Mathias Katamba, CEO of dfcu Bank

Dfcu Bank, in partnership with Monitor Publications Limited and Uganda Investment Authority, has launched the fifth edition of the ‘Rising Woman’, an initiative that aims to recognize, celebrate, and promote a culture of mentorship among women in the business space in Uganda.

Themed ‘Taking your business ahead’,this initiative focuses on providing female entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to improve how they operate their businesses; to enable them to create profitable operations.Rising Womanfalls under dfcu’s Women in Business Program which aims to create a business enabling environment for women entrepreneurs, with a special focus on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The Guest of Honor at the launch of the 2022 Rising Woman Initiative; Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Honorable Judith Nabakooba has applauded the sponsors of the initiative, noting that women require multi-faceted support to become successful entrepreneurs.

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“I want to commend the organisers for having come up with a unique program for women to not only empower women in leadership but also business.  It’s a more sustainable mode of business because it creates an increasing base of clients who can afford it and there is a trickle down effect.

It recognises the most critical sector of Uganda which is the SMEs. Women in SMEs are the engine for unlocking growth and livelihood at grassroot. Thank you for redefining how SMEs are by women in Uganda,” she applauded.

The fifth season, unlike previous editions which considered only one overall winner, will have three different winners based on three main categories of: Agribusiness Value addition, Manufacturing and Consumer services, Digital Innovation and E-commerce. To stand a chance to win the overall Shs 10 Million cash prize in each category, women entrepreneurs will be required to write a business proposal on any of the three categories. The top 10 winnerswill qualify for a one-week all-expense-paid exchange program in 2023 to an exciting destination which will be announced later.

The Rising Woman Initiative was first launched in 2018 and has had four successful editions. Over the past four years, Rising Woman has directly benefited more than 60,000 women and over 1 million more, virtually, through a range of programs that included regional power trainings, Live TV talk shows, proposal writing competitions and mentorship trips within the region.

Speaking at the launch today at Sheraton Hotel, Mathias Katamba, CEO of dfcuBank remarked that: “Majority of female enterprises are in the informal sector with no formalization, therefore, limiting their sustainability and growth locally, regionally and globally. They also face other multiple challenges such as access to finance, markets, business exposure and business skills. What we are doing will offer them all-around support services to enable them to bloom into their full potential.”

Working with our partners, we are committed to developing a supportive environment for women entrepreneurs to bolster their success. We are doing this through enterprise skills training, showcasing the work of women SMEs through marketing exhibitions and symposiums, offering tailored financial solutions, strategic networking opportunities and other bundled services,” he remarked.

SMEs contribute approximately 30% of Uganda’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employ more than 2.5 million people (UIA). Women enterprises are concentrated in trade, accommodation, and food services, and a few are involved in agriculture, fishing, transport, and storage as well as information and communication. Women tend to shun businesses that require technical skills and thus miss out on many opportunities.

“If the communities we serve thrive, then we’re also bound to thrive. We are confident that supporting SMEs, especially women-led enterprises will greatly contribute to economic development. According to the 2020 Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE), Uganda ranked first (38.2%) of total female business owners. This indicates that nearly four in every ten business owners are women.At dfcuBank, we continue to partner with other leading organizations to tap into the potential of women as contributors not only in the business world but also in the community, towards national development and the globe.  We are supporting women to navigate their multiple roles as entrepreneurs, in their families and communities,” Katamba reiterated.

The Rising Woman Initiative provides an avenue to work with diverse women to turn business ideas into reality and act as agents of change in their communities whilst addressing the ever-growing challenges they face. Through the initiative, thousands of women have benefited directly through the regional trainings in the districts of Bushenyi, Mbarara, Kampala, Mbale, Gulu, Jinja, Lira, Masaka, Kitgum, Iganga, Ibanda, Adjumani, Hoima including being a part of two mentorship programs in Nairobi.

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