Instead of taking jobs away from people, artificial intelligence is meant to broaden people’s perspectives and stimulate the production of new content. By automating repetitive and mundane tasks, artificial intelligence allows individuals to focus on more creative and complex aspects of their work. This shift can lead to increased innovation and the exploration of new ideas, ultimately benefiting both individuals and society as a whole.
This was the main message at the first ever Uganda Entrepreneurship Congress and Exhibition, organized by the Department of Marketing and Management, College of Business and Management Sciences, on November 16 and 17, 2023.
With the topic “Adapt and thrive within the new normal of AI,” the congress featured breakout sessions, a panel discussion, and a keynote address on the first day. At the Yusuf Lule CTF auditorium, seasoned businesspeople and industry insiders shared their experiences with up-and-coming entrepreneurs, emphasizing that entrepreneurship is a means of bringing about the socioeconomic development of the nation.
The numerous advantages of artificial intelligence (AI) in the fields of agriculture, health, education, tourism, and hospitality have been attested to by academics and business owners. They demonstrated how AI can function quickly, effectively, and efficiently while cautioning against misusing technology and treating it as a stand-in for people.
Dr Dennis Ngabirano, the founder of Psalms Food Industries, said: “AI is about working smart, not about working hard… But as we apply AI, we must be doing the right things and aim to remain agile. To achieve success, you need a mindset change – when everyone is sitting, you stand up; when everyone stands up, you stand out; when many people stand out, make yourself outstanding; and when many become outstanding, become the standard.”
Like anything else, entrepreneurship and AI are not without danger, Ngabirano advised.
Like any relationship, a business has dangers and problems, some of which are self-inflicted. Resilience and patience are crucial. Never launch a business without doing your homework, and keep researching once you are operating it as new obstacles will inevitably arise, particularly as the company expands.
He advised entrepreneurs to motivate their staff and place them where their talents fall, and maintain discipline throughout the organisation.
It is unfounded to worry that AI will become self-sufficient and cause widespread joblessness. Adventure Vacation Safaris’ managing director, Farouk Busuulwa, issued a warning and made the case that artificial intelligence (AI) will make some jobs obsolete, but it cannot replace human labor. Rather, employment will increase, particularly in the content creation industry. Certain repetitive tasks will vanish, and your position will be taken over by the AI user. There is no justification for not being adept in AI since you risk being left behind if you don’t learn how to prosper in this field.
As AI continues to advance, it is important for individuals to adapt and acquire the necessary skills to work alongside AI systems. Embracing AI technology can lead to new opportunities and job creation, especially in fields that require creativity and critical thinking. It is crucial to recognize the potential benefits of AI rather than fearing its impact on employment.
The chief marketing officer of Next Media, Edwin Danze, argued that the audience should access and learn how to use the many AI tools available on the internet, the majority of which are free.
The first day also saw some breakaway sessions from organisatiosn such as URA. Isaac Aijuka, from the Tax Education Unit of Uganda Revenue Authority emphasized the need for business people to keep records to avoid audits and penalties. He did, however, state that one is entitled to contest the assessment and punishment or file an appeal. He discussed a wide range of subjects, such as the advantages of voluntary disclosure, the consequences of tax evasion, the process of becoming a tax agent, revenue taxes and non-revenue taxes, taxation principles, and economic independence.
He said that a nation must be able to use the money it receives to fund its budget in order to be considered fully autonomous, which Uganda is still unable to do. He clarified that the goals of URA are to increase tax collection and promote voluntary compliance. After collecting taxes, URA gives them to the Parliament and the Ministry of Finance for suitable use.
The second day of the congress saw the opening of the seventh students’ entrepreneurship expo and a blood donation clinic by Uganda Red Cross Society and Uganda Blood Transfusion Services.
Students of Bachelor of Business Administration and Bachelor of Commerce, in teams of three to eight members, exhibited a wide variety of ideas, prototypes and innovations. Evaluators went around the stalls, posing questions, offering guidance and marks.
Some of the innovations exhibited included; a solar cook stove, re-usable sanitary pads, automated irrigation system, production plant for noodles among others.
The congress and exhibition were sponsored by Psalms Food Industries, Post Bank, Nivana Water, HZG Group, Vision Group, Legend Events & Hospitality, Iguru Consult, NBS TV, Feed Future, National Coffee Research Institute, Uganda Revenue Authority, KCCA, Uganda Red Cross Society, FlexiPay, Rotary Club of Kitante, Centenary Bank and Housing Finance Bank.