The women loan scheme started in 2014 in 19 districts
To bridge the unemployment gap, government has rolled out women loan schemes across the entire country.
The loan scheme targets the unemployed, the poor and some youths but the groups must have viable projects running.
Cornelius Kagoro the principal Women-In-Development officer at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development said the loan schemes will offer women an opportunity to accelerate their business modules.
"The women will not pay back the loans with interests since it is a government grant intended to help bridge the unemployment gap in the country. I urge all women to organize themselves in groups and identify projects that can sustain their livelihood," said Kagoro.
He was officiating at an award ceremony of business plan presentation under the Business Accelerator Project (BAP) organized by CEDA International at Kawempe in Kampala.
The women loan scheme started in 2014 in 19 districts including Kampala and this year government officially expanded the scheme across the entire country.
How to get the loans
To qualify for the loans according to Kagoro, women are expected to be in groups of 10-15 after identifying a viable project which will sustain their lives. The women are expected to venture into similar business modules which will determine the repayment period of the loan.
Kagoro urged Ugandan women to take advantage of this programme and aspire to become starters to create many jobs in the country.
He however encouraged all stakeholders to help the country reach its desired middle income status by strengthening business support.
Tip to collapsing business modules
Rehema Kasule the president CEDA International observed the need to train women, appreciate the formal procedure of registering business to strengthen their brand and market products better.
She said there is need for an integrated programme of encouraging practical businesses and leadership training to access capital and business support.
Kasule noted that even if government provided the funds, the women business groups would not grow without a growth oriented, peer to peer business experience coupled with skills-based apprenticeship.
"As we welcome government's initiative to extend non-interest loans to our women, we need to reflect on ways of mentoring the women to enable them accelerate their business modules. We strongly believe that when we empower women, we equally empower the nation. The women's small and medium enterprises that we are supporting are the engine to social and economic development of our country," explained Kasule.
She applauded the African Women's Development Fund (AWDF) for striving to support Ugandan women through extending financial support to women.
She urged women to prioritize formalizing their business and accelerate through having proper records and marketing strategy.
The women speak out
Jamila Were one of the women group's leaders testified that previously, she would pocket the entire money of her business without saving for growth. Now Were says she will have to pay herself out of her business and keep the rest of the money in the bank.
According to Miria Namusisi, she has learnt to prioritize customer care which she identifies as key in business growth. Namusisi said she will embark on ensuring a better strategy for customer retention.