Strengthening the Uganda Business Information Network
The technological developments, in particular in the area of information and communication technologies (ICTs), have created great opportunities for industrial development in developing countries. Due to the key role that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) play in industrial development and employment creation, support to MSMEs is an important objective of UNIDO's Small Business Development module. Within this module, the information requirements of MSMEs in developing countries are being addressed by setting up national, sustainable capacities to provide information solutions and ICT support. UNIDO has already assisted Uganda with the setting up of a One-Stop Shop (OSS) for information and ICT support to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). This OSS, the Uganda Business Information Network (UBIN), has been set up as a joint venture between public and private sector institutions in Uganda to provide a central access point for MSME support. UBIN provides commercial demand-driven services for MSMEs in Uganda in three important business areas: information solutions, ICT support for enterprises and Enterprise Internet Solutions. The objective of the present project is to extend the services of the central OSS in Kampala to eight other districts of Uganda by establishing a sustainable network of eight pilot District Business Resource Centres (DBRCs), supported by the backbone of UBIN in Kampala. The network would enable MSMEs in areas outside Kampala to make use of information and ICT support services as well. Business information solutions will be strengthened to provide sector specific information solutions. The sectors that will be focused on are food processing, leather, textiles, coffee and fish, thereby fully synergizing with the focus sectors of UNIDO's Integrated Programme in Uganda.