Call for Proposals for START funding for SMEs in Northern Uganda

START facility invites proposals for commercially viable investment projects active in agro-processing/value addition including processing plants, post-harvest handling technologies, effective storage systems and digital technologies. Through the facility, SMEs in Northern Uganda will have access to a customized mix of business development services, project development services and financing. The three lines of services are managed by three participating institutions: Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), and Uganda Development Bank Limited (UDBL). The available financial products under the facility include concessional loans with an annual interest rate of 10%, reimbursable grants for SMEs impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, technical assistance grants, and project-based partial credit guarantee schemes.


About the START facility

Support to Agricultural Revitalization and Transformation (START) funding supports implementation of the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU)’s food security and nutrition component.  The DINU programme objective is to consolidate stability in Northern Uganda, eradicate poverty and under-nutrition, and strengthen the foundations for sustainable inclusive and socio-economic development. The facility is intended to offer access to affordable medium-term finance for agricultural value adding projects through the provision of SEED capital to SMEs.

Am I eligible to apply?

To be eligible, you must operate a business located in one of the 40 districts in the five sub-regions of Northern Uganda as shown below:

Region Districts
Karamoja Abim, Amudat, Kaabong, Karenga, Kotido, Moroto, Nakapiripirit, Nabilatuk and Napak
Acholi Agago, Amuru, Gulu, Kitgum, Lamwo, Nwoya, Omoro and Pader
Lango Alebtong, Amolatar, Apac, Kwania, Dokolo, Kole, Lira, Otuke and Oyam
Teso Amuria, Kapelebong and Katakwi
WestNile Adjumani, Arua, Pakwach, Koboko, Maracha, Moyo, Obongi, Nebbi, Madi-Okollo, Yumbe and Zombo


In addition, businesses must be:

  • An agribusiness entity registered in Uganda under the Companies Act, a cooperative formed under the Cooperative Societies Act, trade association or similar business representative organization legally established in Uganda;
  • Able to demonstrate their experience and capacity to manage activities corresponding in scale and complexity with those for which financial support is requested;
  • Able to provide, either from its own resources or in combination with other shareholders, equity equal to at least 25% of the total cost of the project. The equity contribution of owners is mandatory and may come in the form of land, plant & equipment or cash.

Financing requirements include:

  • Capital expenditure required must be at least 75% of the total project cost
  • Non-capital costs which are direct to the project and necessary for carrying out the project may be accepted up to 25%.
  • Funds to cover the project financing gap requested from START Facility may range from UGX40m – UGX400m. However, total project size can be 3 times the financing gap. Leveraging extra funds from other institutions should be sought where necessary.

Priority will be given to enterprises including apiary, cassava, coffee, groundnuts, livestock, rice, sesame, sorghum, soybean, and vegetables. These value chain projects should contribute towards one or more of the following:

  • Economic empowerment of women and youth
  • Development of refugee hosting areas and leverage the refugee potential for local development
  • Reduction of environmental risks and ecological scarcities

How do I apply?

All applications for the facility will be done online and the application form can be accessed on The online forms are also available on the PSFU and UNCDF websites at or

Note: No hard copy or email applications will be accepted. All online applications must be completed carefully with all the required information. Any incomplete applications will be automatically rejected. Each entity is allowed to submit only one application.


Deadline for submission: 15th March, 2021 12:00 midnight GMT+3 (Nairobi)


For inquiries and details contact:



Dues    Tirwakunda

+256 322 200 241


Daniel   Kisekka