Are you a solar company seeking to grow your market? Apply for a financing opportunity with PSFU today!

The Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), in partnership with the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ)  through the Energising Development (EnDev) programme Uganda, invites applicants for a financing opportunity that aims to increase energy access through solar home systems to last-mile households in Uganda. The pilot will provide economic incentives to off-grid solar companies to reach rural areas with home solar systems.

  

How will successful applicants benefit?

Successful solar company applicants will receive financial incentives to offset part of their costs and risk including:

  • Customer remote finance: To subsidize customer acquisition and after-sales service costs based on customer location.
  • Asset finance: Toincrease shelf time for solar systems purchased on a cash basis and reduce the risk of default. 
  • Customer default finance: Topay off customer-specific partial compensation for losses made due to default payments.

NB: Successful candidates will be required to sign an incentive contract with PSFU.

 

Who is eligible to apply?

Interested applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Duly registered for-profit company operating in Uganda
  • Tax compliant and have no open tax or fraud issues
  • Company products fit in either Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3 solar systems as recommended here
  • Have relevant evidence of their sales subsidized
  • Have at least one of the following documentations:

 

How to apply

Eligible companies can apply by completing the application form here and submit it to:

procurement@psfuganda.org.ug and fkajura@psfuganda.org.ug

Copy: marsida.rada@giz.de

Guidelines for applicants are available here.

Submission deadline: 07th September 2021 at 05:00pm

For more information contact:

Tel: +256 789532670

Email: fkajura@psfuganda.org.ug

Visit: https://psfuganda.org/psfuopportunities/consultancy.html


03 September deadline approaches for the Goldstone Small and Growing Business Accelerator – apply now!

03 September deadline approaches for the Goldstone Small and Growing Business Accelerator – apply now!

 

In partnership with Argidius Foundation and Village CapitalGoldstone Consulting invites applicants for its Small and Growing Business Accelerator program. Goldstone Consulting is a Kampala-based enterprise consulting and training firm that aims to lead the way in poverty alleviation through enterprise development. With over a decade of experience, Goldstone Consulting has delivered over twenty-three projects and three accelerator/investment readiness programs for entrepreneurs.

The accelerator program aims to support small and growing businesses active in water and sanitation, education, agribusiness, and renewable energy sectors through common challenges by preparing them to apply best practices and strategies for business growth. The program will also build confidence for enterprises which is critical for raising funds.

 

How will successful applicants benefit?

As part of the 3-months program, entrepreneurs will gain access to:

  • Participation in online training sessions to improve their business skills
  • Support to develop and refine business strategies to increase competitiveness
  • Mentorship and coaching directly from industry experts
  • Linkages to access financing for their businesses

 

Who can apply?

The program is open to Ugandan companies that meet the following requirements:

  • Have been in operation for three years and above
  • Demonstrate ability to absorb funding between UGX 70 million – UGX 1 billion
  • Operate in any of the following sectors: water and sanitation, education, agribusiness, or renewable energy
  • Employ between 5 – 100 staff, including seasonal and casual staff
  • The applicant is the founder/co-founder of the business

 

How to apply

Eligible businesses can apply here.

Application deadline:  03 September 2021

 

For more information,

Call: +256752650042

Email: goldstoneect@gmail.com

Visit: https://goldstone-ect.org/


Interested in enhancing your business’ digital footprint? Apply for the Digital Launchpad program today! 

Norwegian Agency for Development (NORAD), in partnership with Africa118, is inviting entrepreneurs to apply for the Digital Launchpad program. The program will support over 3,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in six African countries including 250 in Uganda with access to training in financial literacy, digital marketing, and investment readiness as well as support with e-commerce and access to financing. The Digital Launchpad program targets SMEs with less than 50 employees and limited digital marketing expertise with a particular focus on businesses involved in tourism, export, agribusiness, fisheries and acquaculture, among others.

 

Why should you join the program?

By joining the program, your enterprise will benefit from the following support:

  • Receive in-depth digital skills and financial literacy training
  • Engage in digital marketing campaigns to grow your business
  • Develop a professional website and a business profile to improve your online visibility
  • Access to professional emailing services on Google workspace
  • Participate in expert business mentorship and coaching
  • Receive assistance in building business networks

 

Who is eligible? 

The program is open to SMEs that meet the following criteria:

  • Legally registered businesses in either Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, or Ghana
  • Employ less than 50 staff
  • Possess limited digital marketing expertise
  • Confirm availability to attend the scheduled training, coaching acceleration, and mentorship activities
  • Demonstrate the willingness to contribute 50% of the cost (UGX 700,000) for services offered in year 2 and 100% of the cost (UGX 1,400,000) for assistance in year 3
  • Commit to participate for the entire 3-year program duration from 2021 to 2023

NB: The program will give priority to women and youth-owned businesses. 

 

How to apply

Eligible enterprises can apply here.

Applications are received on a rolling basis.

 

For more information contact:

Phone: +254 729 905156

Email:  digitalaunchpad@africa118.com

Visit: https://digitalaunchpad.africa118.com


Interested in Advertising Your Business on Social Media? Start Here!

A common mistake many business owners make when delving into the world of social media for the first time is failing to define clear goals. With COVID-19 pushing more businesses online and platforms being flooded with other brands, it’s more important than ever to identify what you want to achieve so that you can take the needed steps to see your brand thrive online!

Social media platforms popular among businesses include Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. They can be used to drive business growth by increasing brand awareness (the number of people who know about your business), enhancing your brand reputation (improving their view of what you offer) and growing your revenue (by leading to new sales).

Your objectives for promoting your business on social media should be SMART:

  • Specific: Setting a specific and clear goal to ‘reach 200 new followers’ is more useful than having a goal of ‘increasing followers’ and can help you track your progress.
  • Measurable: ‘Increase revenue’ is not a goal unless you have a metric to measure your success. Some social media metrics include the number of likes, followers, and shares you reach on a particular platform (see below for more on these).
  • Attainable: Your goals should be challenging but be within reach. If you currently have 500 followers, a realistic target would be to reach 600 followers within two months, not 2000.
  • Relevant: Understand how your goal will benefit your business and make sure it meets your needs. If your business is targeting professionals, it may make more sense to advertise on a platform like LinkedIn. If it targets everyday consumers, Facebook and Instagram may be more appropriate.
  • Timely: Include a deadline for your goals so that you keep motivated and know when to see your success.

 

Once you have set objectives, the next step is to begin posting! Once you do that, you’ll want to measure the success of your social media performance. This will help you understand what kinds of posts are most popular and on which platforms.

Some common metrics you’ll want to track include:

  • Social Sharing: When a user reposts or sends your content/post to their networks and connections.
  • Impressions:Impressions are the number of times a post from your page is displayed.
  • Post Reach:the number of people who saw your post in their newsfeed.

You may want to think about using social media platforms not only to advertise but also to understand where you can do better. A few ideas include asking social media users to rate from 0 to 10 how likely they are to recommend your product or service or to ask about their level of satisfaction with a particular product or service (such as whether they are “Very unsatisfied”, “Unsatisfied”, “Neutral”, “Satisfied” or “Very Satisfied”). This kind of information can help you make tweaks that can bring your business to the next level.


Streamlining the Invoicing Process

Streamlining the Invoicing Process

While invoicing may not be the most enjoyable part of running a business, it is crucial to keep any company running. With the pandemic creating many challenges in cash flow management, it is now more important than ever to have a strong invoicing system. Here are three tips to improve your invoice management.

 

  1. Establish clear payment terms

Before entering into a contract or payment agreement with a client, make sure to explain your payment terms and policies to them. For example, if your terms are to receive payment within 15 days of issuance, let them know that up front. This allows your clients to avoid unwelcome surprises and fees when they receive invoices. Establishing this level of transparency also helps to build a stronger relationship with your clients.

 

  1. Know your clients

To ensure you receive payments in a timely and convenient manner, it is important to understand how your client behaves and their concerns and needs. Do they have a particular time of the week or month when they receive payment from an employer or their own clients? Do they prefer paying via cash or mobile money? Having a brief conversation with your clients can allow you to tailor payment terms to their cash flows and preferred methods of payment, which will make it easier for you to collect what is due. This can also help you understand when clients might require new deliveries of your product or services.

 

  1. Go digital

As businesses start shifting online, many companies expect digital payment solutions that allow them to make payments at any time from anywhere. Providing an online payment solution can save time in the invoicing process, allowing you to focus more on other important tasks. Digital solutions can also help you increase savings by reducing your expenses on delivery fees, paper costs, or additional staff or programs to handle the invoicing process.

Some useful online invoicing platforms include Zoho Invoice, Paypal, Pesapal and Easypay digital wallet that help you automate, track and organize payments.

 

 

 


Are you a startup ready for the next level of business growth? Apply for the NINJA accelerator program today!

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in partnership with The Innovation VillageHive Colab, and Outbox, invite high growth startups to apply for the NINJA accelerator program. The three-month pilot program aims to address critical challenges to support and strengthen Uganda’s startup ecosystem. The program will also provide startups with investment opportunities, assist them in shaping their business models, and offer unique business profitability and expansion solutions.

 

Why should you join the program?

Joining the program will enable your enterprise to move to the next level of development through accessing the following:

  • Advisory services from industry experts to help you address critical bottlenecks
  • Business support on product development and how to understand sector issues
  • Mentorship sessions in areas such as marketing, legal issues, and business strategy
  • An opportunity to pitch your business to various investment partners
  • Executive networking events with corporate partners
  • Funding opportunities for growth-stage startups looking for UGX 1.76 billion to UGX 3.52 trillion in investment

 

Who can apply?

The program is open to startups with high market traction that meet the following criteria:

  • Legally registered startup in Uganda
  • Have been in operation for at least one year
  • Should be at the growth stage of development, ideas are not accepted
  • Earning above UGX 176 million per year in revenue, although exceptions apply
  • Have audited / management books of accounts of the business
  • Have an economically viable business model
  • Demonstrate a strong promise of building a sustainable and impactful business
  • Possess a diverse and focused leadership team with at least one team member with strong sector expertise

 

How to apply

Eligible startups can apply here.

Application deadline: 22nd August 2021

For more information, visit Ninja Jica.


Learn how the Deal Flow Facility (DFF) will support medium to large companies to attract investment finance

The Deal Flow Facility (DFF) is a collaboration between Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Uganda, the European Union (EU) and Capital Markets Authority (CMA) to increase access to long term finance for large companies in Uganda. The facility will support mature enterprises that have outgrown bank finance to scale their businesses using alternative finance. The DFF is to build the capacity of companies and make them investment-ready and work with investors to help them identify investable opportunities. The facility will bridge the gap between enterprises and market intermediaries to address the ecosystem’s financial challenges over five years.

 

What are the expected benefits to enterprises?

The facility will offer the following benefits:

 

  • Provide customized investment readiness training support to 200 enterprises
  • Facilitate 40 investment deals for enterprises
  • Develop tools and templates to ease access to funds for companies
  • Provide business advisory service on finance, tax and legal to the companies
  • Give direct input to policies and regulations on capital markets
  • Support increased productivity and scaling for participating enterprises
  • Create direct and indirect jobs within the ecosystem

 

What enterprises is the facility targeting?

The facility is targeting enterprises that are:

  • Legally registered business with Uganda Registration Service Bureau (URSB)
  • Mature and medium to large enterprises with at least ten years in operation.
  • Seeking debt or equity funding of UGX 1.8 billion and above.
  • Operating in any sector and want to scale up

 

How to participate 

FSD Uganda will source the enterprises through:

  • A call for expression of interest using various media channels
  • Engaging entrepreneurial associations to identify enterprises seeking investment.

Eligible entrepreneurs will have to submit their applications and selections done for participating in the different cohorts. The first cohort will start in September 2021.

 

For more information contact:

Diana Ngaira

FSD Uganda – Communication Specialist

Email: dngaira@fsduganda.or.ug

Tel: +256 773 248310


Have a business that operates in the Blue Economy sector? Apply for the 2021 Pangea Blue Economy Accelerator program today!

Have a business that operates in the Blue Economy sector? Apply for the 2021 Pangea Blue Economy Accelerator program today!

 

Pangea, an accelerator and investment platform that helps startups build skills and facilitates matches with investors, invites applications from businesses in Africa for its Blue Economy Accelerator Program. Applications are due for the three-month program on 29 August 2021.

The program aims to support women- and youth-owned enterprises operating in the Blue Economy sector, which refers to the sustainable use of lakes, rivers, seas, and oceans for economic growth. Successful applicants will benefit from:

  • Access to market linkages through Business 2 Business (B2B) opportunities with leading businesses in the sector.
  • Intensive learning using a tailored curriculum based on an individual business evaluation to meet each company’s unique needs.
  • Personalized coaching to help companies tailor growth strategies.
  • Access to tools and skills necessary to secure investment from a pre-selected pool of investors offering early-stage funding of up to UGX 350 million or seed funding of up to UGX 1.76 trillion. 
  • Opportunity to build relationships and tap into a strong network of other businesses operating in the sector.

 

Who is eligible to apply?

The program is open to startups in Africa that operate in the following sectors:

  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Tourism
  • Climate action
  • Cold chain logistics
  • Maritime and shipping
  • Digital solutions
  • Security and Data

 

How to apply

Eligible entrepreneurs can apply online here.

Deadline: 29 August 2021

 

For more information: 

Email: info@pangeaaccelerator.com

Visit https://www.pangeaa.com/blue-economy/African


Optimizing digital tools to boost efficiency and productivity during the pandemic

Optimizing digital tools to boost efficiency and productivity during the pandemic

 

Michael Niyitegaka is a digital technology specialist and Program Director of Refactory at Clarke International University. He is engaged in digital skilling and developing solutions for the digital economy ecosystem in Uganda. The COVID-19 Business Info Hub spoke with Michael to understand his perspective on how businesses can use digital tools to improve business efficiency and boost productivity.

 

What digital tools can businesses use to improve workplace productivity during this period?

There are many digital tools, but any enterprise needs to think about team management tools during this period. Such tools will help businesses gain visibility and control of what staff are doing, especially now that most companies work remotely. Here are some tools that improve productivity at work:

Slack: Slack is valuable for communication among staff. It allows communication and quick exchange of information within a team. Slack integrates well with other tools.

Trello: Trello is a handy tool used in task management. It is a simple and intuitive tool for structuring tasks and enables a high degree of transparency in the team. It uses templates for task orientation and automation.

Google workspace: Google workspace allows you to get all work done in one place. Companies can use a range of Google productivity applications, such as the Google Calendar for scheduling, to keep everyone updated. The Google Docs application enables team members to create files and allows real-time editing and feedback using comments and suggestions.

Zoom: Zoom allows you to hold meetings, training sessions, and other events with remote team members any time from any device supporting the application. Businesses can save money and time on travel and still have real-time and even face-to-face (via video) interactions.

Digital payment: Transaction-oriented businesses need the integration of digital payment tools. These include mobile money, Visa, or Paypal payment services. It allows fast-tracking of sales and is convenient for customers. I encourage entrepreneurs to consider it.

It is vital for businesses to integrate convenient tools that bring out efficiencies and optimize available resources.

 

What can businesses do to improve the workers’ digital skills and proficiency?

Digital skills and proficiency allow workers to engage with the digital tools to be more productive. It enables workers to solve problems and innovate ways that can propel the business. Although most companies take digital literacy training for granted, it is necessary to improve workers’ digital skills and proficiency. Companies have to invest in digital literacy to leverage value out of introducing digital tools and fully appreciate the capability of the technology they possess. I recently was doing training for one entity, and they were amazed at how much they are paying for but how little they are using.

 

How can SMEs access training on digital literacy and skilling?

There are several training resources available on digital literacy and skills. For business, I recommend the digital skills framework used by  International Computer Driving License (ICDL) because it is a global framework used across different markets.

We are putting together a training program targeting how SMEs can integrate digital literacy in the operations at Refractory. The program will start in August 2021, and Clarke International University will deliver the training. We will also set up a separate program called the Executive Catalyst to help business owners understand how to integrate and use technology to grow their business.

 

To learn more about digital tools and our programs; 

Call: +256772672300

Email: mniyitegeka@ciu.ac.ug


Six ways to improve the customer experience

Six Ways to Improve the Customer Experience

We know that it is challenging to operate a small business in the existing environment, and it may be tough to find or maintain customers. Despite this, there are things you can do to keep customers coming back for more – and many of them can be done from home. Read/watch to see six ways you can improve the customer experience.

Maintaining a loyal client base is significantly cheaper than investing in new customers. An improved customer experience can result in creating brand ambassadors among your existing client base. Satisfied customers will spread the word about your business to his or her networks, leading to new customers, as most people make purchases from businesses based on recommendations from friends or family members.

  1. Respond quickly to inquiries from your clients. A fast response time will make your customer feel valued. A customer that feels valued is more likely to become a loyal customer.
  2. Implement customer feedback. Ask for customer feedback and then be sure to incorporate suggestions into your operations – this fosters trust and healthy relationships. A good suggestion may also help improve your bottom-line.
  3. Train employees to listen well and take a proactive approach. Employees may need your guidance on how to engage with customers – it is important that the customer feels heard. Employees should also take a proactive approach to interact with customers – ask them to think about what products or services they can offer on behalf of the business to solve customers’ problems or make life a little easier.
  4. Keep your clients engaged across their client life cycle. The client life cycle includes the discovery stage, education phase, buying stage, post-sale interaction, and advocacy. While many businesses focus on the first three stages, the final two stages are equally important. For example, pretend you are operating a business selling electronic items, and a client buys a phone from you. After he or she makes the purchase, assure them that you are available if they need help operating the phone. This effort will mitigate any uneasy feelings the client might have about making the purchase and motivate them to recommend your services to her networks.
  1. Use positive language while interacting with clients. Interacting with clients in a positive language will help you to connect with them on a personal level. Most clients are sensitive to attitudes channeled through interactions so its crucial to use language that takes into consideration of the client’s emotional state and expectation. Positive language can enhance customer engagement and satisfaction hence creating a positive customer experience.
  2. Reward loyal customers. By rewarding loyal clients, you are compelling them to repeat their behavior. This behavior translates to more business for you. Rewarded customers can also act as excellent referrals for your business and increase your brand awareness in the long run.

Try some of these tips to leverage your current client base to generate more sales and leads for your business. Let us know how it goes at covid19businessinfohub@gmail.com.