strategic marketing
SEE first entrepreneurship students’ training held
Trainees pose for a group photo after the training.
• 19 students get certificates of attendance
• Funds available to mentor students to start small businesses in groups
• Youth challenged on individual worth in employment and entrepreneurship
• Dean advises youth to take note of figure “60”
• Entrepreneurship trainings to be digitalised
Solve Equation East Africa (SEE) Project has conducted its first one -week’s training for students on Applied Entrepreneurship and Practical Business Management. The training which started on Monday 1st June 2015 was officially closed by the Dean, School of Agricultural Sciences Prof. Johnny Mugisha on Friday 5th June, 2015.
19 students from BSc. in Agriculture, Agribusiness, Horticulture and BSc. in Agriculture and Rural Innovations were given certificates of attendance.
Makerere University SEE Project Coordinator Prof. Felix Bareeba said the objective of the training was to equip students with knowledge and skills to enable them start their own businesses instead of moving on streets looking for employment.
Prof. Bareeba said that the course initially targeting the finalists was advertised but ended up attracting more of the first years. He thanked the students for attending the course consistently and the facilitators for taking students through the course.
Makerere University SEE coordiantors Prof. Felix Bareeba and Dr. Peter Walekwa.
“You have got skills. We want you to go out, think about business. We have some little money you can use to facilitate a mentor. We are looking at five groups with a mentor to help you right away from the start of the business”. Prof. Bareeba pledged.
In his closing remarks Prof. Mugisha congratulated students for completing the course describing it as a rear opportunity.
“To my satisfaction we have got first years. So you are the right people I had wanted. We are still with you and we have enough time to mentor you and support you into complete products that we can present when you succeed”, The Dean said.
The Dean School of Agriculttural Sciences Prof. Johhny Mugisha (Centre) delivering his closing remarks
Professor Mugisha advised students to utilise the knowledge and skills acquired and to endovor to be useful rather than being a burden to society.
“The good thing with young entrepreneurs is that they don’t fear risks and that is what business management is. So go and try out on different opportunities and risks”.
The Dean also promised to help interested students acquire some land at Kabanyolo to start up enterprises.
Citing different scenarios Prof. Mugisha asked students to take note of the number “60” He observed that the average age of an African farmer is 60 meaning that African farmers are aged and therefore cannot produce enough food to the satisfaction of the ever increasing population.
“That requires that younger population must chip in at every value chain stage be it production, Marketing, processing and value addition”.
A cross section of students fill in the course evaluation forms
The Dean also reminded students that in Uganda the retirement age for civil servants is 60 years and, that is when they retire to invest in Agriculture as a last resort. He challenged students to imagine what would happen if a retired civil servant at 60 years planted mangoes that would take -10 years to harvest .
“This is a call on you to invest in agriculture at a young age. Time is now to invest so that you grow as an entrepreneur”.
Professor Mugisha went on to inform students that Africa is supposed to increase its food production by 60% otherwise the continent shall suffer from starvation and hunger. He also told students that 60% of Africa’s population is under 24 years. This according to Prof. Mugisha implies either a potential opportunity in future to produce and feed the continent or a potential time bomb by the youth migrating from their homes to the city to ride boda bodas and engage in criminal activities as a means of survival.
“Use this opportunity to produce for us. Avoid becoming a time bomb that will explode,” He advised.
The Dean also thanked the course facilitators, Coordinators for the passion and commitment to support students and the funders for choosing Makerere in addressing problems of the youth and unemployment.
SEE Project Coordinator for East Africa Mr. Paul Serumaga said this first course titled, “Applied Entrepreneurship and Practical Business Management”, has two components starting with theory. Practical lessons involved taking students to the business incubation centre to practically engage in ice making to help them break the fear of selling. After the field experience students will be required to prepare sales details including profit and loss account.
The trainings prepared in modular form covered a number of topics including Introduction to Entrepreneurship, Business Plan Writing, Establishment of a Small and Medium enterprises and Sourcing finances. Other topics include Business Management, Economic Policy and Trade Instruments, Value Chain Analysis, Strategic Marketing and Customer Service.
East African SEE Coordinator Mr. Paul Serumaga advising students
“We are supposed to take four days of theory and one day for practicals. There are enterprises that are going to be selected. We shall have small teams of five students provided mentors in reorienting business in 6 months” Mr. Paul Serumaga said.
Mr. Serumaga also said that the project has planned a total of 12 trainings to be delivered once in every two months to enable students get the best business practices and advise. “In our training, we look at small groups of between 15- 20 reason being to allow interaction and tease students what they know and what they need clarity which is different from the normal lecture class”. He said.
He also disclosed plans digitalise the course on the website and using multi media . He said three IT students and two business school students had been brought on board to start on the digitisation of the course to increase the project outreach and this would be ready in the next three months.
In his key message Mr. Surumaga reminded students that getting jobs was the major current challenge for the youth in East Africa. He advised the youth the explore the available opportunities provided by government and other organisations like youth funds to become entrepreneurs.
Mr. Paul Serumaga teaching one of the courses
He advised the youth to know their worth in life by multiplying the monthly salary by 12 months add 35 years (of production life employment) and then decide to remain in employment or break the ice into entrepreneurship.
“For instance if your best salary is 4million shillings per month, your Individual Worth = 4 million x 12 (months) x 35 years =1.6 billion . The question is “are you worth 1.6 bn?” That is a teaser any one can use to understand and decide whether to remain in employment. The moral is that your worth is higher than 1.6bn because we have entrepreneurs who bag that money in days.
SEE is a collaborative project within the member universities in East Africa trying to change the mindset of University graduates from thinking about job seeking to job creation by imparting several skills including entrepreneurship. SEE Project and the Makerere University Students’ Entrepreneurship Club were launched in at Makerere University in March, 2015 at the School of Agricultural Sciences.
Dean, Prof. Mugisha handing over a certificate to one of the students
Sample of the Certificate of Attendance given to students
The project structure involves a training component, curriculum development and linkages with banks to give start up loans to students. Other activities according to the project coordinator include mentoring activities for all students who would have started a business and outreach programs to different people within their localities who would have already started businesses.