I was glad to be part of the #ZimbaSummit16 that took place from 28th to 29th September, 2016. There was a lot to learn from the entire lined up guest speakers and participants alike. The summit brought together women in business that were already harnessing or seeking to harness the opportunities for growth that technology presented.
Some of the issues addresses included how to make the most of your business online, using facebook to ramp up your sales and making use of trade platforms and government incentives for women. The most engaging panels included the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) that got the audience asking questions about freedom of speech and expression and venting out about why UCC shuts down social media during political campaigns, yet it is supposed to be an independent body uninfluenced by any political propaganda. The other panel was with regards to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) where a lot of women complained about the poor customer service unfair incentives provided to investors over local business owners who could not compete with these businesses due to the exorbitant taxes. I could relate with the former complaint seeing that the numerous times I have dealt with URA I have had to physically follow up on more than one occasion for them to get something done within time.
The participants were a rich breed of young and vibrant women who had started businesses within the last three years, pioneers of exportation and fresh start-ups. Some of us took the opportunity to hand out business cards and brochures of our #swartlandwinery and #watersidewines not letting a free marketing opportunity pass us by. I met a lot of amazing women, some of whom included Zena Abdul, a Kenyan lady who came all the way to attend the summit. Luckily for her it paid off as she got a couple of clients who needed her to design or revamp their website for them. I will also send her a few of my own clients.
I appreciated the fact that Intracen (ITC) was present to encourage women to get onto the newly launched SheTrades platform and take part in international bidding. I know a lot of people haven’t had such great experiences with governments in East Africa especially with regards to contractual payments. However, I do believe registering on the United Nations Global Marketplace (UNGM) platform is great in building women’s capacities to complete on the global scale and I have personally made a note to get my company registered on there.
Now that I have had enough time to reflect on key take homes, it time to start sending out courtesy emails to those business cards I ramped up and setting up those appointments I verbally made with interesting personalities.
Thank you the Zimba team for the great networking opportunity and Sherry Tumusiime for envisioning the idea.