Uganda’s entrepreneurs

In Uganda it seems like everyone and their mother (I do mean that literally) has their own business. In fact, the 2010 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report on Uganda finds that 31 of every 100 working age Ugandans are involved in some kind of entrepreneurial activity, making Uganda the 6th highest in terms of entrepreneurship out of the 59 countries surveyed.

Interestingly, there appears to be a strong relationship between GDP per capita and entrepreneurial activity, as can be seen below.

Source: 2010 GEM Uganda report, page 32. Download here.

So what does this mean?

High TEAs [Early Stage Entrepreneurial Activity] are mainly registered in developing countries. And there’s a group of scholars that have argued that the greater the poverty, the higher the TEA of the country concerned. GEM Uganda team does not wholly agree with these scholars as its number of entrepreneurs motivated by opportunity is also high and so is that of Ghana, Zambia and Angola.

Although the team believes that necessity is a factor in Uganda’s high TEA, some entrepreneurs are keen to pursue business opportunities in the country. The positive relationship between economic growth and entrepreneurship is unquestioned; it is the causality, the measures used, and the role of the state that need to be explored further.

I’m curious about the relationship between the Doing Business scores and entrepreneurship as well. I would imagine that while it may be difficult to set up a business formally (i.e. following all the rules/wading through bureaucracy) in countries like Uganda, the relative lack of regulation encourages entrepreneurs to try their luck in business, especially in the informal sector.

Your thoughts?

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10 Replies to “Uganda’s entrepreneurs”

  1. The 31 Lengths Campaign is building the physical structure and designing, implementing and operating the programming of an entrepreneurship center on the campus of the Lacor Secondary School in Northern Uganda.

    Vision: To empower students who live without sufficient hope and resources to reach their boundless potential.

    Mission: To empower students’ potential by connecting resources for business education resulting in economic development to overcome strife and reinforce human dignity. Business as a force for good.

    Foundational Principle: Empower students to believe in and achieve their own boundless potential by encouraging them to try, to not fear, realizing that success is a fruit of failure.

    1. I am new to blogging and alatucly loved your website. I am going to bookmark your web site and keep checking you out. I really have to say thank you for sharing your web site.

  2. What an incredible and insiirpng story. I am currently reading a book about a similar woman in Ethiopia. The book is called There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Green, and the woman she profiles, Haregwoin, also is mother to dozens of AIDS orphans in Ethiopia.It is truly insiirpng to read about regular, everyday people like this who decide they can’t look the other way, but that in fact there IS something they can do to make a difference to children and they DO IT. They don’t say, I don’t have the money, I don’t have the time. They simply act from the heart.Thank you for sharing this story.Shelley

  3. I’m writing a tongue-in-cheek piece on Uganda’s so-called entrepreneurship, found myself here and am now quite pleased. Look out for my ‘tirade’ elsewhere. In a nutshell, though, I don’t agree that we are entrepreneurial enough here (in Uganda). We do “try out” many businesses but we don’t take enough financial risks, apply innovation or run an ordinary business course to justify the use of the term. When I first heard of that report I suspected that the surveyors had simply counted the number of kiosks on any given high street and divided by the number of people in the country.

  4. There are always ideas and suoegstigns to every problem, those who counter offer “negative views” are not out to pour cold water.Just offer possible setbacks or disadvantages that may occur. These “negative views” may even trigger refinements or improvements to cover loopholes in the original ideas offered.Take the example of using mobile phone to trigger alert for ATM money withdrawal, it’s really impractical, besides holding up the queque, a working mobile phone must be at hand. Not really a kiasu mentality, more on practicality or pragmatism.Nevertheless, good for this goondu DBS Bank to extend alert service of large transactions to all account holders through the mobile.Even here you need to have a proper working phone at hand, so not really a good solution after all.Talking about “ingrained” mindset, this is the trend of Companies here, esp the GLCs related ones, ingrained that they must maximize profits first, so reducing costs is the way, never mind compromising safety or security. It happens with SMRT, DBS, or all other GLCs, if it ain’t broken, why fix it. Think of a solution later, even if it’s a semi one, as long as it could plug the hole temporarily for the moment, meanwhile save costs and increase profits first is the motto.

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