Uganda National Bureau of Standards Reduces Quality Mark (Q-Mark) Product Certification Fees

On 14th July 2021, the  Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) announced a reduction in product certification fees for enterprises seeking to acquire the Quality Mark (Q-Mark). The reduced costs will promote the implementation of quality standards by enterprises. The UNBS recently intensified pressure on local manufacturers, especially food processors, to get product certification for their goods before going onto the market. The aim is to improve local consumers’ safety and ensure that Uganda products gain the confidence of international consumers.

The price reductions will help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and the private sector recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19 by cutting on the current costs of businesses operations. It also aligns with UNBS mandate to promote Buy Uganda–Build Uganda (BUBU) and enhance Ugandan exports to the regional and international markets.

Below are the new product certification fees:

  • UNBS is phasing out initial audit and surveillance fees of UGX 500,000. Enterprises will now access these services free of charge.
  • Micro and small enterprises will pay a reduced fee of UGX 500,000 (down from UGX 850,000) for a permit to use the Q-Mark for a period of 12 months.
  • Medium and large enterprises will pay a reduced fee of UGX 1,000,000 (down from UGX 1,300,000) for a permit to use the Q-Mark for a period of 12 months.
  • Batch certification (certificate of conformity) testing fee will be UGX 500,000
  • Manufacturers of bottled water, alcoholic beverages, and other soft drinks will now pay a standard certification fee of UGX 1,000,000 per brand for safety and quality monitoring instead of paying different fees for each product category.
  • The period to pay for fees is now 21 days from the payment notice date.

Enterprises will continue to pay for product laboratory testing fees depending on specific parameters such as chemical composition or physical characteristics to be analyzed.

How to apply 

About UNBS

The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) is a Government Agency responsible for developing, promoting, and enforcing national standards in protecting Public Health and Safety and the Environment against harmful and sub-standard products.


For more information, contact:

Uganda National Bureau of Standards,

Plot 2 – 12, Bypass Link, Bweyogerere Industrial & Business Park,

P.O Box 6329 Kampala, Uganda.

Telephone: 256 417 333250

Toll-free line: 0800133133

E-mail: /



Here is What You Need to Keep in Mind When Seeking a Strategic Partnership

Strategic partnerships are one-way businesses can create more value and stay afloat during the complex business environment caused by the pandemic. Building and managing dynamic partnerships is critical for success but can be challenging. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you look for strategic partnerships:

  • Choose partners that have clear growth ambitions as a business
  • Set clear objectives for the partnership and track progress against them
  • Analyze possible risks and identify ways to mitigate them
  • Seek training, coaching and mentorship to guide decision making

Focusing on these priorities will help you build partnerships that will thrive and create value for your business.


To access training on partnerships contact:

Stanbic Business Incubator Limited

Phone: 0312226700



The Stanbic Business Incubator Limited (SBIL) is a private company duly incorporated under the Laws of the Republic of Uganda. The Incubator started in 2018 as an initiative of Stanbic Bank to support and nurture SMEs to prepare for and harness business and growth opportunities.

How AgroDuuka Uganda Limited's online business operations has enabled them to thrive during the pandemic period

How AgroDuuka Uganda Limited's online business operations has enabled them to thrive during the pandemic period

AgroDuuka Uganda Limited is an online-based company that deliveries affordable and healthy groceries to the market. The company has intensified its online marketing to thrive during the season. Basil Mwotta the Chief Executive Officer interacted with the COVID-19 Business Info Hub and shared how they are innovating to get things done during the pandemic.


Tell us about yourself and what you do?

My name is Basil Mwotta, an agriculture enthusiast. I am the Chief Executive Officer of AgroDuuka Uganda Limited. Established in 2017, the company helps farmers find a credible and reliable market for their farm produce. We also deliver groceries to several clients, including homes, hotels, restaurants and marketplaces. Our suppliers include several smallholder farmers from aggregated communities across Uganda. We have our headquarters in Kampala, with operations in Mpigi, Mukono, Wakiso, Bukedea and Sheema districts.


What is your level of participation within the agribusiness sector?

Our level of participation is within the supply chain from the farm to the market. We work with registered farmers from whom we source produce. We register farmers by capturing location, the type of crops they grow, quantities, and quality. Apart from offering direct market to the farmers, we also link them to other buyers, provide them with market information and educate them on the transport costs to enable them to make an informed decision. Our registered farmers receive training on good agriculture practices and modern farming methods to better their yields and productivity. In 2019, we hosted an agriculture campaign, in Mpigi, in partnership with the Buganda Kingdom, where we trained over 1,200 farmers on modern farming methods and technologies.

What are you doing differently as a business to stay afloat during the pandemic?

The pandemic presented an opportunity for us to intensify our digital marketing, and we have been able to increase the range of our product offering. With the movement restrictions currently in place, we are getting more inquires and customers.  Our delivery volumes have increased by 20% during this period because of the growing awareness of digital channels.

However, the inter-district travel restrictions introduced by government during this lockdown have presented a challenge. Our field staff cannot efficiently conduct a physical quality inspection of the farm produce when the farmer sends a notification for produce to sale. So, we are currently engaging with the district authorities to access movement permits to continue our operations.

Although demand for our products and services is increasing, we have not embraced the market opportunity entirely simply because it requires funds to increase the number of farmers we source from, rent more warehouses and employ more labour. Therefore due to limited access to funds for expansion, we have restricted our coverage areas and concentrated on regular deliveries to manage product storage issues. We are also partnering with boda boda owners to make quick and timely deliveries.


What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs during this pandemic period?

Uganda has many entrepreneurs, but many businesses collapse before making it to the third year. It goes back to the issues of the resilience of the entrepreneurs or how patient they can be to pull through challenging situations. Entrepreneurship is hard, starting a business is hard, and it is even more difficult with the current pandemic. Therefore I invite SMEs to be resilient, hang in there and look for ways of surviving and breaking even. It is not time to run away from the business.

The government and other stakeholders need also to support entrepreneurs since they create employment and bring services to the people. Stanbic Business Incubator is doing a fantastic job to train these entrepreneurs on financial literacy, business management and marketing. I call upon banks to provide affordable financing for entrepreneurs to enable business growth and expansion.

Lastly, I would like to thank you for this opportunity, and let’s continue supporting SMEs in Uganda.  


For deliveries, contact:

Tel: +256 705 236369


Upcoming training webinar for the agribusiness digital finance platform for Agri-SMEs.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) invites small and medium enterprise agribusinesses (Agri-SMEs) to register for a training webinar on the agribusiness digital finance platform. The platform offers a market-based mechanism to secure productive finance to improve Agri-SMEs’ performance and small holder farmers’ welfare.

WBCSD is a global, executive-led organization of over 200 leading companies working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world. WBCSD launched the Agri-SME digital finance platform under the Global Agribusiness Action for Equitable Livelihoods (GAA-EL) Project to connect Agri-SMEs with investors and stimulate inclusive financing across the agricultural supply chain.


The webinar will:

  1. Orient Agri-SMEs to the types of financing available such as – debt, equity and grant – so they are better equipped to develop investment proposals and interact with finance providers; and
  2. Provide a high-level introduction to the Agri-SME digital finance platform to understand how to access the portal and use its functionalities.

Date:   22 July 2021

Time:  04:30 – 05:30pm EAT

How to register

To participate in the training, register here

For more information: 



Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A) is now accepting applications for the 2021 Venture Showcase

Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A) is looking for eight innovative, high-growth enterprises to showcase to the global network of Africa-focused investors. The applicants should be operating in Africa and looking to raise funds in the range of UGX 5 billion and UGX 35 trillion.

VC4A strengthens the global startup community by connecting entrepreneurs’ scalable businesses to knowledge networks and funding. Since 2017, the VC4A Showcase program has impacted 80 scale-ups across the continent, resulting in over UGX 500 trillion business deals and funding. Building on this success, the ‘VC4A Venture Showcase – Series A’ has become a central way to support investors and provides an opportunity to introduce enterprises to Africa’s early-stage investment space.


How will successful applicants benefit?

As part of the program, successful applicants will get the following benefits:

  • Recognition as 2021 VC4A Venture Showcase entrepreneur
  • Participation in the VC4A Venture Showcase deal room, including 200+ early-stage investor organizations
  • Mentorship and technical advice directly from the angel investors and venture capital fund managers
  • 30-minute deep-dive session with investors in a private room
  • 3-minute virtual pitch featured at the Africa Early-Stage Investor Summit  in November 2021
  • Access to an alumni network and partner events and fundraising opportunities


Who can apply?

The Venture Showcase Series A is open to companies that meet the following requirements:

  • For-profit and registered as an independent legal entity
  • Have a product or service available on the market that generates revenue
  • Product or service is innovative, and have a business model that is new, disruptive and designed for scale
  • Have a very strong management team of at least three people
  • At least one of the founders has an African nationality


How to apply

Eligible companies can register and complete the application here. 

Deadline: 24th July 2021

For more information:



Carol Kakooza, Executive Director of aXiom Zorn, explains how digital profiles facilitate agricultural lending in Uganda.

The COVID-19 Business Info Hub met with Carol Kakooza of aXiom Zorn to understand how data and digital profiles have enabled them to crack the biggest mystery of agricultural lending in Uganda. Here is the full interview.

Benefits of the digital profile to a smallholder farmer 

  • aXiom Zorn offers data as a service solution to small holder farmers across the country.
  • The data is used to develop digital social profiles for the farmers.
  • Profiling captures data on; land and ownership, the productivity of the farmer, household economic status, social belonging and financial history.
  • The data is analyzed to assess farmers’ financial capacity, which builds into the credit score.
  • The credit score gives the individual points at different levels, and a score of 60% enables the farmer to access funding from the bank.
  • The loans are disbursed via mobile money to avoid transport costs to the bank.
  • The credit score is also a basis for the farmer to access farm and micro health insurance.
  • Before profiling, individuals learn about the benefits of having a digital profile and consent to provide the data.

To get your digital profile contact us on:  +256 200 903 099 or

Tell us about yourself and your company.

My name is Carol Kakooza, Chief Executive Officer of aXiom Zorn. I am passionate about looking out for people in the lower pyramid to get essential services. Through my experience working with farmers in South America, I noted that many could not access banks’ financing. Banks did not provide funding because they had no records, and lending to them was very risky. I related it to the situation back home, given that 80% of Ugandans depend on agriculture. That is how aXiom Zorn came to be to build farmers’ integrity and authenticity through a digital social profile.

aXiom Zorn is a one-stop enterprise offering data as a service solution for institutional clients and service providers. aXiom Zorn collects individual and community data, analyses it, and processes it to provide historical, current, and predictive views for business operations. The company’s growing database consists of:

  • 358,000+ smallholder farmers
  • 3,600 extension workers
  • 3,000 agro-dealers
  • 214 aXiom Zorn agents
  • 135 veterinary officers
  • 140 agro-input suppliers

The company’s other value-added services include soil mapping, fertilizer optimization, an e-voucher system, farm field management, weather alerts, and agronomic tips.


How is aXiom Zorn using data to facilitate lending within the agriculture sector?

After realizing that credit and insurance service providers find it hard to trust smallholder farmers because of risks such as; lack of collateral, high transaction cost and costs associated with locating widespread members. Production is susceptible to adverse weather and seasonal price fluctuations that affect the farmers’ profitability.

We developed digital profiles to de-risk farmers to enable them to access financial services. Here are the key steps taken to create the profile:

  1. At the beginning of the profiling, we have to ask for consent from the farmers.
  2. Within the consent, we show them the advantages and benefits of having a digital profile.
  3. The aXiom Zorn agent profiles by collecting data on various parameters, including farmer’s biodata, land ownership, the productivity of the farmer, household economic status (the nature of the house, school fee needs), next of kin, and social reputation.
  4. Using the data, we assess the farmers’ financial capacity and develop a credit score.
  5. The credit score gives the individual points at different levels and later used by the bank to provide funding.

Today, we partner with two financial service providers Centenary Bank and Stanbic Bank Uganda. They use our data to provide direct agriculture loans to farmers and agribusinesses with a credit score of 60%. We encourage these banks to send the loans via mobile money to save the money used in transportation, allowing the borrower to use the funds in an optimum way. We have integrated farm (weather index) and micro health insurance. The farmer pays UGX 37,000 on a seasonal basis (six months) to cover 1 acre of the farm, and if they need to cover an extra acre, they pay an extra UGX 12,000. On the premium of UGX 37,000, a constant of UGX 25,000 is paid to cover micro health insurance, protecting two adults and four children for health and life cover. So should one of the adults die during the season, the family can get access to UGX 5 million, which the family can use to re-pay any outstanding loans. We have also extended digitization into the marketing ecosystem using the market linkage application to ensure that people can still sell their products.


What should the sector look out for during this period of the pandemic?

I encourage the sector to embrace digitization and digital solutions for business continuity. Similarly, agriculture should never stop because the land is still here; COVID -19 has not taken away our rain and the two planting seasons. Stakeholders developing innovative agricultural solutions need to co-create these with communities. At aXiom Zorn, we continue to support farmer communities during this time across the country. Our target is to hit 1 million farmer profiles, and our Digital Agriculture Reference Bureau (DARB) will launch. The DARB provides reliable information critical for decisions to promote agriculture sector resilience.


To learn more about our data solutions, contact;

Tel: +256 200 951 713/+256 200 903 099



Recovery mechanisms for agribusinesses in the current environment: An interview with Edward Katende, Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda Agribusiness

Recovery mechanisms for agribusinesses in the current environment: An interview with Edward Katende, Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda Agribusiness Alliance

The Uganda Agribusiness Alliance (UAA) is an apex body for the agribusiness industry in Uganda. The organization brings together stakeholders, including farmer groups, agribusiness SMEs, financial institutions, government agencies and other industry players, to develop the industry. The COVID-19 Business Info Hub caught up with UAA’s Chief Executive Officer Edward Katende to learn more about UAA’s role in promoting industry competitiveness and recovery mechanisms for agribusinesses in light of COVID-19. 

COVID-19 recovery mechanisms for SMEs in the agribusiness sector

Agribusiness SMEs face several challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ranging from supply chain disruption to working capital constraints. Here is what SMEs need to do to adapt to the new dynamics in the current environment:

  1. Create business continuity plansand seek the funds to implement them from your bankers. SMEs can also seek advice from the Uganda Development Bank (UDB) on the business resilience and COVID-19 recovery fund.
  2. Embrace digital tools and e-commerce to have a broader reach to customers in the current situation. Businesses can use digital tools to track cash flowstock and inventory, and production efficiency. Companies should also take advantage of e-commerce platforms like Jumiaand JijiUg and social media to sell their products and services.
  3. Embrace opportunities such as producing and supplying healthy food to the market because of the population’s demand for food to build immunity. These can include production and supply fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices.
  4. Adapt business models to fit the new circumstances while being mindful of the costs involved. These may include the production of hand sanitizers, face masks and related products to fit the new normal.

For more information contact: Tel: +256753461348 or +256703679000 


What is the role of your organization in policy and advocacy for the agribusiness industry?

Uganda Agribusiness Alliance (UAA) advocates for big decisions by the various stakeholders to make the Ugandan agri-food industry globally competitive and attractive for investment. UAA shows different stakeholders interested in an investment where the real money is and how to invest. The organization supports processes to increase industry financing. We are supporting the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development (MOFPED) in developing a policy on agricultural financing. The policy will create an enabling environment to support lending and savings for industry players and enable the unbanked in the subsistence economy to participate in the financial industry. Here are the pathways for UAA’s policy and advocacy work:

  • Evidence building: generating evidence that the government uses to improve policies and regulations on macro policy issues.
  • Micro policy reform: working with the government to articulate alternative policy reform options and analyze the costs and benefits of reforms. UAA also provides technical assistance and support to the government to design and roll out the reformed policies.
  • Advocacy: driving national advocacy that advances agribusiness transformation narratives.
  • Alliance building: cultivating partnerships with key players and positioning UAA as a partner for agribusiness transformation policies.

UAA also promotes industry competitiveness by supporting industry players to produce quality products. The organization guides agribusinesses to understand and comply with the required food safety and quality standards. For example, we are currently running a project for our members in the fruits and vegetable sub-industry to meet the sanitary and phytosanitary standards (SPS) for export to Europe. The project strengthens actors’ capacity along the horticultural value chain through training workshops and streamlining inspection and export certification systems.

We are also an honest broker in the industry. As independent players in all our work, we come in to help different interested parties do business better.


What challenges is the industry facing during this period? 

  • The biggest challenge is supply chain management. The magnitude of this challenge varies depending on a specific value chain and the particular segment of the chain. We witnessed delays in transportation both by road and air cargo for exports because of the restrictions in place.
  • Businesses face working capital constraints because of reduced sales and delayed payments which affect operational efficiency. In addition, companies that require the physical presence of staff are incurring additional costs. Business owners must find onsite accommodation or transport the team to and from work, which is an additional cost.
  • The demand and price for agricultural products have reduced over time. Therefore, businesses are struggling to break even. Last year, we saw several poultry farms releasing their birds to die and throwing away eggs because they had no market.
  • Loan disbursements are hampered by the inability to complete security perfection given that the land office and others have limited their operations.

Therefore companies must quickly adapt to fit into the new dynamics that the COVID-19 has brought to the business space.


What recovery mechanisms are needed to support agribusinesses during the pandemic? 

There are things both businesses themselves can do during the pandemic and measures government and other stakeholders can take in the industry. Recovery starts with having a healthy and safe population. Government measures ensure that the population is safe; however, these measures also affect the industry.


Here is what agribusinesses need to do in the current environment:

  • To run operations amidst these uncertainties, businesses need business continuity plans and the funds to implement them. That kind of financing is hard to access now, so we call upon financial institutions to develop more flexible ways of financing the agricultural industry.
  • For their part, businesses need to embrace digital tools and e-commerce to have a broader reach in the current situation. As enterprises work to adopt information and communications technology, it also needs to be made affordable. Today, we are pushing for safe and inexpensive digital transactions. We also need to have more agri-technology companies supported to scale innovative solutions in the industry.
  • Agribusiness SMEs need access to reliable markets to recover. During this pandemic period, the government must focus on buying Ugandan products. As the biggest buyer, the government needs to start buying from small businesses and relax procurement rules for these businesses to qualify. It will help boost the much needed local demand.
  • SMEs should embrace opportunities that exist during this season. First, since agriculture must continue to feed the population, there is an opportunity to focus on producing and supplying healthy food to the market. Second, agribusinesses should adapt their business models to fit the new circumstances while being mindful of the costs involved, well aware that COVID-19 will be here for some time.

To our members, partners and stakeholders, we need to work together as an industry. If we ever wanted to work together, this is the time to leverage each other’s strengths and advantages. So, let us pool our resources and expertise, put them together, and fight for each other to ensure survival. Finally, businesses need to be flexible. If, for example, a company owes you money but is struggling to pay, put your heads together to come up with a way to resolve the situation for mutual benefit. Businesses must survive!


To learn more about our work or become a member of UAA, contact us on;

Tel: +256753461348 or +256703679000 



Accessing Uganda Registration Services Bureau services during the lockdown period

During this lockdown period,   Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) is making changes in its service delivery. While some walk-in services remain at the head office and regional centers countrywide, others have been moved entirely online as outlined below:

Walk-in services at the head office and regional centers include:

  • Registration of legal documents
  • Certification of documents
  • Printing of gazette notices
  • Submission of physical copyright materials

Online services through the website :

  • Name reservation
  • Company incorporation
  • Registration of business names
  • Filing of resolutions for bank account opening, the appointment of an attorney and change of location
  • Filing of annual returns

Clients can submit applications for the following services using the emails below:

Business Registration – search reports:

Intellectual Property:                     

Insolvency and Receivership:        

URSB advises its clients to take note of the changes and keep safe!


For more information contact:

Tel: 0800 100 006 

WhatsApp: 0712 448 448




Apply for Google Startups' Black Founders Fund Africa today!

Google for Startups invites applicants for the Black Founders Fund Africa. The program aims to support early-stage black founded startups that are benefitting the black community on the continent and specifically seeks to bridge the existing fundraising gap for black startup founders in Africa’s fast-growing technology landscape. Up to UGX 10 billion is available to support 50 successful investable startups in Africa.


How will successful applicants benefit?

Successful startups will access the following:

  • Receive seed funding of UGX 176 million or UGX 353 million, depending on the startup product development stage
  • Mentorship support and access to Google platform credits services to accelerate business growth
  • Opportunity to connect with Google for Startups Accelerator & Partner program alumni


Who should apply?

The Black Founders Fund Africa is intended for startups in Africa seeking seed-stage funding that meet the following criteria:

  • Have an existing product or service for Africa and the global market
  • Are creating jobs, have the potential to raise more funding, and are making an impact
  • The founding team has at least one black C-level founding member
  • Operating as a technology startup or a business where technology is a core for the ability to scale
  • Proposed startup products/services are compatible with Google products


Eligible countries

The program is accepting applicants from the following countries in Africa: Botswana, Cameroun, Cote D’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.


How to apply

Eligible startups can apply online here.

Deadline: 7th July 2021

For more information, visit

Financial Sector Deepening Uganda launches a new facility to support medium to large companies in attracting investment

Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Uganda, in partnership with the European Union (EU) and Capital Markets Authority(CMA), have launched a Deal Flow Facility (DFF) to increase investment in medium to large companies in Uganda. Through the DFF, 220 selected companies will have the opportunity to build their skills in order to attract long-term investment capital to enable business growth.

The facility is targeting mature companies seeking investments of not less than UGX 1.83 billion. Multiple cohorts will run each year over a period of five years beginning September 2021. Companies will receive targeted support on investment readiness as well as have access to advisory services on tax, legal issues, finance and banking, and more to increase competitiveness and accelerate growth.

Apart from increasing capital inflows, accelerated growth of medium to large companies, the DFF will result in direct and indirect job creation. It will also strengthen the fragmented ecosystem by forming alliances with organizations and networks to contribute to the growth of capital markets.  Learnings from the DFF will provide the regulator and policymakers with objective, evidence-based perspectives to shape the current and future investment climate.


For more information contact;

Diana Ngaira

FSD Uganda – Communication Specialist

+256 773 248310

Samuel Sanya

CMA Uganda – Communications and Public Education Officer



About FSD Uganda

Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Uganda is a company limited by guarantee promoting greater access to financial services in Uganda. FSD Uganda seeks to develop a more inclusive financial sector with a focus on low-income individuals (particularly small holder farmers, women, youth, and forcibly displaced people) and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). 

About CMA

The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) is an autonomous body that was established in 1996, by the CMA Act, Cap 84. CMA is responsible for promoting, developing, and regulating the capital markets industry in Uganda, with the overall objectives of investor protection and market efficiency. CMA plays a significant role in regional and international cooperation and is a member of the East African Securities Regulatory Authorities (EASRA).

About EU

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 Member States. Together, the European Union and its Member States are Uganda’s biggest development partner. The European Union supports good governance, rule of law, democracy, and human rights in Uganda. The European Union is a key multilateral, development, and trade partner of Uganda, working to improve green growth and the investment climate in Uganda to create decent jobs.