Business associations have always been known to bring together business owners from a specific area or all the corners of the country. These may range from national associations to those that encompass businesses in individual sectors, districts, counties, cities, or neighborhoods. It doesn’t matter what the scope is but any business association can provide several benefits to businesses who pay subscription fees.
Membership into a business association or a professional body has distinct advantages like networking opportunities, business prospects, sectoral news, and support on compliance with business law. In Uganda, we have quite many such bodies and associations that bring businesses together for common business interests.
The most popular and profound associations have been in the news doing policy and advocacy work on behalf of members. They also organize forums for the deliberation of strategic issues that affect their line of work. The following are the associations you could consider joining depending on your sector although some of them are crosscutting and multispectral national bodies:
1- Federation of Uganda Employers (FUE)
Founded in 1958 and registered in 1960 FUE is the representative body and voice of employers in Uganda on social-economic issues. The core mandate of the organization is to enhance members’ competitiveness through policy advocacy, fostering best human resource practices, and provision of business development services.
The employers’ organization represents its members on 15 Boards and other major technical and regulatory bodies in the country. Through a Business Agenda, the employers’ position is always shared with the Executive and all other stakeholders in the labour market.
The organization is also known for Organizing big events like the Annual Women’s Leadership Conference, Employers o the Year Award Dinners, and CEO forums. All these events bring together different business executives for networking opportunities.
The Federation of Uganda Employers also has opportunities for professional development. Joining the organization helps you to take advantage of professional development programming and educational seminars. There are several training programs in key areas including Handling Employee Discipline, Performance Management, and other Employment Relations Sensitization Workshops.
2- Uganda Manufacturers’ Association (UMA)
UMA is an industry association that aims to bring together Ugandan industrialists and manufacturers in an attempt to guide the industrial actors in the country towards global competitiveness, on a sustainable basis.
UMA works as the voice of the industry in Uganda recognized by manufacturers in the whole country. The association is also mandated to do effective lobbying and research-based policy advocacy whose views are solicited, heard, and considered by the Government.
The association is a known source of information about manufacturing in Uganda with guidance on the investment climate in the country. The association has built its name by offering business networking opportunities to members who participate in meetings, seminars, workshops, exhibitions, and trade fairs.
UMA just like any other business association in Uganda provides members with opportunities to network and share information and business opportunities. More still, association members can help one another directly with referrals for services such as HR Recruitment, Accounting, Marketing, etc. When you join you can easily find contact information for other local businesses, speeding up the process of breaking even and building a customer base.
3- Uganda Insurers Association (UIA)
The association was founded in 1965 by insurance companies to promote the development and expansion of sound insurance and reinsurance activities in Uganda.
UIA exists to advance the interests of insurance and reinsurance companies by embracing a common strategy that encouraging close working relationships along with the exchange of business among members. The association also does policy advocacy aimed at influencing the enactment of favorable business legislation.
It is one of the vibrant associations that passionately represents its members’ views to the government and other relevant quasi-government bodies and the private sector.
4- Uganda Hotel Owners’ Association (UHOA)
The association was formally registered in May 2000 as a trade and lobbying organization and principal umbrella body bringing together hotels, lodges, restaurants, membership clubs, and prominent Motels, B&Bs, Inns, and camps among its members. These come together to render services in the hospitality industry with high standards for its members.
Its Membership is mostly star-rated hotels, restaurants, caterers, lodges, tented camps among others. The core service the Association renders to its members is Representation, as principal voice for hotels and restaurants to the government and other agencies on matters of regulations, licensing, and policy.
5- Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU)
Since its founding in 1995, PSFU has served as a focal point for private sector advocacy as well as capacity building and continues to sustain a positive policy dialogue with the Government on behalf of the private sector.
The organization works as Uganda’s apex body for the private sector. Its membership is estimated at 200+ business associations, corporate bodies, and the major public sector agencies that support private sector growth. Its core aim is to strengthen the Private Sector capacity for effective policy advocacy and market competitiveness nationally, regionally, and internationally.
At the regional Level PSFU is the country’s focal point for the East African Business Council (EABC) and the COMESA Business Council (CBC). Membership to such a big entity comes with advantages like participation in various business networking events, sector working groups on policy, and other concerns affecting the private sector. You may also get an invitation to be a part of the Private Sector delegations that meet with foreign investors within the country and abroad.
Through the Uganda National Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors (UNABCEC), contractors can voice their opinions and concerns regarding issues that directly affect their industry. The association is responsible for Lobbying and advocacy with the key decision-makers intended to improve the policy and regulatory environment for the Construction Industry.
It also does capacity building for improved competitiveness of national construction industry operators and stakeholders and professional development of members through various projects and offers Networking opportunities, partnership development fostering regional and international exposure and cooperation.
The Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA) is a not-for-profit business association of Micro, Small, and Medium Industries (MSMIs) with a strong membership base of about 5000 registered Micro, Small, and Medium Industries.
USSIA is driven to support and equip small and medium-sized enterprises especially the small-scale industries sector of Uganda for success and economic growth. USSIA was formed in 1979 out of the realization that there was a gap in terms of the representation and support of professional small and medium enterprises that want to grow and become large enterprises.
As a growing economy, the majority of the businesses fall in this category and it’s a very good platform to learn, network, and expand your business.
The Association of Uganda Oil and Gas Service Providers (AUGOS), was launched in 2012 with a founding membership of 08 (eight) private companies. The Association now has grown to 103 (One Hundred and Three) member companies, individuals, and Government Agencies that work together to improve on the capacity and standards of Ugandans to be ready to participate in the Oil and Gas industry.
AUGOS membership is projected to grow as more companies express interest by applying and registering with the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) to be included in the National Supplier Database for the Oil and Gas Sector in Uganda. the association is a platform for advocating the challenges of Ugandan supply and service providers to oil companies and the government.
9- The Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO)
Auto Is a Registered Nonprofit Professional Association Representing the Tour Operator Industry. Its Members Are Made Up of Companies Who Provide Services Both in Uganda and Abroad.
This Voluntary Trade Association Was Created with The Primary Purpose of Promoting Integrity and to Uphold the Good Reputation of Uganda as A Tourist Destination by Ensuring That the Uganda Tour Operators Maintain the Highest Standards of Service and Value. The Association Represents the Interests of the Professional Tour Operators in Uganda.
10- Uganda Bankers’ Association (UBA)
UBA is registered and operates as an NGO in Uganda and is also recognized in law by the Bank of Uganda Statute of 1993 as a Body to assess and recommend licensed commercial banks to be admitted in the Clearing House.
The association was formed due to the need to develop, promote, protect and represent the professional interest of its members and promote orderly conditions with banking transactions subject to provisions of any law extant at any time in Uganda.
It acts as a vessel through which government, regulators, and other stakeholders get feedback from the implementers of laws and banking sector policies. The association membership is quite small yet so big in influence, bringing together key policymakers, business professionals, and the media. If you are looking to enjoy high-end networking opportunities, keep an eye on the UBA events calendar.