Business information centres: facilitating access to business information and skills

The challenge: making ICT accessible to rural SMEs

In many developing countries relevant business information is difficult to obtain. It is often outdated, very expensive, only available from isolated institutions and not tailor-made for the information needs of rural entrepreneurs.

Our Approach: harnessing ICT for small entrepreneurs

The main objective of the UNIDO Business Information Centres (BICs) programme is to use ICT and relevant business information for the development of local entrepreneurial skills. Through the programme we aim to promote local private sector competitiveness by increasing productivity, industrial innovation capacities and employment generation. The BICs are usually set-up as a joint venture between public and private sector institutions and provide a central access point for SMEs.

Service Portfolio of the BICs:
  • Entrepreneurial advisory services
  • Access to relevant business information and reliable Internet technology
  • Basic and advanced ICT training
  • Assistance in establishing linkages to local, regional and international markets
Business Information Network in Uganda

In Uganda access and usage of ICT is very low: there are about 17 Internet users per 1,000 people and only 8 out of 1,000 have a personal computer (WDI, 2005).

UNIDO, with funding from the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and in close cooperation with local public and private sector representatives, has developed a network of Business Information Centres in eight Districts of Uganda, namely Arua, Gulu, Jinja, Kabale, Masaka, Masindi, Mbale and Soroti.