At least 20 young entrepreneurs working in the hospitality industry are set to benefit from a deal signed between Sheraton Kampala Hotel and mentorship firms, Youth Business International (YBI) and Enterprise Uganda, which will improve their skills and raise their business profiles.
According to details of the one-year mentorship pact signed on Wednesday, Sheraton will host four selected local youth hotel entrepreneurs or managers every month for hands-on training and experience in handling customers.
Dubbed the Sheraton Enterprise Experience (SEE), trainees will also get managerial tips during the course of practical trainings and internship at the five-star hotel.
Officials are optimistic that lessons from the trainees’ experience shall be transferred to their businesses to boost growth, services and profits.
Speaking after the signing of the deal, Charles Ocici, the executive director of Enterprise Uganda, said the mentorship programme is tailored towards nurturing young entrepreneurs and managers into world-class hospitality industry players. He explained that trainees will have to apply and must be youths below the age of 35 years.
Ocici said such mentorship programmes could empower more Ugandans and cut down on the dominance of Kenyan and South African experts in the local hospitality service sector. He added that Kenyans and South Africans have more experience in the hospitality industry because of their success in the tourism sector.
The mentorship deal was one of the outcomes of the global ‘Promise of Youth Event’ hosted in Kampala from April 5 to 7. The two-day conference, supported by YBI, attracted youth entrepreneurs and managers from Kenya, India, Sweden, Tanzania, the United Kingdom and donor representatives.
Apart from recognizing successful entrepreneurs and sharing experiences, officials discussed the challenge of unemployment.
Uganda is one of the countries grappling with unemployed youth. According to official statistics, 400,000 graduates join the search for jobs every year, yet only 9,000 vacancies are available in the formal public employment sector.
It is against such background that officials urged private sector-led initiatives such as mentoring programmes to encourage youth create their own jobs instead of seeking employment.