UCU students implored to collaborate for innovation success

.By Yasiri J. Kasango

The Uganda Christian University (UCU) School of Business students have been encouraged to partner with others if they seek success in the business world. This happened during the closure of the first International Entrepreneur Summer Camp held in the eLearning Centre at UCU.

Christa Oluka, UCU’s director of academic affairs, while closing a two-week international entrepreneur summer camp, told the students and the entire staff of the School of Business that to yield success in innovation, it calls for a combined effort from everyone.

“I encourage you to keep thinking, keep dreaming, and keep collaborating because, as an individual, you might not have what it takes, but once you have someone to help you, you may achieve your goals,” added Oluka.

Oluka said that initially they started with only the School of Business; however, the university administration has a goal of integrating entrepreneurial skills among the different programmes at the university.

Vicent Kisenyi, the dean of the School of Business, has encouraged the students to implement whatever they have learned during the two weeks of the entrepreneur summer camp. “I want to tell the students to utilise what they have learned to better themselves and the community,” Kisenyio stated.

Martin Kabanda, the head of undergraduate programmes at the School of Business, congratulated the students who have been part of the international entrepreneur summer camp.

The 17 students were taught marketing, finance, and sustainability, which were emphasised during the camp. The students were also taught how to write business plans. “We motivated them to think of good ideas, so in the ideation process, they had many ideas, but they had to cut them according to their passion,” added Kabanda.

The students were divided into five groups. They were tasked with coming up with innovative, sustainable business ideas. On the final day of the camp, students pitched their innovative ideas to a panel of judges. The team of judges was led by Allan Ssenyondwa, an economist, a director of policy and advocacy at Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), an investment specialist and manufacturer in the private sector; he is also a poet farmer; Martin Wakabi, an entrepreneur dealing in cashew nuts, fishing, real estate management, and fish processing and export association; he also graduated from the UCU; and Mirembe Anthea, a lecturer in the School of Business teaching business communication and international business; and an entrepreneur dealing in tea and also agro-processing as well as a manufacturer.

Mirembe implored the students for the skills they exhibited during the pitching of their business ideas. “I saw some of your pitches; they were very elaborate,” added Anthea. She went on to say that if they implemented these ideas the way they did, they would win prizes and sponsorships.

However, she encouraged the participants in the camp to produce products they believe in because when the challenging times come, it will be easier to navigate them and understand the business model created by one’s passion.

Martin Wakabi encouraged the students to be persistent and resilient because that is what it means to be an entrepreneur. He stated that once they set a goal, they must stick to it and focus on it. “You should avoid the word ‘maybe’ as an entrepreneur because it shows how uncertain you are of the direction you are taking in business,” added Wakabi.

He went ahead to tell the students that failure as an entrepreneur is the beginning of learning. “When you need to go back on the drawing board and understand the failure in your entrepreneurial adventure,” stated Wakabi.

The aspirants were cautious against reckless spending. They were inspired to have financial discipline because it’s the key to success as entrepreneurs.

Allan Senodwa implored the administration of the School of Business to find a way of attracting more students to learn entrepreneurship. “I strongly believe it needs to be the cash out, and we need to find a way to attract people to study entrepreneurship,” added Senyondwa.

The aspiring entrepreneurs were tasked with pitching their ideas. They were awarded medals. From the fifth to the third, they were awarded bronze, the second received silver, and the first received a golden medal