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Starting Your Own Business in Uganda

Thinking of starting your own business in Uganda? Good! It is important that you are aware of some factors that you need to know. These are not complicated and you will get the guidance along the way if you seek it.

Knowing what your targets are, setting your goals and setting them high should be your prime guiding principle.

With its predictable investment environment and a fully liberalised economy, with good market access and a strong natural resource base, Uganda continues to attract the highest level of foreign direct investment in the region - take for example, in 2010 alone, Uganda attracted US$ 848 million in foreign direct investment.

That should give you a bit of an idea on the grounds you are about to establish your Ugandan business. Uganda is no stranger to foreign investment and you will be happy to know that the government is also fully committed to the private sector investment.

There are specific steps you will need to take to get established and enter the trade register. Usually the formation procedures are very efficient and fast. The first step will be the legal forms. These will require you to register your business in Uganda with the Uganda Registration Service Bureau (see contact below) to obtain documents that permit you to operate legally.

As you fill out the legal forms, follow the directions exactly. You want all the information to be perfectly accurate. You can ask any clerk for assistance, and should if you have questions.

At this stage, have your business plan ready, secure the necessary Ugandan investment licences, permits and approvals under the Ugandan law and your business will be as good as established.

If you already have an established company from else where in the world, you might chose to open a corporation. This will require a corporation that is its own 'legal individual', signs contracts and holds assets. But realise, the corporation will also need to pay taxes.

You also have an alternative choice of starting a partnership. Here you will have a personal commitment to others joining you in this venture. The accounting procedures might be less extensive, but there are obligations that must be fulfilled.

Depending on your type of business, if you have a company whose operations are outside of Uganda, you might need to set up a branch office in Uganda. This will help you establish your business presence for purposes of contacts and expanding your business in Uganda.

Starting your own business in Uganda will require a bank account. This is the only smart way to organise and conduct your day-to-day activities with your finances. You will need your passport and some sort of evidence that you are resident in Uganda. See Q & A page for advise on opening bank account. If opening the account in your company name, you will also need a copy of the Certificate of Incorporation and company documents.

You might want to know how much your investment is worth in Ugandan shillings. You've got a handy Currency Converter here to help you do that.

And then of course you will have to find premises - which can be challenging, but don't let it discourage you in any way! You will discover listings in the daily newspapers or through the brokers. Some of the estate agents have also started doing business online - you will certainly have a lot to choose from.

Family-owned and run businesses also seem to thrive and do well in Uganda. While the big companies are laying off staff, these small family-owned businesses tend to hire even more to get the work done. And the beauty is; such companies cater directly to the public and are many times part of community they serve.

All it will take to start your own business in this country is the will, along with a well thought through business plan. Take it step by step; ensuring that you follow through carefully, from the first forms you fill out to registering the business with the right authorities.

It has surely been tested and starting your own business in Uganda will show you profit and ease in running. Take the adventure, you can do it! Investing in Uganda is quite straight forward.

Uganda Registration Service Bureau - URSB General Line: +256 414 233 219, Registrar General: +256 414 235 915, URSB Fax: +256 414 250 712 or www.ursb.go.ug

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