Webinar: Entrepreneurial competencies

Key takeaways from the Abantu Impact Foundation webinar: Entrepreneurial competencies – making African businesses survive and thrive in a pandemic

Webinar: Entrepreneurial competencies

Key takeaways from the Abantu Impact Foundation webinar: Entrepreneurial competencies – making African businesses survive and thrive in a pandemic

The Abantu Impact Foundation is an Africa-focused social impact organization that exists to reduce poverty in sub-Saharan Africa by investing in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them become engines of economic development. In a bid to realize their purpose, on 18th February 2021, the foundation held a webinar entitled: Entrepreneurial Competencies– Making African businesses survive and thrive in the pandemic”. The speakers were Dr. Justina Mutale, Founder & President of Justina Mutale Foundation for Leadership, and Ms. Gugu Ndebele, Executive Director of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (OWLAG).

The webinar focused on providing practical information to African entrepreneurs on how to break barriers to collaboration and seek new opportunities in the face of the challenges caused by the pandemic. The entrepreneurs were advised to embrace the Africa free common market (AfCFTA) to benefit from trade opportunities. The speakers also advised that SME growth during this tough time requires adapting to the situation at hand and ensuring entrepreneurs are innovative, creative and agile to remain competitive in the market. Panelists emphasized that entrepreneurs need practical skills in critical thinking and problem solving to be able to overcome different challenges. For details about the webinar watch the recording on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LSyPIdYHdw.

During the webinar, Abantu Impact Foundation’s CEO, Keith Kibirango, launched the Abantu COVID-19 Resilience Fund for SMEs at risk of business closure as a result of the pandemic. The fund is accessible to SMEs within the Sub-Saharan region in the sectors of agribusiness, manufacturing, technology, healthcare, education and renewable energy. Beneficiaries will have access to long-term soft loans plus information on how to strategize and diversify their businesses.


For details about the Abantu COVID-19 Resilience Fund, email info@abantuimpactfoundation.org.


Tips and Benefits for SME Tax Compliance in 2021

Tax compliance can be a challenging undertaking from the perspective of SME business owners, but it is an important business decision. The starting point is registering for a Tax Identification Number (TIN) with Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and, after acquiring one, understanding the taxes applicable to your business. The different taxes include Pay As You Earn (PAYE), Income Tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), Withholding Tax, and Import Duty for businesses that import goods to the country. While electronic filing applies for all tax returns, recently URA introduced e-invoicing via the Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing System (EFRIS) – this required VAT-registered businesses to be on-boarded to the system by 1 January 2021.  Filing and paying of taxes have strict deadlines and failure to adhere may result in fines and penalties to the business. SMEs can avoid unnecessary penalties by being tax compliant if they follow these tips:

  • Conduct proper record keeping: This is critical for every SME because it allows you to have a comprehensive view of your business performance and conduct a clear self-assessment for required taxes. Business records can be maintained either in manual or digital formats.
  • Adhere to due dates: Due dates for submission of returns and payment of taxes are based upon Uganda’s financial year, which spans from 1st July to 30th Businesses are required to file PAYE returns every 15th day of the month and file annual income tax returns by 31st December every year.
  • Declare and pay the correct amount of tax: Declaring the incorrect amount of tax may result in you overpaying – (high tax liability) in turn reducing your business income. Sometimes you may end up underpaying taxes (tax leakage), which is a loss of revenue to the Government.
  • Seek the advice of a tax professional: SME owners sometimes do not know about the tax requirements and need a tax professional to advise on these issues so that your business is are tax compliant at all times. You can also get advice directly from URA at no charge at or look out for URA awareness seminars and trainings.

Following the above tips can result in better-informed decision making because the business operations are clear and up to date, reduced time required by auditors in the case of business audits, and increased revenue because extra costs and penalties are avoided. Importantly tax compliance can be a requirement to access business opportunities.

Always remember to follow up quickly should you receive a notice from URA about tax liability. If there are any challenges, there are procedures and measures available such as appealing to the Tax Tribunal. It may also help to hire a tax professional who can engage with URA on your behalf.

For more information on tax related issues visit: www.ura.go.ug or the URA offices in your location.

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

Learn how innovative ideas of the youth are transformed into viable business ventures - Diana Ntamu, Director of the MUBS Centre for Entrepreneurship


Ernest Wasake: Good Afternoon Diana, and I hope this finds you well. The Covid-19 Business Info Hub is happy to have you with us. Could you tell us your name and what do you do?

Diana Ntamu:  Thank you and it is my pleasure to be here. My name is Diana Ntamu. I am the Director of the MUBS Centre for Entrepreneurship Innovation and Incubation. I am also a senior lecturer at MUBS in the Department of Entrepreneurship. MUBS is the Makerere University Business School – a leading institution in management, training and research within the East African region. The institution provides training at Certificate, Diploma, Undergraduate, Masters and PhD level offering degrees from Makerere University. 

Ernest Wasake: Would you tell us about the MUBS Entrepreneurship Centre and the support that you have provided to businesses to grow and be competitive? 

Diana Ntamu: The Entrepreneurship Innovation and Incubation Centre was established in 1998 to support the development of entrepreneurs in the country after recognizing their role in driving business growth. At the establishment, it was known as the Small Business Development Centre that supported businesses through training and business clinics. It grew over time and in 2005 it became the Entrepreneurship Centre supporting not just small business development but the growth of entrepreneurship. About four years ago, the African Development Bank supported the establishment of incubation centres at public universities in Uganda and MUBS Entrepreneurship Centre was transformed into the Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Incubation Center. Its five focus areas include business incubation, training, provision and dissemination of information, research and consultancy.

The centre believes that individuals have unique ideas and need support to turn them into businesses. These individuals are guided through training, participate in enterprise challenges and then assigned mentors and coaches to develop the business ideas.  I am very happy to mention that we have partnered with Stanbic Bank Business Incubator to provide training to different entrepreneurs and I thank them for a great job. We also conduct research studies that generate important information for the programs that we are running. Recently we conducted a study on the resilience of Ugandan entrepreneurs in the face of Covid-19 and [entrepreneurs] shared interesting stories and experiences on how they managed the situation. 


Ernest Wasake: Would you give us a snapshot of what you discovered about the resilience of entrepreneurs from the Covid-19 research? 

Diana Ntamu: Well, in the Covid-19 research we defined resilience as the ability for the entrepreneur to adapt to or embrace change. 

Businesses that seemed to have thrived during the time are those that sought new opportunities coming with the challenge and changes of Covid-19. For example, there was a business in the education sector that embraced technology and took their whole school curriculum and services online. The school was able to teach their students, attract students from other schools and also identify new needs of these students.  


Ernest Wasake: Can you tell us about how the center has supported young entrepreneurs during the pandemic? 

Diana Ntamu: The pandemic hit us hard in the beginning but still managed to offer support to the young entrepreneurs by providing information and a platform to share their experiences. 

First, we run a survey to establish the entrepreneurs’ needs during the lock-down. After establishing these needs we linked them to their mentors to continue giving them support.  Secondly, we shifted the monthly innovation hour from a physical meeting to an online meeting. During this hour the young people were able talk about innovations but also learn from experienced entrepreneurs who shared their journeys. Although online participation was sometimes affected as some young people did not have internet access all time we also got a testimony of a young man in agro-processing who got knowledge and tips on how to sell online and was able to get market for his products which he did not have before.


Ernest Wasake: What can be done to increase the level of participation of young people in entrepreneurship? 

Diana Ntamu:  To increase the level of participation of young people in entrepreneurship a lot still needs to be done. 

 But first, is helping young people understand that entrepreneurship allows them to create their jobs and not face the challenges of the labour market. Second, the need for coordination and commitment of the players supporting the entrepreneurship ecosystem. A well-coordinated ecosystem will deliver a holistic package including training, finance, mentorship, coaching among others.  Another aspect is bringing on board role model entrepreneurs both young and old who have walked the journey to share and inspire the youth. It is also important to create challenges, exhibitions and competitions that get young people to think and become innovative so that their potential and wonderful ideas get to be known. Finally, handholding of these entrepreneurs and helping them access financial support at a certain stage to grow their businesses.


Ernest Wasake: What is the admission criteria to the centre and what does it take to be part of the incubation programs? 

Diana Ntamu: Admission to the become part of the entrepreneurship centre and incubation program is a very easy process. 

Send us an email on entre-shipcentre@mubs.ac.ug and our program officers will help you.  You can also call us on; +256414338125/6 or like us on Facebook –MUBS Entrepreneurship Centre and get to know our activities.  To join the incubation program individuals with innovative and impact ideas are selected and supported.

Gloria Kemigisha - House of Penda shares her business experience about the recent internet and social media shut down during the election period.

Gloria Kemigisha - House of Penda shares her business experience about the recent internet and social-media shut down during the election period.

Charity M Namala: Good Afternoon, Gloria. It is great to have you this Tuesday, February 02, 2021.  Could you please tell us about yourself and what you do?

Gloria Kemigisha: Thank you so much. My name is Gloria Kemigisha a Ugandan with a passion for young people, especially the women who I support and empower to discover their potential. I am a social entrepreneur running a business called House of Penda an online store that sells accessories. I also work as a volunteer with 40 Days Over 40 Smiles Foundation (40-40) – a youth-led organization that offers entrepreneurial training to vulnerable youth and I am a digital communications enthusiast.



Charity M Namala: How has your business fared during the pandemic and what have you done to survive and thrive? 

Gloria Kemigisha:  The Covid-19 pandemic was unexpected but the business adopted a number of changes to survive. Our business has an online presence and uses digital platforms to sell, however at the start of the lockdown we were unable to sale. This is because we did not know how to get to our customers. This hit us so hard and we had to rethink our strategy to aggressively use the social media to reach our customers. We also changed our model from next day delivery to delivery at least three times a week while managing customer expectations and timelines.

While using internet and social media channels for advertising, marketing, orders and deliveries enabled the business to move steps from zero to five, however our efforts were recently frustrated by the election season where internet and social media were shut down. This resulted in a backward movement of the business from step five to two. During this time customers could not easily reach out to us for inquiries and orders. Although the internet is back today, it is still very limited and social media remains shut down. This continues to reflect in fewer orders and ultimately reduced sales.


Charity M Namala: What are you planning to do as an online business to cope with the internet and social media related challenges?  

Gloria Kemigisha:  The plans for us to cope with the internet and social media challenges are not yet clear because we never expected this situation. But first, we hope that the government and our leaders can intervene in the situation so that we have an enabling environment to push our businesses through as young entrepreneurs and then do proper planning.

Second, as House of Penda, we plan to keep in touch with our customers using alternative channels such as sending SMS messages and phone calls rather than relying on social media for communication. Some customers have equally adopted and they have been able to call us for orders and deliveries. In the future, we also have plans to launch a website.


Charity M Namala: Could you please tell us if there is a network or an association that supports entrepreneurs to voice their challenges?

Gloria Kemigisha: There are networks and associations that support entrepreneurs although they are not well known to us yet. This means we do not have strong representation and leadership through associations as SMEs. With this case of the internet shutdown, I have not seen any of the networks engage with the responsible Ministry to discuss our grievances. Rather we have had the larger enterprises talk about this in the media in terms of what losses were incurred as a result of the internet challenges. When it comes to the young entrepreneurs it has been difficult to voice out their grievances because the main channel of communication –social media is still blocked officially and using it now may be illegal. This means the networks are unable to reach out to the SMEs and vice versa.


Charity M Namala: How have you managed to keep the relationship with your customers during this period? 

Gloria Kemigisha: We have managed to keep the relationship with customers through various ways such as intensified communication using the various channels available for each of the customers. Constant information flow about our changes in delivery days, maintaining  good customer care, offering our quality products and always ensure that we offer a beautiful experience to all the customers. Our good customer care has also helped us get word of mouth recommendations for more customers. Some typical examples include a case where deliveries delayed due to bad weather (rain) and police barricades during the election period; we were quick to inform the customers. There was also an incident when our delivery man had an accident on his bike and the items were stolen from him, as a business we had to replace those items. We always endeavour to send a thank you message whenever a client makes a purchase and also do periodic checks. Despite all the efforts, it has all not been good as 10% of the customers have not been so responsive.


Charity M Namala: How have you managed the suppliers during the period?

Gloria Kemigisha: The issue of managing our suppliers has been a smooth one. This because we shopped items for the first quarter of 2021 as early as November 2020 and we have been well-stocked for the period. This, however, is a lesson for the business since we get supplies from out of the country and use the internet in the procurement process that we need to plan our supplies and re-stocking mindful of the uncertainties to avoid scenarios where we do not have enough stock to last us for a given period.


Charity M Namala: What does the future of business in 2021 look like for you as a young entrepreneur? 

Gloria Kemigisha: The future of my business in 2021 is not yet shaped. If the uncertainties of the pandemic and internet challenges continue, I honestly cannot comfortably say that I know what the business is going to look like or what direction we are going to take. In January we have seen the business register very minimal sales which is not a good sign. This means a lot needs to change in our planning to better the business in the coming months. But we cannot tell when and how the changes will happen and this brings about many questions like: How shall we access clients? Is it time to open up a physical store? Where will we get the money?


Charity M Namala: What advice do you have to the young entrepreneurs that you empower?


Gloria Kemigisha: The advice to fellow entrepreneurs is to be patient, keep the business costs down and start engaging with peers for businesses support. Through embracing the peer to peer business support it will enable similar businesses to sell related items together thus increasing sales and reducing costs. Finally, do not give up even when business is not going as planned but rather sit, reflect and re-strategize. I am available if you need business advice, especially for a young female business owner in Uganda.


Africa’s Free Trade Area Opportunities and Benefits for SME Business Growth

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was launched on 1 January 2021, opening a new common market for the SME sector.  The market aims to contribute towards the expansion of intra-African trade by lowering barriers to trade and the movement of people and capital across the continent. AfCFTA will promote sustainable and inclusive development, gender equality, structural transformation, and improved food security for the member countries. Its ambitions are key building blocks of the African Union’s goal to create an African Economic Community.  According to the World Bank, trade under AfCFTA is estimated to impact 1.3 billion people across Africa with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $3.4 trillion and thus a potential of lifting 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty.

The African SME sector and business community is a key beneficiary of this new common market in regard to the trade of goods and services as well as competition policy protocols (WEF, 2021). SMEs in trade, processing and manufacturing will now have access to cheaper raw materials and intermediate inputs plus an expanded market base. This will be realized through the gradual phasing out of 90% of tariffs on the exchange of goods between African countries and elimination of non-tariff barriers like excessively lengthy customs procedures, licensing requirements, and costly sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures (ITC, 2018). The construction, tourism, energy, health, and social services sectors will enjoy benefits of the wider labour market, easy movement of persons across the countries and the fair pricing from a conducive and competitive business environment for both existing players and new entrants. The operationalization framework of AfCFTA also has put in place trade instruments that will enable the private sector access development and blended financing to leverage investments through the Pan-African Payments and Settlement System (PAPSS)with support from the African Export and Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK). SMEs will also have access to reliable market and trade information through the online systems such as the Monitoring, Reporting and Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers (www.tradebarriers.africa) and the African Trade Observatory (https://ato.africa).

In each country, the Government Ministry of Trade is the lead implementer of the AfCFTA agreement and it ensures that policies, interstate infrastructure and connectivity all harness the trade activities.  The AfCFTA is not only a major opportunity but also a gate way for SMEs growth and development because once finalized it will become one of the world’s largest trade areas.  Individual SMEs and SME umbrella organizations need to take full advantage of the benefits from this common market by engaging the Ministry of Trade to get awareness of the issues at hand, voice their concerns, and understand the active role they have to play. The success and realization of these efforts by the different players will ultimately reduce the cost of doing business for SMEs.

More information about AfCFTA can be found here

Take on the P.E.A.R.L. Innovation Challenge Call, invites proposals for funding

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities (MTWA) and Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) is inviting proposals for the “Take on the P.E.A.R.L” Innovation Challenge Call. The call targets businesses and organizations with innovative ideas to promote Uganda as a preferred destination for sustainable and inclusive tourism.  Proposed ideas must show a clear, inclusive, and financially viable business model as well as outline potential operational challenges faced and how suggested solutions will positively impact low-income people and local communities.  The call aims to support piloting and/or scaling of inclusive business solutions as a mechanism to recover from the impact of Covid-19 through targeted funding and/or technical assistance. Winning proposed ideas will be awarded up to US$ 40,000 in cash and/or in-kind support (goods and services).


About the Innovation Challenge Call


Uganda is endowed with abundant natural resources, a rich cultural and historical heritage which are the base for its tourism industry. However the wide range of strict “lockdown” measures to control the spread of Covid-19 resulted in significant interferences to tourism activities and United Nations in Uganda estimates that the sector is projected to lose US$5 billion in revenue over the next 5-year period (2020-2025).  Therefore, in order to address some of the crisis effects, UNDP launched the Take on the P.E.A.R.L Innovation Challenge Call.  P.E.A.R.L refers to Private-Sector Lead; Effective and Feasible solution; Additionality (from a development/donor perspective); Addressing COVID Recovery and Resilience; to Improve Livelihoods.


Who can apply?


  • Applications should be from a private sector firm or a not-for-profit social enterprise with a financially sustainable business model.
  • Applicants must be operating an inclusive business in the tourism value chain that benefits a significant number of low-income people.
  • Applicants must be able to match the prize award as part of its proposed budget (in cash or in-kind).


How to apply


  • The application documents can be obtained here.
  • Applicants must submit a completed proposal and related documents for funding to;  kampala@undp.org
  • UNDP will receive, evaluate and award successful applicants on a rolling basis until the deadline of the call.

Application deadline:  Friday 26 February 2021, 14:00 hours.

For additional information on this Call, please visit:


Uganda Development Bank Call for Applications: Production, Import Replacement and Export Promotion

As part of the government’s stimulus package to support recovery from the impacts of Covid-19, Uganda Development Bank Limited (UDB) received funding to support increase in production of essential goods and services for import replacement and export promotion. The fund beneficiaries are small, medium, and large enterprises in the sectors of Agriculture, Agro-processing and Manufacturing/Industry that produce for local, regional, and international markets.

UDB is the country’s national Development Finance Institution (DFI) with a mandate to accelerate socio-economic development in Uganda through sustainable financial interventions. The bank supports projects within the private sector that demonstrate potential to deliver high socio-economic value in terms of job creation, improved production output, tax contribution, and foreign exchange generation, among other outcomes.

The support for successful applicants will be in form of financial and non-financial interventions as provided through UDB’s various products listed below:

Financial Interventions

  • Term Loans
  • Asset Finance
  • Farmer Group Lending
  • Private Equity Investment
  • Working Capital and Trade Finance

Non-financial Interventions

  • Project Preparation
  • Business Advisory Services


What are the terms of Term Loans available through the opportunity?

  • Up to a period of 15 years.
  • Up to three (3) years of grace period.
  • Interest shall not exceed 12% for borrowing in UGX.
  • The minimum lending amount shall be UGX 100 million. The maximum amount shall be in line with the bank’s allowable limit.

Who can apply?


  • The enterprise should be registered in Uganda and owned by Ugandans with exception of projects of very strategic nature in terms of impact development.
  • The enterprise can be a start-up or an existing business seeking to expand.
  • The enterprise applicant must demonstrate feasibility and viability of the business.
  • Owners’ equity contribution must be between 10% and 60% depending on the project’s specifics and associated risks.
  • Applicants must be able to secure the loan using any form of acceptable collateral by the bank.


How to Apply


  • The application form can be accessed, completed and submitted online at https://forms.gle/Yxveuf1pHayG9EiW6
  • Hard copy forms can be accessed and submitted at UDB Head office at Rwenzori Tower or at a Post Bank Branch near you.
  • Applications should be submitted together with all the required documents to support the evaluation process.

The applications received will be assessed and there after submitted to the relevant management and board committees for a final decision. After the assessment, the applicants will be informed of the outcome.

The loan process takes an average of 45 days from application to the first disbursement; however, the process may be longer or shorter depending on the nature and complexity of the project.


Note: This is an ongoing call with no specific deadline, and eligible businesses are encouraged to apply.


For more information, please visit the UDB website: www.udbl.co.ug or email: clientrelations@udbl.co.ug or call +256 414 355 509.

Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge

Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge Seeks Applicants

Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge


About the challenge

Tommy Hilfiger’s mission is to create fashion that wastes nothing and welcomes all. The company believes in creating impact through different consumer groups, making products more accessible, and improving lives along the value chain. To fulfill this commitment, The Global Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge was launched to support entrepreneurial start-up and scale-up stage businesses that are developing solutions with a positive social impact on the fashion value chain.

The purpose of the challenge is to provide finance and knowledge to entrepreneurs who positively contribute towards change in their communities’ development.  The 2021 challenge, the third thus far, aims to amplify and support black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs to grow their business ideas and foster a more inclusive future of fashion.

The winners of the challenge will receive:

  • Up to €200,000 in funding
  • A chance at an additional €15,000 prize for winning the “Audience Favorite Vote”
  • Year-long mentorship with Tommy Hilfiger’s internal experts globally
  • Access to Tommy Hilfiger’s network brand association

Who can apply?

This fashion challenge is an opportunity for entrepreneurial start-up and scale-up stage businesses, defined as follows:

  • Startup: A business is in the early stages, yet to reach product-market fit, experimenting with customer segmentation and has made some revenue.
  • Scale-up: A business has a validated product with product-market fit, clear and sustainable unit economics is in growth and has made revenue for at least a year.

Selection process

Applicants will be required to submit proposals that focus on building an inclusive fashion value-chain. A three day boot camp will screen the proposals for the six finalists who will then develop their proposals with support from Tommy Hilfiger and external subject-matter experts. Finalists will then pitch their developed proposals before a prestigious jury panel and associate audience at the Global Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge final event in early 2022 and winners awarded.

How to apply

To take part in the Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge 2021, please apply here.


The application process closes on Monday, March 8, 2021 23:59 CET.

For more information:

Send an email to challenge@tommy.com or visit our website.

2021 Entrepreneurship Programme


2021 Entrepreneurship Programme


The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), which focuses on empowering African entrepreneurs by unlocking their potential to contribute to long-term economic transformation, is launching its 2021 Entrepreneurship Programme. The programme is one of the ways that the foundation connects with youth entrepreneurs, and TEF is currently looking for the most innovative business ideas across the African continent for the 7th cohort of this programme. The intervention’s priority will be to address the effects and challenges arising from Covid-19-related business disruptions by supporting economic recovery of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) and young entrepreneurs.

TEF, together with other global partners, aims to reach 2,400 youth with a plan to lift them out of poverty and create sustainable employment. Specifically, successful applicants will benefit from:


  • $5,000 in seed capital
  • Business training
  • Mentorship
  • Global networking opportunities


Who is eligible?

The programme seeks entrepreneurs with new business ideas or those that are start-ups with less than three years of existence in any sector within any country across Africa.

How to Apply

To apply visit the TEF digital platform on: www.tefconnect.com

Selection Process

Applicants will receive notifications upon submission and status alerts as the screening progresses. The selected and confirmed entrepreneurs will commit time between May to December in the application year to participate in the various programme activities. In this period the entrepreneurs will complete a compulsory 12-week Start-up Enterprise Toolkit Course as well as undertaking business plan development, pitching and access the seed capital. At the end of the programme entrepreneurs will get automatic enrolment to the TEF Alumni Network.

Application Deadline: 31st March, 2021

For inquiries contact: programme@tonyelumelufoundation.org

funding for SMEs

Call for Proposals for START funding for SMEs in Northern Uganda

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 www.start.go.ug. The online forms are also available on the PSFU and UNCDF websites at www.psfuganda.org.ug or www.uncdf.org.

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 deus.tirwakunda@uncdf.org

+256 322 200 241


Daniel   Kisekka





Visit: https://www.psfuganda.org/projects/15-psfu-news/331-3rd-call-for-proposals.html