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Business activities and information needs of SMEs in northern Uganda: Prerequisites for an information system

Constant Okello‐Obura (Department of Information Science, East African School Library of Information Science, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda)
M.K. Minishi‐Majanja (Department of Information Science, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa)
Linda Cloete (Department of Information Science, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa)
J.R. Ikoja‐Odongo (Department of Information Science, East African School of Library and Information Science, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 30 May 2008

Abstract

Purpose

This article is a result of part of a doctoral study in the University of South Africa on the topic business information systems (BIS) design for Uganda's economic development: the case of small to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) in northern Uganda conducted between 2004 and 2007. The study was conducted to establish the characteristics of the SMEs, business activities, business information needs and recommend the important business information needs required for BIS for poor country or region. It was carried out on the assumption that businesses in northern Uganda are lagging behind because of lack of a BIS that could facilitate efficient and effective business information access. This article aims to discuss this subject.

Design/methodology/approach

The descriptive survey research design was used to collect the required data using structured questionnaires and semi‐structured interview guide. A sample size of 251 SMEs, 75 information providers and 25 business policy makers in northern Uganda were used. Quantitative data obtained were analysed using Epi Info and SPSS while the qualitative data by use of content analysis technique.

Findings

The findings reveal that SMEs in northern Uganda have varying background and are engaged in diverse/varied business activities with varying business information needs that require a multifaceted approach in the provision of business information. The study recommends that a BIS unique to the SMEs in northern Uganda be designed to provide among others business legal information, business technical information, business economic information, business contacts information and business management skills information.

Originality/value

No research has been carried out on the business information activities and needs of SMEs in northern Uganda with a view to design BIS. The findings of the study will help to shape the planning and implementation of strategic interventions to transform northern Uganda using information as a catalyst for development.

Keywords

Citation

Okello‐Obura, C., Minishi‐Majanja, M.K., Cloete, L. and Ikoja‐Odongo, J.R. (2008), "Business activities and information needs of SMEs in northern Uganda: Prerequisites for an information system", Library Management, Vol. 29 No. 4/5, pp. 367-391. https://doi.org/10.1108/01435120810869138

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited