Making Your Business Investment-Ready

Many small businesses go through a point of ‘reflection,’ where business owners find themselves thinking about scale and growth. With these objectives in mind, they often go through a similar process, first identifying a product or service that they can scale, exploring a new or untapped market to market to, and, in some cases, becoming more diligent about compliance and tax obligations. While these are all good initiatives, they may not be adequate to prepare these businesses for the next level of growth – attracting investment to help the business reach growth targets.

Many business owners struggle with this next step – finding an investor to provide that extra financial muscle, a capital injection that will take them to the next level. So, what does it take to be “investment ready” as a business?

To help with this unique challenge, this month’s COVID-19 Business Info Hub theme guides micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) on making their business investment-ready. Readers will learn a number of important lessons about business investment, including:

  • Understanding the different kinds of business investment ‘vehicles’
  • Identifying investment opportunities that work for your business
  • Recognizing the non-financial investments that may help businesses grow
  • What it takes for a business to become ‘investment-ready’

Through lessons from industry experts and interviews with experienced practitioners, business owners will learn what they need to do to put themselves in the right position to attract investment capital, understand the opportunities (or risks) they may face, and make their businesses as attractive to potential investors as possible. Similarly, readers will hear from MSMEs that have successfully attracted funding so they may learn from first-hand experience.

If you are looking for effective ways to attract investment funding and ultimately grow your business, keep following the COVID-19 Business Info Hub this month for more insights and relevant resources on making your business investment-ready!


Are you an innovative Agri-tech entrepreneur? Apply for the Pitch AgriHack 2022 competition before 29 July 2022

Are you an innovative Agri-tech entrepreneur? Apply for the Pitch AgriHack 2022 competition before 29 July 2022

In partnership with African Green Revolution Forum and Generation Africa, Heifer International invites applicants to the eighth edition Pitch AgriHack 2022 competition. Pitch AgriHack is a digital agricultural competition focused on accelerating entrepreneurial growth and job creation by leveraging advanced tech and youth participation in Africa’s food security agenda.

Through the competition, six successful participants from three open competition categories, including early-stage, mature/growth stage, and women-led, will be awarded cash prizes totaling USD 45,000. Additionally, participants to the competition will benefit from the following:

  • A fourth invite-only category, known as the AYuTe Africa Challenge, sponsored by Heifer International, will award up to US$1.5 million in grants to scalable ventures already generating measurable impact for Africa’s smallholder farmers.
  • Six winners will be selected from the open-application categories and two winners from the invite-only AYuTe Africa Challenge category. The winners will be announced at the AGRF Summit on September 5-9 in Kigali.
  • Top contestants will receive a one-day boot camp in preparation for their final pitches, with winners receiving continued support as they develop and grow their enterprises.
  • Business profiles of the finalists will also be published in a Deal Book for circulation at the AGRF and online, while individual profiles will be made public on the orgplatform and reviewed for relevance to their investor community.

Interested applicants must fulfill the following to apply:

  • Have a clear and defined description of how their solution is impacting smallholder farmers
  • Have a strong organizational and operational structure
  • Be aged 18-40 on the day of submission to the 2022 Pitch AgriHack Competition
  • Hold nationality (with official ID) from any of the 54 nations of the African Union
  • Be the founder/co-founder of the enterprise represented in the competition and play an active role in its operations and leadership
  • Have no criminal record related to corruption, tax evasion, financial impropriety, felony, or other offenses
  • Not be a previous Pitch AgriHack finalist or winner
  • Must submit the application form in English
  • Must agree with the Terms & Conditions

To apply for the competition, visit: Applications

For more information on the competition, visit: Pitch AgriHack 2022


Apply for the Micro Enterprise Development Program from Stanbic Business Incubator Limited

Apply for the Micro Enterprise Development Program from Stanbic Business Incubator Limited 

Operating under Stanbic Uganda Holdings Limited, Stanbic Business Incubator Limited (SBIL) aims to support and nurture SMEs in Uganda to prepare them for business growth opportunities.

With an extensive expertise in running successful and practical business development programs, SBIL, invites applicants for the 2022 intake of the Micro Enterprise Development Program (Micro EDP). Micro EDP is a 2 weeks training program that aims to support micro-enterprises and offers them early-stage entrepreneurial and business management skills to help them initiate, improve and scale their businesses.

The program will be offered across Uganda and offers the opportunity to entrepreneurs to learn about the following topics:

  • Design thinking and business modelling
  • Financial literacy & bookkeeping
  • ILO Business game
  • Business Plan writing & fundraising
  • Business formalization

To be eligible for the program, participants should fulfil the following criteria:

  • Have at least two employees
  • Possess an existing scalable business idea or running a business
  • Can be a SACCO/VSLA or group

To apply, visit: MICRO EDP PROGRAM APPLICATION

For more information, please get in touch with incubator@stanbic.com or call 0312226700.


Are you a startup entrepreneur with an innovative tech solution for global hunger? Apply for the WWF Startup Innovation awards before July 15

Are you a startup entrepreneur with an innovative tech solution for global hunger? Apply for the WWF Startup Innovation awards before July 15

The World Food Forum (WFF), an independent youth-led global network of partners, invites applicants for the WFF Startup Innovation Awards, powered by Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC). The awards aim to support and showcase innovators and entrepreneurs harnessing the power of technology to drive the sustainable transformation of agri-food systems with the goal to end global hunger and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals as introduced by the United Nations Development Programme

Successful applicants will stand a chance to win the following awards:

  • WWF better production startup award
  • WFF better nutrition startup award
  • WFF better environment startup award
  • WFF better life startup award
  • WFF startup innovator of the year award

Additionally, finalists and award winners will be able to gain potential global visibility, raise capital, access global networking opportunities, and access to WFF membership to access opportunities needed to pioneer tech breakthroughs.

Interested applicants must fulfill the following to apply:

  • Be legally incorporated as a business enterprise. The business should be privately held and not a publicly traded company.
  • Agree that only non-confidential information is being submitted and there is no confidentiality agreed implied between XTC, its partners, and applicants, regarding submitted pitch decks

For more information on the awards and application details, visit: WFF Startup Innovation Awards


Apply for the Youth Green Accelerator Challenge before 12 August 2022

Youth Green Accelerator Challenge

Are youth-led organization, network, or coalition with an environmentally friendly solution? Apply for the Youth Green Accelerator Challenge before 12 August 2022

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) invite youth-led organizations, networks or coalitions to the Youth Green Accelerator Challenge. Interested participants should propose new and innovative ideas and solutions to support a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies. Applicants should be youth aged 18 to 35 years old with contractual and registered capacity in IsDB-ILO common member states, which includes Uganda.

The Youth Green Accelerator Challenge seeks solutions that contribute to one or more of the following:

  • Upskilling or reskilling youth for their effective participation in the green policy-making process
  • Ensuring peer-to-peer learning on just transitions and strengthening youth coalitions on the subject
  • Creating or improving training programmes to equip youth with the technical and soft skills required for the green transition in a given sector / for a given occupation
  • Mainstreaming climate change into existing Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET)  and education curricula and programmes for youth
  • improving access to opportunities for green skills acquisition and recognition for marginalized youth
  • Supporting green skills trainers and training providers in becoming agents of a just transition for youth
  • Translating employment creation, entrepreneurship, or business ideas into solutions that accelerate upskilling or reskilling of youth

Successful participants in the Challenge will benefit from the following;

  • Financial support: The top three ideas will be awarded USD 50 000, USD 30 000, and USD 20 000, respectively, to implement the proposed solution.
  • Technical support through an online Innovation Lab: Through boot camps and remote mentoring, the winning proposals will receive technical support to turn, refine, develop, and pilot their ideas. The duration of the lab is between three and six months, depending on the stage of development of the solution.
  • Global visibility: The winning proposals will receive support to raise awareness of their ideas and solutions, including an invitation to attend COP 27, where they will present their projects, press articles in the media, and videos.
  • Access to a network of skills innovators: The winners and shortlisted entries will join the ILO Skills Innovation Network. They will be updated on the latest advances in innovation and skills development and get access to tools, resources, and knowledge-sharing events that they can use to build new ideas and solutions

To apply for the Challenge, visit: Youth Green Challenge Applications


Hi-Innovator initiative

Are you a start-up business interested in scaling your business? Apply for the Hi-Innovator initiative

The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) invites applicants for the Hi-Innovator initiative. The initiative was established to identify and support Uganda’s small and growing businesses with solid potential for impact, sustainability, and scale. Participants in the initiative will gain access to free professional and technical assistance, funding, and exposure to investors to scale their businesses.

Interested applicants must fulfill the following criteria to qualify:

  • Applicants must be Ugandan nationals or non-Ugandans currently living and working in Uganda with up-to-date working permits
  • Business must be fully registered with Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), and National Social Security Fund (NSSF)
  • Applications must be submitted through the Hi-Innovator website and idea management system
  • Business should have two founding team members above 18 years of age
  • Business should at least have launched a product or service and received customer feedback with some revenue (generating at least UGX 20 million within two years)
  • Business should have been legally operational for the last two years and should not have raised UGX 1 billion in either grant, convertible grants, venture capital, or private equity at the time of application
  • Have a founder ready to commit to at least 90% of the scheduled learning labs and mentorship sessions
  • All team members must be proficient in written and spoken English

To apply for this initiative, visit: Hi-Innovator Application


Are you a startup operating in the Commonwealth member state? Apply for the Kigali Startup Festival before 6 June 2022

Are you a startup operating in the Commonwealth member state? Apply for the Kigali Startup Festival before 6 June 2022

Are you a startup operating in the Commonwealth member state? Apply for the Kigali Startup Festival before 6 June 2022

Are you a startup operating in the Commonwealth member state? Apply for the Kigali Startup Festival before 6 June 2022

The Commonwealth Youth Forum invites applicants to the Kigali Startup Festival. The festival celebrates the innovation, entrepreneurship, drive, and contributions of Commonwealth youth to addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Selected participants will be sponsored to pitch their innovations for cash prizes at the upcoming Commonwealth Youth Forum, taking place from June 19 – 21, 2022, in Kigali, Rwanda.

Participants will have the opportunity to compete for the following awards:

  • Champions of Inter-Trade – Export promotion
  • Pioneers of Agricultural Innovation – Agricultural productivity
  • Green Innovation Guru – Addressing circular and climate change issues
  • Digital Geeks – Leveraging digital technologies to address daily-life challenges

Interested applicants must fulfill the following criteria to apply:

  • Be aged 18 to 29 years
  • Be a citizen of the Commonwealth member state
  • Have a valid legal proof of business or project ownership

To participate in the festival, visit Applications


Unique Selling Proposition 

Four Steps to Defining Your Unique Selling Proposition 

Four Steps to Defining Your Unique Selling Proposition 

A unique selling proposition, also known as a USP, is a specific thing that gives your business an edge over the competition.  

Like many of us, customers are overwhelmed by choice, and they want to quickly figure out what makes one product or brand different from the rest. Finding out how to position your product or service so that it stands out rather than simply blends in is key. So, it’s crucial for entrepreneurs to identify a unique selling point that can be used to guide your branding and marketing decisions. 

Here are four steps to keep in mind when defining your USP: 

  1. Understand your target market: Having a unique feature has no value if your customers are not concerned about or interested in it. This means that you need to understand your customers. What do they need? Why do they buy your products? Is it because it is cheaper, saves them time, or because they trust you? Interview clients, and friends and make a list of the reasons they buy your products. Identify what comes up most frequently.  
  2. Analyze your competition: Now that you have a list of what benefits your products or service brings to your clients, make a list of your competitors and identify the needs they are meeting. This will help you understand what characteristic distinguishes your products from those of your competition. 
  3. Communicate your USP: Once you identify what reasons clients buy your products over those of your competitors, come up with a message that communicates your USP. This message needs to be clear, concise, and straightforward.  Make sure you can communicate it easily, that your customers can understand it, and that it is easy to remember. Ask yourself if your reputation in the market and your branding (logo) clearly demonstrate the benefit you are providing.  
  4. Test and revise: Once you develop language to communicate your USP, talk to customers to get their thoughts. These interviews should help you decide on the best way to market your business.  

Your unique selling proposition shouldn’t change too often, but it’s essential to keep it up to date. Any changes in trends or competitors could affect your USP, so keep an eye on what is happening in the market and adjust accordingly. 

 

 


Five Tips to Make Better Financial Decisions 

Five Tips to Make Better Financial Decisions 

Business owners generally need to purchase assets or inventory or make other purchases to help their businesses grow. But resources are often scarce, so it is important, therefore, to ensure you’re making the best financial decisions you can.  

If you manage resources appropriately, you will be able to better accomplish your goals and improve your company’s overall performance. Here are five tips to make better financial decisions.  

  1. Pause: Before making a purchase for your business, the first thing you should do is pause and think about what your goals are for your business. Will the item you are purchasing support those goals or deter from them? Don’t pressure yourself or let other people pressure you. 
  2. Ask: Ask questions about the costs and risks associated with a purchase. Keep asking more questions until you understand what you’re paying for and what you are receiving. Don’t be shy about asking many questions. Here are some ideas: What will happen if it doesn’t work out? Can I stop the transaction and get my money back? Are there fees, taxes, penalties, or other charges? What exactly am I receiving in return for the amount I am paying? What warranty or guarantee does this come with? 
  3. Compare: Compare prices to make sure you are paying a fair price. Keep an eye out for anything that seems too good to be true. Ensure that the people and businesses with whom you are working are properly registered. 
  4. Estimate: Estimate the costs associated with your purchase and make sure you are getting value for your money.You can find online tools and calculators to compare financial products or services. Compare the total cost, including fees and chargers, to the value you are receiving. 
  5. Decide: If you thought about how a purchase will contribute toward your goals, asked all your questions, compared prices, and estimated your total costs, make a decision whether to move forward with the transaction or not. Write down all of the above and look at it objectively to help you decide.  

We hope that by applying this method, you will be able to make better financial decisions to support your business. 

 


e-Track Programme

Are you an early-stage venture interested in scaling up? Apply for the e-Track Programme before 29 April 2022

e-Track Programme

Are you an early-stage venture interested in scaling up? Apply for the e-Track Programme before 29 April 2022

The University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB) Solution Space, in partnership with Ayoba, a free instant messaging app, invites applicants for the e-Track Programme. The e-Track Programme is a three-phase early-stage venture accelerator and capacity-building programme for high-impact entrepreneurs in South Africa and beyond. It is designed to support participants in building scalable businesses with international potential.

Successful applicants take part in the following:

  • A five-week Venture Launch course that focuses on validating the venture concept
  • A twelve-week Venture Exploitation course aimed at accelerating the development of the validated venture
  • A twelve-week Venture Scaling course where ecosystem partners and investors support ventures to expand and thrive within their markets

Interested applicants should have solutions relevant to the African market and global potential. Applicants can apply in teams or as individuals as part of an existing venture. They should have a prototype or minimum viable product ready for early-market testing to further establish the product and market fit. Additionally, the initial concept should demonstrate a deep and intimate understanding of the problem and market need or opportunity.

Selected participants will benefit from the following

  • Access to technical support and mentorship from Ayoba field experts,
  • Workshops and clinics to learn fundamentals and core business skills
  • Access to pro-bono partners and a network of consultants to support with specialist expertise such as legal, human resource, digital user experience, and venture capital
  • Feedback from the Ayoba team and network of experienced mentors and industry partners
  • Networking with Ayoba’s community of vibrant entrepreneurs

To apply for this program, visit: E-track programme applications