Part 1: MTN Business Training Gulu dubbed as the best of its kind

Few companies that deliver what they promise. And MTN Business’ “With the Right Partner Any Thing is Possible”, always comes real when you partner

Few companies that deliver what they promise. And MTN Business’ “With the Right Partner Any Thing is Possible”, always comes real when you partner with MTN.

If you were in Gulu on 20th November 2013, at Bomah Hotel, you would have experienced firsthand why you need a right business partner.

Over 80 entrepreneurs and business executives attended the MTN Business training, which many participants dubbed as “the best of its kind they have ever attended”.

One entrepreneur, Odongpiny Yusuf of Gulu Youth Centre, said “I thank MTN for this training and for inviting me. I have learnt a lot in one day, than have learnt in the past one year. I specifically thank the facilitator, Mustapha for making the training the best experience.”

This was an all-expense paid training by MTN as part of their strategy to promote good governance and capacity development to enable the success and sustainability of local enterprises.

As MTN’s Hazel A. Twesigye put it: “It is common to hear people say over 80% of new start-ups in Uganda collapse before their 5th anniversary but they don’t offer practical interventions to help arrest this trend. MTN Business training is part of our long-term strategy to develop small businesses into strong, sustainable businesses. And this training will go a long way in changing [for the better] the way people manage their businesses. I am proud to be part of the MTN Business team making this happen in Uganda.”

One thing with entrepreneurs in Northern Uganda is that they are hungry for knowledge.  Some participants travelled over 300 Kms from Arua to attend the training in Gulu!

The training covered key topics — internal controls, business planning, interpreting bank statements, tax compliance, MTN Business cloud services and working capital management.

The training was conducted in a participatory approach. Different entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to share experiences and challenges.

The highlight of the training was at about 2:30 pm, during the presentation “interpreting bank statements” when Mustapha Mugisa asked: what would you do if you found Ugx. 50m on your bank account?”

The responses were varied.

Majority of the attendees said that they would go to the bank and report the money, so as to know where it could have come from.

“What if it is stolen money and ends up on your account in a fraudulent way. Don’t you think you could end up serving a jail term for having kept quiet?” One entrepreneur intoned.

Another added in a typical Northern tone: “these people in the bank are always moving money up and down, left and right. You have to let them know of it. You see, they are greedy, and if you don’t say it, they can close your account, and they also take the little you there. I would tell them, and pray that they don’t clear even my little that was there.”

This participant threw the house into a loud applause.

Some people at the Bomah Hotel reception had to come to the second floor, on the new hotel extension, to see what was going. You could think 50 Cent was in the house!

Then one Aboda Michael, Managing Director Vista Gulu, said: “As an entrepreneur, I would sit down and thank God for having answered my prayers. I would immediately withdraw the money and put into my business.”

Participants reacted to this with a standing ovation. Over 20 people contributed answers to this question, with majority going for “returning the money to the bank.”

I was surprised why the whole house gave a standing cheer to Aboda when he was against this returning the money. Until I got to realize that people want to associate with those who question the status quo.

But also, the Kony war that happened in Northern Uganda changed people’s values and morals and the way they look at life. They are in a reconciliatory mood. They don’t want war or any disagreements. They want to do straight business. And that is why Gulu district is growing at a fast pace. If it were not for the very bad road network, Gulu could soon become #2 in Uganda after Kampala.

After the training, participants were welcomed to a cocktail. Some of those that had travelled from Arua and Lira, left early. Many others were entertained beyond belief. People in Gulu have life and can dance. They are indeed living it. and when the entertainer of the night, Cindy, got on stage, it was all thumbs up to MTN.

It is these small pleasures that make doing business an enjoyable thing.

As we interacted, I bumped into the Pride Microfinance Mbale Branch Manager and we exchanged contacts. He revealed how Mbale is a great place for doing business – people will always deliver on their promises. And that if someone borrows a loan, you are sure they will pay back, and if not, “their family members wont spare him or her unless they pay.”

Look forward to next year’s MTN Business training in Gulu.

Don’t miss part 2… coming soon.

NB: MTN Business training Western Uganda will take place in Mbarara on 3rd December 2013. Register today! Here

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