NDF is financing the pilot phase of Enable Youth Uganda in partnership with the Government of Uganda Ministry of Water and Environment (MoWE) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) under the umbrella programme Farm Income Enhancement and Forest Conservation (FIEFOC 2).
Enable Youth Uganda is an initiative aimed at creating opportunities for youth and women agri-preneurs. The program is open and competitive, drawing on young people from 5 regions in Uganda, and delivering a comprehensive package of business training, mentoring, enterprise development support and financing in the form of loans up to USD 8000.
Participants work their way through a series of competitive selection rounds involving a business training “Boot Camp” and intensive one-on-one preparation with mentors and technical advisors to a final live pitch session in front of an Investment Committee composed of representatives from the private sector, banking industry, government and donors.
NDF introduced an additional element to the program concept involving support and training in relation to climate risk identification and climate smart business planning.
Last week in Mbale, Uganda, the Enable Youth Investment Committee met over 2 days and approved 42 youth and women agri-preneurs for financing.
Sandra Nakayenze, Founder and CEO of Kalaa Mugosi Women Empowerment Ltd. and one of the successful participants, demonstrated the power of access to information and mentoring before she even received any financing.
In just 6 months, thanks to training and networking support from Enable Youth, Sandra launched her own locally roasted coffee brand, Zesui Dream Coffee, with major hotels in Mbale and Kampala already lining up to feature this sustainably grown, locally run, women-oriented coffee brand.
Sandra also pioneered a “food truck concept” selling coffee by the cup at local sports events and motivating interest among young Ugandans around the “culture of coffee.”
Financing from Enable Youth will now enable Sandra to scale up her processing facilities and enhance the capacity building she provides to her network of women growers.
“The stories we have heard from young men and women over the last 2 days are so powerful,” said Charles Wetherill, NDF Program Manager at the Investment Committee, “many of the women, in particular, are overcoming incredible obstacles in rural areas and building successful, scaleable and sustainable businesses. With results like these, Enable Youth is poised for scale-up too!”
Diana Mutesi, another participant, pursued farming and started with one acre of organic butternut squash after getting a degree in Human Resources and Marketing in 2016. Now she manages seventeen acres and launched a new line of organic butternut based soups and baby foods with support from Enable Youth.
She is looking to place her products on supermarket shelves and open an organic food cafe in Kampala with the idea of featuring other sustainable products like Kalaa Mugosi coffee as well. Wrapping up her live pitch to the Investment Committee, she said, “I cannot talk about my journey and I don’t talk about Enable.”
The program is supervised by the FIEFOC 2 team under the overall leadership of National Program Coordinator, John Magezi Ndamira, and the MoWE, with implementation of Enable Youth provided by a consultant team from the Impact Booster Consortium.