As many as 1,500 social entrepreneurs in Uganda will this year receive training, coaching and mentoring, thanks to a partnership between U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Foundation Uganda Ltd, a social enterprise support system.
The three-year partnership programme is geared at promoting economic security in Uganda through supporting Small and Medium Social Businesses to generate sustainable quality jobs, income opportunities, and access to good nutrition and related services for the Ugandan people.
"Of the 1,500, 135 will be assisted to scale their businesses through improvement of their business models, conducting testing and accessing linkages to markets; while the most promising 20 social businesses with combined potential to create more than 2,200 full-time quality jobs and networks of 1,800 suppliers and distributors along their value chains will receive investment funds ranging from $200,000 (sh668m) to $350,000 (sh1.2b) each," says Eriab Kiiza, managing director, Yunus Social Business Uganda.
A social business is a formal entity created with the main purpose of solving a social problem in a financially self-sustainable way.
"Under the partnership, the program has a clear focus to ensure 40% of social businesses supported are women-led while 30% of direct employment opportunities and 50% of supplier/ distributor opportunities are targeted for the youth," Kiiza says.
Yunus Social Business Foundation Uganda Ltd was set up in Uganda in 2014 as an entity that works on the side of the disadvantaged to bring about meaningful impact in their lives through offering non-financial support to enable entrepreneurs to become investment ready, grow and maximize their social success; providing fair capital for social businesses; and playing a catalytic role in building a conducive ecosystem for social businesses to thrive.
Uganda is the 7th country after Haiti, India, Colombia, Albania, Brazil and Tunisia where Yunus Social Business is committed to be the first stop global brand for social business entrepreneurs and investors.
The Social Business Accelerator
Meanwhile, as part of their three-year partnership with USAID, YSB Uganda early this week launched its 2016 Social Business Accelerator with the first cohort of 13 social businesses at Kati Kati Restaurant in Uganda.
This cohort consists of businesses engaged in the health and sanitation, renewable energy, education, and agribusiness sectors.
"These businesses have been selected because of their high potential to create social impact in areas of youth and women employment, environmental conservation, reduction of carbon emission and improved livelihoods," said Eriab Kiiza, managing Director Yunus Social Business Uganda.
He said the YSB Accelerator will provide an intense experience during which selected entrepreneurs will be inspired by global social business leaders.
The entrepreneurs will also develop, test and refine their business models for impact and financial viability as well as receive one-on-one support of mentors and coaches to become ready to pitch for investment funds from Yunus Social Business and its investor partners.
"We call upon all social business entrepreneurs to make contact with Yunus Social Business to be able to access the services offered. YSB is open for collaboration with other partners in building the social entrepreneurship space," Kiiza said.