Women Agripreneur

Are you an innovative women agripreneur? Apply for the AGRA VALUE4HER Women Agripreneur of the Year Awards before 31 May 2022

AGRA, a farmer-centered, African-led, and partnerships-driven institution that catalyzes inclusive agricultural transformation in Africa, invites applicants for the VALUE4HER Women Agripreneur of the Year Awards (WAYA 2022). The award recognizes African women agripreneurs who have excelled in the agricultural value chain and have demonstrated exceptional innovation that addresses food security, climate resilience, and women and youth empowerment.

The WAYA awards recognize established and emerging women agripreneur in three categories: young female entrepreneur (rising star), outstanding value-adding enterprise, and female agriculture technology innovator. Winners of each category will receive a cash prize of USD 20,000.

Women agripreneurs interested in participating must fulfill the following criteria to apply:

  • Be operating in agriculture/agribusiness value chains
  • Have an innovative product/service
  • Be a national from one of the 54 African countries
  • Have a solid digital footprint and be a VALUE4HER member
  • Be a remarkable community leader actively amplifying the voice of women.

To apply for the WAYA awards, visit: WAYA Application


Agri-food

Are you an entrepreneur in the Agri-food sector interested in scaling up your business? Apply for the GoGettaz Competition by 6 June 2022

Generation Africa, a partnership initiative aimed at strengthening the ecosystem for young entrepreneurs in the agri-food sector, invites applicants for the GoGetttaz Agripreneur Competition. This year’s edition will focus on supporting entrepreneurs whose ventures battle climate change, hunger, and poverty. Interested applicants must join theGoGettaz community before applying. Through the GoGettaz community, they will gain access to education, mentorship, and investment networks to help them launch, grow and scale their agri-food ventures. Additionally, two successful participants (one female and one male) will win USD 50,000 as a prize for the most innovative and scalable business ventures.

Interested entrepreneurs must fulfill the following criteria to apply:

  • Be aged 35 years or younger on the date of submission and be legally recognized as an adult in the country of their nationality
  • Have nationality (with an official ID) from an African Union member country
  • Be a founder/co-founder of the venture he/she represents in the Competition and play an active role in its leadership and operations
  • Have no criminal record related to corruption, tax evasion, financial impropriety, felony, or other offense and be willing to offer a signed declaration to that effect, if requested

Additionally, the business venture must also fulfill the following criteria to be considered for the Competition:

  • Be legally registered in a country that is a member of the African Union or will have commenced with the registration of such a legal entity before 1 July 2022
  • Be headquartered in a country that is a member of the African Union
  • Be designed to be financially sustainable, either as a for-profit business or a non-profit generating some revenue and aiming not to be dependent on donor funding
  • Have a role to play in the agri-food sector and/or supports the development of the agri-food sector through an innovation or process improvement
  • The agri-food sector may be defined as businesses including:
  • Agri-food research & development
  • Primary food production (farming)
  • Crop nutrition
  • Irrigation
  • Mechanization, automation, or robotics, including drones
  • Crop protection
  • Hydroponics or urban farming
  • Transport, distribution, storage, or logistics
  • Food processing
  • Packaging or marketing
  • Food retail or service
  • Waste management or recycling
  • Digital or technology solutions/services to the agri-food sector
  • Innovative finance solutions/services to the agri-food sector
  • Renewable energy or environmental solutions/services to the agri-food sector

To apply for this Competition, visit: GoGettaz Competition Application


African female entrepreneurs

Are you an African female entrepreneur interested in preparing your business for investment? Apply for the ShEquity Business Accelerator program by 6 May 2022

ShEquity, an investment catalyst for African female entrepreneurs, invites applicants for ShEquity Business Accelerator program (SHEBA). The 16-week program focuses on preparing female-led and -owned businesses for investment with the goal of increasing their chances of accessing seed funding. The program is also designed to enhance leadership and soft skills needed to engage with key partners/customers and to inspire women entrepreneurs to revamp and test their marketing strategies.

Through the program, participants will be equipped with the skillset to develop new business models and mindsets for innovation while leveraging existing tools that will help them maintain a competitive edge. The program supports African female entrepreneurs in agribusiness (agritech, production, processing wholesale & retailing, any other agribusiness value chain aspects), healthcare, tech-enabled solutions (fintech, clean tech, etc.), renewable energies, mobility and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs).

To apply for this program, visit: SHEBA Application


young innovators

Are you a young tech innovator interested in scaling up your solution? Apply for the Africa Impact Challenge before 1 October 2022

Africa Impact Initiative, a Canada-based organization committed to supporting young innovators, invites applicants for their Africa Impact Challenge. The goal of the Challenge is to enable young tech innovators from Africa to build market-creating innovations that tackle their country’s challenges with technology.

Successful participants will be offered the capital of up to UGX 70,212,565, resources, and a paid incubation period at the University of Toronto to build viable solutions. Interested participants should have comprehensive tech-enabled solutions that address an identified problem/challenge in their respective countries. Preference will be given to scalable, innovative business models with solutions that target non-consumption by increasing adoption, accessibility, or affordability.

Interested participants must fulfill the following to apply

  • Be African under 39 years of age living in the countries of the given year’s Challenge
  • Have a desire to pursue impact-focused entrepreneurship as a means of livelihood
  • Have a desire to solve critical problems with technology
  • Have full-time commitment from the team building the ventures
  • Stream 1: Ventures based in Rwanda from any sector
  • Stream 2: Ventures based across Africa that enable positive health outcomes

To apply for this Challenge, visit: Submit Application


Stanbic Business Incubator Limited 

Business Training During the Pandemic: Experiences, Lessons and Recommendations from the Stanbic Business Incubator Limited 

As the pandemic enters its third year, governments and the private sector reflect on the lessons learned from COVID-19. The last two years have yielded extensive data on how external shocks and crisis response can affect the business community.  

Stanbic Business Incubator Limited (SBIL) has played a key role in supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Uganda, guiding many businesses through the pandemic’s perpetual twists and turns while helping them to make sense of the information overflow. To benefit from these lessons, the COVID-19 Business Info Hub will highlight SBIL’s experience throughout the pandemic in an effort to benefit the Ugandan business community. 

Founded in 2018 and operating under Stanbic Uganda Holdings Limited, the Stanbic Business Incubator Limited runs capacity building and entrepreneurship development programs for SMEs. In 2021 alone,  SBIL managed to train over 700 business owners from various sectors and more than 4500 entrepreneurs across Uganda. Drawing from SBIL’s experience in training SMEs through the pandemic, this series will focus on the experience of the Incubator’s experts and training staff through interviews and first-hand discussions. Our readers can expect insight into different topics, including: 

  • A high-level overview of SBIL’s impact, responses, and opportunities for SMEs as they navigate the pandemic 
  • An exploration of SBIL’s partnerships and upcoming programs helps to outline what it prioritizes for members of the business development workshop. 
  • Reflecting on 2021’s selection of training programs, Incubator staff discuss the experience of the program’s exiting alumni so businesses can learn from their peers 
  • First-hand interviews with alumni and non-members help to better understand SMEs biggest needs while sharing frontline experience as they navigate the pandemic 

Over the next five articles, we’ll help SMEs understand the unfolding business environment with experience from SBIL’s practitioners, managers and businessowners. Readers are likely to find business insights that will help in developing new strategies and tactics to maintain their business competitiveness while responding to the fast-changing conditions of an evolving pandemic. 

Interested businessowners may be interested in SBIL’s upcoming schedule of master classes, training events, cohorts and partnership events. Similarly, readers may be interested in the Compassionate Leadership Webinar Series, which provides training through a slate of webinars. Updates on all these programs and more will be available on the COVID-19 Business Info Hub. 

Ultimately, the coming series of articles provides opportunity for businesses to benefit from peer-learning and the guidance of an industry stalwart. We look forward to you joining us.  

 


WIA 54 programme

Are you a woman entrepreneur interested in scaling your business? Apply for the WIA 54 programme before 31 May 2022

Women in Africa (WIA), a social impact company supporting African women entrepreneurs, invites applicants for the WIA 54 programme( WIA54). WIA will support 540 finalists from 54 African countries with training and personalized mentoring via a boot camp. The programme will be carried out in three phases including:

  • Training phase: Selected entrepreneurs will participate in a virtual orientation programme to learn more about the process and receive a timeline and overview of available resources. Additionally, participants for this phase will receive intensive business management training.
  • Mentoring phase: This phase will last six months for select participants. Selected entrepreneurs will be offered mentors to support them in integrating learnings from the training into their business plan. After the mentoring phase, select candidates will participate in a pitching phase, which will give them access to investors and seed capital.
  • Pitching phase: Select participants will have the opportunity to demonstrate their business knowledge to convince the jury on the viability of their business to access funds.

Interested applicants should fulfil the following eligibility criteria to apply:

  • Business should be created or led by an African woman
  • Have a first traction on the market (sales, number of users, funds raised)
  • Be part of one of the following sectors: agriculture & agritech, food & foodtech, education & edutech, fintech, environment & sustainable development, beauty or creative industry, or health & healthtech

The selection of projects will be based on the following criteria:

  • Innovativeness of the product, service, or technology
  • Proven business model scalability
  • Growth potential
  • Demonstration of an ambitious team with solid execution ability
  • Market traction (revenue, number of users, funds raised)
  • Potential for impact in Africa

To apply for the WIA54 programme, visit: WIA 54 Program Application


Lessons learned on business compliance

Our focus on business compliance this past month has provided business owners with a roadmap to become and remain fully compliant. While compliance is often seen as meaning businesses see greater tax, registration and administrative obligations, the benefits from otherwise unavailable funding, partnership, and growth opportunities make these obligations worthwhile. Compliant businesses are more likely to access credit and investment capital, develop their operations more quickly, and benefit from partnerships with larger companies looking for downstream suppliers. To wrap up our series, we’ve rounded up the key lessons from interviews with experts and practitioners that discussed the ins and outs of business compliance. 

Business Registration 

Business registration is the process of formalizing your business – it starts with the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) and is the first step in business compliance. Business owners must decide whether they will register as a sole proprietorship – a business consisting of a single person – or as a company – a business with multiple members that may protect owners from the company’s legal liabilities. A sole proprietorship typically requires submission of an online form as well as payment of a one-time 24,000 UGX registration fee. Companies require greater administrative paperwork and must pay an incorporation fee based on the starting capital used for the business. They must also submit annual returns forms.  

Tax Compliance 

Tax compliance refers to the fulfillment of a business’ tax obligations as outlined by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA). Tax-compliant businesses need to register for a free, ten-digit Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) that allows them to fulfill their tax obligations. The TIN also allows businesses to obtain operating licenses necessary to work in a given industry. After obtaining their TIN, businesses file annual tax returns and pay any owed taxes.  Business owners can opt to pay their tax obligations annually, bi-annually, quarterly, or even monthly. While businesses can seek advice from a tax consultant, there are many URA resources available to businesses that can help guide them through their tax compliance journey. 

Human Resource Compliance 

Human Resource (HR) compliance specifically addresses the health and safety of a business’ staff while mitigating risks and hazards to health in the workplace. Businesses not prioritizing HR compliance may face serious consequences from officials such as closures or imprisonment if a staff member is harmed in the course of their job. To ensure compliance, businesses are encouraged to research requirements for their particular industry and designate someone within their organization to monitor compliance practices. Usually, these compliance guidelines can be obtained from regulatory bodies such as the Federation of Uganda Employers (FUE) or local licensing bodies such as the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA). 

Third-Party Compliance 

Third-party compliance deals with agreements in third-party contracts to ensure that the parties involved adhere to its rules, or in the event that they do not, are held liable. To start, businesses should be formally registered to ensure that all parties are governed by the rules and regulations applicable within their particular industry. Businesses entering into a third-party contract should be on the lookout for potential risks such as inflexibility in contracts, which may not take into account unexpected business interruptions, or unsuitable contract conditions transposed from other contexts such as copying western-styled contracts which do not account for the nuances of the Ugandan business environment. To limit risk in third-party contracts, businesses should carefully review contract terms of reference, payment structures, timelines, and arbitration methods. 

Investment Compliance 

Investment compliance addresses businesses’ need for investment to grow and expand operations. Larger companies and partners looking to invest in smaller businesses generally seek companies brandishing a risk-mitigation strategy. This usually begins with basic business compliance steps such as registering their business, obtaining a TIN, and having the appropriate licenses to operate within their industry sector. To help businesses better understand investment compliance obligations, the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) provides resources such as their One-Stop Center which places all the regulatory agencies and authorities under a single roof.  

In closing, businesses seeking new growth, investment, and partnership opportunities should determine what compliance areas need attention and address those needs. For a better understanding of the individual compliance areas, readers should visit our corresponding articles for an in-depth read. Stay tuned for our next series to help navigate Uganda’s intricate business environment. 


A Year in Review

The COVID-19 Business Info Hub has tackled a number of topics this past year aimed at supporting you as an SME. We have featured articles with insights from public sector experts, business owners and entrepreneurs, and industry stakeholders from across sectors to help you grow your business despite challenging times. Below are some of the articles from the past year that entrepreneurs and business owners found most insightful. Stay tuned – there’s plenty more to come in 2022!

Voices of Young Entrepreneurs

Transforming innovative ideas of the youth into viable business ventures – Diana Ntamu, Director MUBS Centre.

Voices from the Oil and Gas Sector

Stanbic Business Incubator Chief Executive gives an overview of the opportunities for SMEs in the Oil and Gas Value Chain in Uganda

Voices of the Agribusiness Sector

Learn how Stanbic Bank Uganda’s One Farm Platform promotes business linkages within the agribusiness sector

Growing Your Skills

Learn from Lilian Katiso, Proprietor of Maua and More, on the strategies she implemented to ensure business continuity during crisis

Thinking of starting a business or growing your startup but unsure of where to start? Develop a Business Model Canvas


Do you have a tech initiative that drives civic participation? Apply for Round I of the Africa Union Civic Tech Fund by 16 January 2022!

The African Union Civic Tech Fund is a pan-African competition seeks to support innovative civic initiatives that demonstrate the potential to lead to citizen-led transformative action across the African continent. Through the Fund, select initiatives will be awarded financial support ranging from EUR 10,000 to EUR 20,000 over an implementation period of six months to be focused on upscaling, adaptation, or replication of pre-existing civic tech initiatives. Support may also be channeled towards funding the deployment of civic technology in partnership with a particular citizen group or civil society that does not have the expertise to do so independently.  

In addition to financial support, the Fund will also provide technical support, including:  

  • Technical support 
    • Virtual inception/acceleration week (hosted by AfriLabs) 
    • Provision of embedded technical expertise through the engagement of civic tech specialists 
  • Thematic support 
    • Provision of thematic expertise on democracy support, African Union governance & continental policymaking 
  • Marketing, communication & showcasing support 
    • Facilitation of access to decision-makers at the African Union level as well as the international development community 
  • Peer-to-peer learning & networking  
    • Facilitation of exchange between recipients and other members of related civic tech ecosystems 

Priorities for the Fund are across relevant areas such as participation in public space and public discourse, electoral cycles and elections, rule of law and orderly transfers of power between governments, democratic culture and political pluralism, peace and security, and human, economic, and sustainable development. An example of a potential initiative would be one that may propose to leverage technology to enable citizens to have a voice on key issues within their constituencies such as by encouraging participation in digital councils.  

Interested applicants must fulfill the following to apply: 

  • Legal entity 
  • Registered in an African Union Member State 
  • Able to sign a service contract agreement (as opposed to a grant contract agreement) 
  • Not be bankrupt, in the process of being wound up, nor have its affairs administered by the courts 
  • Must not have received an adverse audit opinion from its own auditors or its donors’ auditor 
  • Must have policies in place and/or practices in place to guarantee the ethical management of personal identifiable information 

Proposals are due 16 January 2022. Preliminary award decisions will be made in February 2022, with implementation set to take place between April and September 2022.  

For more information about the Fund, visit: CIVIC TECH FUND 

To apply, visit: CIVIC TECH FUND Application 


Are you an SME that wants to engage in a third-party contract but unsure of what it takes to do it well? Apollo Muyanja Mbazzira from Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) answers key questions to help you get started

Are you an SME that wants to engage in a third-party contract but unsure of what it takes to do it well? Apollo Muyanja Mbazzira from Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) answers key questions to help you get started 

Third-party contracts (also referred to as implementing partner contracts) are agreements wherein a third business supports a contract between two distinct businesses by providing goods or services that support a common goal. These contracts are critical for the profitability of many businesses and key to the Ugandan economy. Small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs) often build their businesses around serving as third-party suppliers, playing a critical and integral role in supply chains by contributing the goods and services that support lead firms’ operations.  

For instance, independent SMEs may provide contracting services to a larger manufacturing firm. Lead firms – the larger companies at the top of the supply chain – typically need these SMEs to build their supply chains or ensure that they maintain market leadership. But along with important benefits both for lead firms and implementing partners, engaging in third-party contracts comes with unique risks. Fortunately, those risks can be managed by best practices around third-party compliance.  

The COVID-19 Business Info Hub sat down with Apollo Muyanja Mbazzira, a project director with Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) to understand more about the topic. PSFU recently partnered with Mastercard Foundation to design and implement the Lead Firm Structure for Youth Employment in Uganda program. Operating as an implementing partner for Mastercard Foundation has given PSFU first-hand expertise on the importance and benefits of third-party compliance. 

What is third-party compliance? 

Before diving into the ins and outs of third-party compliance, Apollo defines what it means – essentially, it means that the parties in a supply contract adhere to the rules of that contract and are held liable in the case that they do not.  

As a key first step, SMEs engaged by lead firms in an implementing partner contract typically need to be business compliant – registered with a TIN and up to date with all tax obligations. This ensures that the businesses involved in the implementing partner contract are all governed by rules and regulations that apply to the sector they are operating in and can be held legally liable in the case that they do not fulfill a particular obligation.  

What are the risks around engaging in third-party contracts? 

Contract inflexibility is a major risk that comes with third-party contracts. With more parties involved than in a simpler two-party contract, delays in deliverables or changes to activities may be more likely and have broader effects. If the contract is not structured in such a way as to allow for some contingency or for a method of modifying activities based on challenges or changes that come up, these delays or changes can cause issues with the ability of some parties to meet obligations or receive payments.  

Apollo also explains that some contract structures employed in Uganda have been borrowed from Western contexts. These contracts are modeled on a business structure and relationship that does not consider the nuances of Uganda’s business environment. This creates a risk to SMEs who may enter a contract that disadvantages them in their relationship as an implementing party. A typical example is that large manufacturers in Uganda are surrounded by companies that may prefer to acquire goods and services from informal service providers, which are considered much cheaper in comparison with formally run businesses. A third party contract written in Western contexts may restrict hiring to only formal service providers – and therefore put the contractor at risk of breach of contract for hiring informally. It is important to look for these kinds of nuances when reviewing a contract and ensure that the terms match.  

Are there best practices that help to mitigate those risks? 

The main tool that businesses have in mitigating the risks that come along with implementing third-party contracts is to ensure that obligations are spelled out clearly in the contract itself. In particular, businesses should pay attention to the following:  

  • Terms of reference – Are the obligations and activities required by all parties spelled out clearly? Is it obvious which party is responsible for what? 
  • Payment structure – Are the deliverables due to trigger payments from one party to another clear? Is there a timeline in place for invoice due dates and payment turnaround times? 
  • Timeline – Are there deadlines for obligations and activities in place? Is there a contingency plan or method for managing delays? 
  • Arbitration methods – While no business wants to think about what might happen if they or a partner business violates the terms of an implementing partner contract, it is sometimes unavoidable. In this case, is it clear what the method of arbitration will be?  

Ensuring these basic aspects of an implementing partner contract are in order safeguards businesses from major risks while allowing them to grow their business and network. Businesses are encouraged to engage their third-party counterparts to ensure their partnerships are mutually fair and beneficial.