The first-ever Uganda Entrepreneurship Congress and Exhibition, organized by the Department of Marketing and Management, College of Business and Management Sciences, Makerere University took place in a landmark event on November 16 and 17, 2023. The congress centered on the theme “Adapt and thrive within the new normal of AI,” addressing the symbiotic relationship between entrepreneurship and artificial intelligence (AI).
The keynote speakers and panelists at the Yusuf Lule CTF auditorium highlighted the transformative potential of AI, dispelling misconceptions about its impact on employment. Contrary to fears of job displacement, the emphasis was on AI broadening perspectives, automating mundane tasks, and freeing up individuals to focus on creative and complex aspects of their work.
Experts in various fields, including agriculture, health, education, tourism, and hospitality, testified to the manifold advantages of incorporating AI into business strategies. However, a cautious approach was underscored, warning against misusing technology and treating AI as a substitute for human intelligence.
Navigating the AI Landscape
The congress featured breakout sessions, a panel discussion, and insights from seasoned businesspeople. Dr. Dennis Ngabirano, founder of Psalms Food Industries, stressed the importance of working smart with AI, emphasizing a mindset shift for success. He cautioned entrepreneurs about the dangers inherent in business and the importance of resilience and patience.
Dr. Sarah Bimbona, the head of the Entrepreneurship Centre, echoed the sentiment, advising entrepreneurs to motivate their staff, place them according to their talents, and maintain discipline throughout the organization.
Farouk Busuulwa, managing director of Adventure Vacation Safaris, dismissed concerns about widespread joblessness due to AI, asserting that AI would make certain tasks obsolete but could not replace human labor. He urged individuals to become adept in AI to avoid being left behind in the evolving job market.
Edwin Danze, chief marketing officer of Next Media, urged the audience to access and learn how to use the multitude of AI tools available on the internet, many of which are free.
Breakaway sessions, including insights from the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), emphasized the need for businesses to keep records to avoid audits and penalties. Isaac Aijuka from URA provided guidance on various taxation principles, economic independence, and the consequences of tax evasion.
Student Entrepreneurship Expo and Innovation Showcase
The second day witnessed the opening of the seventh students’ entrepreneurship expo and a blood donation clinic by Uganda Red Cross Society and Uganda Blood Transfusion Services. Students exhibited a diverse range of ideas, prototypes, and innovations, showcasing their entrepreneurial spirit.
Innovations on display included a solar cook stove, reusable sanitary pads, automated irrigation systems, and a production plant for noodles, among others.
The congress and exhibition received sponsorship from key organizations, including Psalms Food Industries, Post Bank, Nivana Water, HZG Group, Vision Group, Legend Events & Hospitality, Iguru Consult, NBS TV, Feed Future, National Coffee Research Institute, Uganda Revenue Authority, KCCA, Uganda Red Cross Society, FlexiPay, Rotary Club of Kitante, Centenary Bank, and Housing Finance Bank.