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As efforts to revive businesses after the covid pandemic continue, the Aga Khan Foundation in collaboration with European Union and MoTIV Creations have today launched a business recovery program dubbed the “Cottage Industry Catapult program” to support businesses in the creative sector.

According to a report from UNESCO, the cultural and creatives industry was affected heavily with a total of 10 million jobs lost in the sector worldwide in 2020. This had an impact not only on individuals, but also the wider economy wiping $750 billion off the value of the global cultural and creative industries, the reshaping policies for creativity report notes.

Speaking during the press briefing to launch the program, Olga Namukuza Program Manager Aga khan Foundation said,“As part of the Covid-19 response initiatives for Eastern Africa to reduce the impact caused by the pandemic on businesses and strengthen the entrepreneurial capacity of the young people in Uganda.”

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The Cottage Industry Catapult program was created out of the urgent need to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic on creative businesses and intends to revamp business productivity for sustainable growth to create more employment opportunities and avert poverty among the young creatives.

The program seeks to train and provide access to raw materials for 200 MSMEs, give 100 business access to trained labor and 50 MSMEs access to finance.

Namukuza Said, “The program will identify key businesses affected by the pandemic within the creative sector and these will receive financial support to allow them increase their operational capital, boost daily cash flows and empower them to expand their businesses after attaining financial stability.”

Adding that, in a period of 30 months, “we hope to have directly impact 140,000 individuals and indirectly supported 300,000 businesses across all sectors of the economy. 35,000 of these must be businesses in the creative and 60% are women, Namukuza noted.

Carol Kagezi, the Community Lead at MoTIV said the program is a great opportunity for a fresh start for businesses in the creative sector, which for the last two years continued to lag due to the impact ofCovid-19 containment measures.

“At the advent of the pandemic, many creative businesses including, artisans and makers within our ecosystem collapsed leaving the majority deeply in debt with no active source of income or revenue generation streams. Therefore, the program provides an opportunity for many creatives to pick up where they left off to kick start and revive their businesses. s.”

Kagezi said, “Each creative enterprise that goes through the program will participate in a 2-day demo activity where they will have the opportunity to pitch their business ideas. The winning pitches will receive funding to be directed to their businesses. Besides, the financial support, they will be equipped with entrepreneurial skills to refine and scale their business models and be on-boarded on to our digital marketplace “Omwoleso. Africa” a platform that provides access a wider market”

Kagezi added, “We believe that by supporting the recovery of the creative sector, we will open the sector’s unique potential to create an unstoppable multiplier economic effect that will drive industrial growth, employment opportunities for the youth and revenue generation directed towards transforming our socio-economic trajectory upwards.”  

Despite these notable contributions of the creative industry to the economy. There is still plenty of work to be done before it can live up to its full potential. Inadequate financial support, limited access to market, skilling, and professional capacity to produce quality products and services are some of the challenges that have limited the growth of the sector. Therefore, the Cottage Industry Catapult program seeks to address some of these challenges that have for long deterred the growth of the creative sector.

The application process is now open until 16th October 2022.  To participate in the program visit: https://vfnafrica.com/relieffund/

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