MOTIV Creations Limited, a hub of creatives such as artisans in wood, metal, fashion, fabric, film, painters among others has launched an initiative dubbed “MOTIVATED Impact” to support Ugandan businesses through promoting locally made products instead of running out of the country to import goods.
This is linked to the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) policy aimed at promoting locally manufactured products.
Speaking at the “MOTIVATED Impact” launch in Kampala on Wednesday, the MOTIV team lead CK Japheth who doubles as the team lead at the “Innovation Village,” said that goods such as furniture, clothing among others made by young people especially those that attended vocational institutions instead of universities should be given a priority during procurement.
“We know that the biggest percentage of young people are artisans. They have to do stuff creatively with their hands. They are in Katwe, they are in Ndeeba, they are in other places. Those that do not go to University normally go to what we now know as vocational institutions. We have built MOTIV to be that community for young people in the creative sector,” he said.
Japheth noted that MOTIV Creations Limited has provided an opportunity for makers to have access to high quality innovative machinery, training and market place.
He expressed concern that many young people have failed to turn their skills and passion into business and as a result, they help them to access market for their products.
“The creative industry has mostly been a thing of passion and we do not translate that passion into business. That has been a big gap which is why part of our processes are helping us understand, how do you turn your passion into a business and take it to market? That has been a big link. We have learnt ways how that (passion) can be turned into a business. We work with young people to help them access market,” he said.
Furthermore, Japheth wondered why Ugandans especially corporate companies can’t implement the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) policy by procuring locally made products instead of importing products which are made in the country.
“What we are trying to encourage is Buy Uganda Build Uganda. Why should you go and buy a piece of furniture that is made out there (abroad) yet a young person here in Uganda can make the same furniture for your office?” He asked.
To address the challenge of connecting skills with the market place, Japheth challenged young people who have graduated from vocational institutions to use their skills to create business instead of hunting for jobs.
He noted that many vocational graduates mind more about the certificate of completion of course and not how to put their acquired skills into practice.
However, he mentioned that Uganda has a lot of untapped talent that can be capitalized to create job opportunities and a thriving economy.
“The Government recently announced over 78 courses in secondary school for vocational related schooling. It’s a good move because it creates a pathway for applied skills that a young person can go away today and start building a business tomorrow. However, the problem is not the skilling element alone. We need to build that entire ecosystem.”
“Now that they have been skilled, do they have access to tools, do they have access to finances, what about the market? If we do the 78 vocational courses in secondary schools and don’t make BUBU come to life, then we are defeating the objective of why we need to do vocational courses,” said Japheth.
Asked to comment on an issue that locally manufactured products are at times shunned because of poor quality, Japheth said that quality is a vital issue which cannot be taken lightly and added that it has been addressed at MOTIV.
“The quality is of course an issue. Many people have complained about the quality of local products but part of the processes that we have here is to understand the importance of producing quality products.”
He added that MOTIV has built a unique network of Ugandan creative entrepreneurs that produce high quality and unique products across the country.
Evelyn Zalwango, a creative carpenter from “Fundi Women” said that among the challenges faced in the creative sector is human resource capital, funding and mindset.
Many people, she said, have a mindset that locally manufactured products are of low quality “which is not true.”
The initiative was launched under the theme “creating sustainable impact through applied technology hubs.”