Urban TV’s SME Connect: A youth led business conversation

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By Ahmad Muto

So, the inaugural episode of SME Connect aired on Thursday at 4:00pm on Urban Television. And that is the time it will be airing every week. But that is not the news. The news is, the maiden episode had tourism guru, Amos Wekesa drifting through what it is for tourism this Covid-19 season dashing all the tourism jargons around. He paused from time to time to listen to the host, Tony Otoa who seemed to have been too prepared for his first episode. Even his choice of guest, I mean, was an illustration of how much time he planned the debut. Four minutes into the show, he mentioned how he has been struggling to meet up with Wekesa for coffee, only to meet via Zoom.

Otoa by social media standards has presence, his arguments laced with humour and bits of wit. A big admirer of former Cuba president, Fidel Castro, and he is not afraid to flaunt it on social media as it is on his Twitter cover photo. An avid debater and speaker, quite opinionated and intellectually provocative. Also, at the count of four minutes, Otoa had mentioned among other things the 1918 flu pandemic, the great depression and the five horizons that businesses need to be thinking about right now.

SME connect was stitched together to have its conversation revolve around Small and Medium Enterprises that as a matter of fact employ a huge fraction of the youth dealing in products and services that cut across.

Otoa by experience has been “here and there” – from a hustler radio deejay going by the name Black Daddy Sugar Love (BDSL), or so he says to an oil and gas expert of sorts to now hosting a show that by design, for a guest, require a gadget like a smartphone and data and not really travel to be onset in studio for the session.

That was Wekesa’s first time to hear and experience the Zoom communication app that organisations and institutions have been using to meet lately. According to him, he was born in abject poverty and only managed to go to nursery school at the age of 10. Yes, at the start of his second decade under the sun. That among other things he speaks about washing and cleaning as his forte, more like he deserves a Grammy for it. How senior six exams floored him miserably. He took on a certificate course for six months. First job was as a cleaner and earned sh20,000 per month. Then became a tour guide and earned a dollar a day. He says with pride that that was how he unravelled his gift. He argued that a lot of young people run for the money forgetting developing that skill. He says the cost is patience. From time to time, Otoa kept shifting in front of his webcam and tilting his spectacles as Wekesa unpacked his intriguing story with its chapters. The inaugural episode has illustrated that there is a lot SME Connect is going to unbox. At some point according to a teaser I saw, businessman Patrick Bitature is going to share his wisdom, and so will Ms. Elsie Attafuah, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative for Uganda. Question is, how long is Otoa’s business A-list contact list? And what else does the Vision group lifestyle and entertainment manager, also Urban television station manager, DJ Bushbaby have in his bag of innovations?

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