Hi, my name is Gabriele Paiola, I am a student of Business Management at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan. From July to September 2023, I’ve been lucky enough to experience an internship in Kampala, Uganda, with E4Impact Foundation.
I had the opportunity to apply for this initiative promoted by professor Mario Molteni during his Business Strategy course at the University. From the beginning, I was fascinated by the perspectives offered and my ever-increasing curiosity for such different and distant countries and economic realities pushed me to seize this opportunity immediately.
The focus of the internship was Entrepreneurship in Uganda, a country that could be defined increasingly lively and flourishing from an entrepreneurial point of view, thanks to the presence of innovative startups in various sectors. The internship took place in the new E4Impact Uganda Country Office, which manages both the MBAs and Acceleration Program in Uganda, but also all the economic development projects that the Foundation carries out in the Country.
Personally, I was involved in the Accelerator. This program gathers online lessons and in-presence bootcamps and aims at providing entrepreneurs with all the necessary tools to overcome the economic and management difficulties that startups have to face. I had the chance to have a deep look at he dynamic and challenging entrepreneurial context in Uganda, thanks to my relations with the entrepreneurs who took part in the program, and I must say that running a company in a developing country requires great analysis and decisional skills and involves facing several challenges everyday. Not easy at all!
In such a stimulating environment, my job was to support the entrepreneurs of the program in activities such as the drafting and revision of their business plans, the design of new commercial strategies and the management of computerized accounting systems.
I learned how important communication, problem solving and proactivity are, to make the best strategic decisions in a context so full of opportunities but which at times is really though. But it’s actually the difficulties that have made the Ugandan entrepreneurial ecosystem to grow like this, also thanks to the innate resilience and a strong creative spirit of its population. This has taught me to think outside the box with a positive and proactive spirit.
At the office I met very kind, helpful and professional people who helped me make the most of my experience in a Country that is completely different from mine. They taught me a lot about the African entrepreneurial context. The Country Manager, Loise Kamau, especially, gave me the opportunity to get to know the protagonists of this economic growth and pushed me right from the start to give my personal contribution in every work.
Overall, the period spent in Kampala was a revolutionary and enlightening experience from different points of view; not only I had the opportunity to spend three months in a totally different context from the Italian and Western one thus increasing my professional experience, but I also had the opportunity and luck to know people and businesses that are bringing a positive and tangible change in Africa. I am grateful for the support and guidance I’ve received during this journey, and I look forward to embracing this newfound perspective and use my knew knowledge in my future experiences.