EU offers Shs11.9 billion to boost SMEs

Small and medium enterprises have had challenges resulting from Covid-19 disruptions.  PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

About 200 companies are expected to benefit from the project

To help 200 Small and Medium Enterprises expand their enterprises, the European Union has provided €3 million (Shs11.9 billion) through a four-year project in Uganda. This is aimed at providing technical assistance and connecting them to already established enterprises.  

Launched on January 25 in Kampala, the four-year project code named the ‘Deal Follow Facility’ (DFF) , is a technical and match-making initiative aimed at addressing the gap in accessing growth capital for emerging businesses. Established in 2021 in conjunction with the Capital Markets Authority of Uganda (CMA) and the European Union, the Deal Flow Facility is managed by Financial Sector Deepening Uganda.     

Transaction advice

Speaking during the launch, Ms Caroline Adriaensen, head of cooperation EUUganda, said the facility -the first-of its kind in Uganda is aimed at making 250 medium-to-large Ugandan companies attractive to investors and ensuring they are investment-ready, by providing them with tailor-made transaction advisory services and business development support.

The DFF will also actively match-make the selected companies to long- term investment capital, allowing them to focus on their growth. The targeted companies are those in need of a minimum of $500,000 (Shs1.76 billion) investments.

She said this initiative also fits very well with EU’s priorities in the Sustainable Business for Uganda (SB4U) initiative.

Presenting the Investment Landscape in Uganda, and the Deal Flow Facility process for investee companies, the director DFF, Ms Norah Koigi, said the DFF aims at making Ugandan businesses investment-ready’ in the next five years, stimulating private sector growth and contributing to the National Development Plan.

“The facility is focused on already established businesses, building their investor readiness, and connecting them to capital pools beyond bank financing. This will lead to accelerated growth of Ugandan businesses and greater employment opportunities. The DFF focuses on companies with financing needs of $500,000 (Shs1.76 billion) and above,” she said.

Bottlenecks    

About 200 companies are expected to benefit from the project. The SB4U Platform was officially launched by the President in 2020 and is addressing three bottlenecks: inadequate workforce skills compared to needs of the private sector, endemic corruption linked to economic activities and limited access to finance for the private sector. 

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