NTF V-backed Ugandan companies meet global standards to grow their businesses
Five IT and business process outsourcing companies went through a certification process to meet international safety and quality standards, letting them tap new opportunities in other countries.
From its base in Uganda, 3D Services can track vehicles, people and goods moving around the country. The company installs trackers on vehicles, whether a regular passenger car or a massive piece of industrial equipment.
As the company has grown, more opportunities have emerged in neighbouring countries, said Monica Baguma, 3D’s customer service manager.
But to obtain contracts in Kenya and Rwanda, the company needs to show that its services are on par with other companies around the world. That’s why companies seek certification from the International Organization for Standardization, or ISO.
“ISO is about procedures. We document what we do, and do what we document,” Baguma said.
The company had already obtained certification for its quality management systems. After six months of training through the International Trade Centre (ITC), it’s now also certified for environment, health and safety.
The training was done through the Netherlands Trust Fund V (NTF V) programme, in collaboration with BB Sinha, a company that prepares firms for audits by Norwegian certification body Nemko.
Better processes, happier customers
Sinha Brindaban, who led the training, said certification creates a way for African companies to compete globally.
“First of all, you improve the process, the business, the quality of product, and the services. That results in better customer satisfaction,” he said. “Secondly, it integrates the company, even though based in Africa, to the global market. This helps the company to export anywhere in the world.”
“It also helps in improving the competence of the employees, and you put the certification on the website. So everyone knows this company is good to deal with,” he added.
For 3D Services, everyone from the doorman to the company’s leaders underwent training. The company had to develop procedures and teach all of the staff how to use the systems. Then Nemko audited the processes before awarding the certification.
“They train everyone, from the person that is opening the gate,” she said. “They train everyone and everyone has a role to play.”
The certification is already yielding results, with new contracts for services at cement factories in East Africa, Baguma said.
The company is in negotiations to provide vehicle tracking services at a factory in Rwanda. Having the environment, health and safety certification is a plus to winning the contract, she said.
“They are very high on health and safety within the factory,” Baguma said.
The certification also helps 3D Services win contracts with multinational companies working in Uganda, particularly in the oil and gas industry, where health and safety is crucial.
“It’s a very big business, because we are working with the East African Crude Oil Pipeline. The oil was discovered some time back. They have expatriates that they move around, and they also have the machines that do the digging,” she said. “Our scope of work is to track those moving assets, but mostly the vehicles for the expatriates.”
Through NTF V’s work, five companies in Uganda underwent the certification process. Four have already completed the final audits and received their certificates.
About the project
The Netherlands Trust Fund V (NTF) (July 2021 – June 2025) is based on a partnership between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands and the International Trade Centre. The programme supports MSMEs in the digital technologies and agribusiness sectors. Its ambition is two-fold: to contribute to an inclusive and sustainable transformation of food systems, partially through digital solutions, and drive the internationalization of tech start-ups and export of IT&BPO companies in selected Sub-Saharan African countries.