SWEET Africa to support entrepreneurs

By James Bakama

Targeting 11 African nations in its initial stage, the project involves a rigorous 12 week training program imparting entrepreneurial skills.

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Ugandans stand to earn up to sh33m in start-up cash in a project aimed at boosting entrepreneurship.

The project launched by a Ugandan firm with roots in Canada, centers on scholarships of skill enhancement in a bid to harness a self-sustaining population.

Sector-Wide Entrepreneurship for Empowerment Tools (SWEET) Africa Café is an NGO that was conceived in 2010. Its offices in Uganda are in Entebbe.

Its programs, which in Uganda started off with pilot ventures, are geared to Africa’s attainment of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Targeting 11 African nations in its initial stage, the project involves a rigorous 12 week training program imparting entrepreneurial skills.

Training climaxes in development of social enterprise ideas and ultimately projects with societal impact. Application for the August 15 intake started two weeks ago and ends on August 10.

SWEET will thereafter in November organise sessions where outstanding participants will pitch their ideas for seed funding.

Country Director Michael Kintu said funding will range from $5000 (sh17m) to $10,000 (sh33m). Ten people stand to benefit in this offer.

Other benefits include back-up fundraising resources that include access to free alerts focused on Africa grants, online courses, fellowships and business templates.

 SWEET Africa tutors during one of the trainings

“Given Uganda’s vast resources, there shouldn’t be unemployment. This training is designed to open up the mind to productivity,” explained Kintu.

The project, which targets training of 2 million entrepreneurs by 2030, is the brain child of academicians together with religious and community leaders in Canada and Uganda.

It is hinged on ideas of social entrepreneurs like Richard Branson, Bill Drayton, Mother Theressa and Muhammad Yunus.

“We have well trained tutors. These will train other trainers. We also have business plan review experts,” said Kintu of the program where no tuition or study material fees will be charged.

“The SWEET Africa CAFE aims at developing generations of self‐sustaining African Social entrepreneurs and change makers using Global best practices.

To this end, the CAFE uses methodologies and content gathered from a variety of Global Open Source materials  ‐which renders the SWEET Africa CAFÉ Tuition–Free,” reads a project manual.

To ensure successful start-ups, mentors will continue guiding participants two years into development of the respective businesses.

Through mentorship, the new entrepreneurs will gain feedback to overcome challenges. The chance of succeeding in business is much higher when a young entrepreneur is being mentored,” says Kintu.

By the end of the 12 weeks, the trainees are expected to have understood all forms of African poverty in the context of the SDGs.
They would have also grasped the need for application of the concept of social entrepreneurship in addressing poverty. Challenges of such entrepreneurship and how they can be addressed form component of the lessons.

Participants will however be required to pay a $30 (sh100,000) application processing fee, $10 (sh33,440)) examination fee and $10 (sh33,440) business plan polishing fee.

Participants will on top of facilitators, also have mentors to help them fine tune their business plans. Development of revenue generation strategies will be key in the lessons.

Tutorials will be conducted online, though where necessary, group sessions will be held at designated centers.

“Our target is to develop African grown entrepreneurs. By 2030, we aim to have reached out to 400 million people,” explains Kintu.
Registration for the next training, stretching from February to May, starts in January 2017.

The project is also in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Somalia and South Africa.