The Covid-19 Business Info Hub is excited to announce that we are dedicating the month of January to identifying, understanding, and supporting young entrepreneurs. Young entrepreneurs (defined as people between 15 and 35 years of age who explore different opportunities to create value in a given enterprise) contribute significantly to the economic development of Uganda as a source of both labor and innovation.  Young people make up a significant portion of the workforce and the majority of them are engaged in some form of employment: according to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), sixty-four percent (64%) of persons aged 15 to 29 years in Uganda are employed and 15% of youth in school are also engaged in employment.

As Uganda’s young population continues to grow, there is an increasing need to empower young people to embrace entrepreneurship. Uganda’s youth are attracted to entrepreneurship by different factors including personal motivations, financial necessity, and driven by creativity, pro-activeness and self-efficacy. Education is a significant enabler for young people to engage in entrepreneurship as it provides both knowledge and exposure and helps develop the human capital needed to succeed as an entrepreneur.

In this month, we will learn from young entrepreneurs and the different actors – government, private sector, development partners – that facilitate the entrepreneurial ecosystem, with a special focus on how these actors have helped young entrepreneurs cope during the pandemic. We will also hear from young entrepreneurs themselves to understand how they have maintained their entrepreneurial spirit during the pandemic. The Covid-19 Business Info Hub will feature unique stories of resilience and growth which we hope will provide inspiration and lessons to other young entrepreneurs.

Young entrepreneurs face a number of challenges as they seek to improve their livelihoods and create sustainable businesses for themselves. Chief among these are education (i.e., the World Bank 16th Uganda Economic Update indicates that a child born in Uganda will only be 38% as productive when she grows up as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health), and an overall challenging entrepreneurship ecosystem in Uganda (i.e., Uganda ranks low by on the Global Entrepreneurship Index on factors such as perception of entrepreneurship opportunities, availability of skills, levels of innovation, and technology, and the integration with the international economy – according to the World Bank 15th Uganda Economic Update). The Covid-19 Business Info Hub hopes our focus on young entrepreneurs will inspire both aspiring and existing entrepreneurs as well as those players in the ecosystem that have the capacity to better serve them to continue improving entrepreneurship among young people in Uganda. We look forward to an exciting journey with you as we explore this theme as our first of the New Year!