I went for an event last year where I met Ugandans alongside people of other nationalities and one of the things Ugandans told us is that their country has the highest number of entrepreneurs in the world.
This is definitely a good thing but the question that immediately rose in my mind is then why is it so poor? Globally, there is a strong correlation between entrepreneurship and economic power houses.
Is Uganda the most entrepreneurial economy on the planet? Yes, if you were to take the World Economic Forum’s and Business Insider’s word on it.
Going by several reports, it is actually true that Uganda has the highest number of startups in the world, many reports have repeatedly singled out that line but is that synonymous with Uganda having the highest number of entrepreneurs in the world?
Before we answer that question many findings also note that even though the country has many small businesses it does not have quality startups that can generate quality jobs and grow to become an employer, most of them either die or remain a one man show forever.
The real picture is that most of the startups in Uganda are not driven by innovation or opportunity but due to lack of employment opportunities. Uganda has one of the highest unemployment levels in the world.
This therefore means that this are not entrepreneurs, but self-employed people. So what is the difference? The difference is that entrepreneurs see a need or opportunity and move to provide for that need while most of the self-employed people actually do it because they do not have a job.
Entrepreneurship is about job creation and growth through innovation.
“Quality in entrepreneurship, is a combination of two things: (1) the ability and innovative and growth aspirations of the entrepreneur, plus (2) the ability of the country’s entrepreneurial framework conditions to support the full realisation of the new venture’s growth potential,” says Erkko Autio, a professor of technology venturing at Imperial College Business School.
If the supply of jobs was to increase, then these so called entrepreneurs will vanish from the streets since most of them sale potatoes on the roads.