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NSSF, MasterCard offer Shs4.8 billion seed capital to support homegrown businesses

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Simon Kabayo
Simon Kabayohttps://eagle.co.ug
Reporter whose work is detailed

National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and the MasterCard Foundation through the Hi-innovator program will provide up to Shs4.8 billion in seed capital to 64 deserving businesses.

These businesses were meticulously selected from a competitive pool of over 500 candidates who participated in the 2023 cohort. The scrutiny and training of these businesses are carried out by Outbox, a renowned organization supporting innovation and entrepreneurship, with a track record of aiding over 150,000 entrepreneurs.

The announcement of the selected businesses and their respective funding amounts was made by Alex Rumanyika, Head of Strategy at NSSF. With this round of funding, the Hi-innovator program has now supported a total of 306 businesses, injecting up to 18 billion shillings since its inception in 2021. Rumanyika emphasized that the Hi-innovator program has a clear investment goal set for its first five years.

He expressed satisfaction with the current progress, stating that the businesses selected are a testament to their journey toward reaching this target.

“Our goal for the Hi-innovator program is to invest in at least 500 enterprises by 2025. The businesses selected today are an affirmation that we are on the right track to reach that target within the set timeframe,” Rumanyika said.

Initiated by NSSF, the Hi-innovator program aims to strengthen entrepreneurship in Uganda, ultimately leading to job creation and an expansion of the fund’s membership base. Rumanyika noted that they are working to make this program systemic, readily available, and easily accessible to entrepreneurs across the country.

The selected businesses will undergo thorough due diligence to ensure compliance with program requirements. After successful evaluation, each business will receive Shs75 million in seed funding. These businesses represent various sectors, including agriculture, the digital economy, and light manufacturing. Noteworthy among them are companies in cosmetics, waste management, clothing manufacturing, website and app development, and more.

Richard Zulu, founder of Outbox and the lead implementer of the program, emphasized that these sectors were given priority due to their potential to create dignified and fulfilling job opportunities for youth and women. According to Zulu, the Hi-innovator successful businesses and entrepreneurs are expected to be role models in the business ecosystem, and this investment is just the beginning. The Hi-Innovator Program is a collaborative effort between NSSF and the MasterCard Foundation, with Outbox spearheading its implementation and supported by up to fifteen other enterprises and organizations.

The program has created over 111,000 jobs, with a significant portion benefiting youth and women. Additionally, more than 16,000 entrepreneurs have been trained through the NSSF Hi-Innovator Business Academy, with 47 percent being women and 32 percent youth. This underscores the program’s commitment to empowering individuals and fostering a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Uganda.”

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