Two organisations partner to support youth and women enterprises  

Shona and Excel Hort Agribusiness Incubator (EHCAI) staff during the launch of a 5-year business partnership. Photo | Ismail Musa Ladu

What you need to know:

  • In the 5-year partnership agreement signed last week, the two grass-root organisations decided to work towards supporting women and youth Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) and startups in Western Uganda with the much-needed capital to enable them to grow their businesses.

Youth and women led-business will be the biggest beneficiary of the partnership between Shona, a business advisory firm in Kampala, and Excel Hort Agribusiness Incubator (EHCAI), an innovative business development center headquartered in Mbarara City, Western Uganda.

In the 5-year partnership agreement signed last week, the two grass-root organisations decided to work towards supporting women and youth Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) and startups in Western Uganda with the much-needed capital to enable them to grow their businesses.

In the agreement, Mbarara is slated to be the initial target district of this partnership. 

“The partnership targets registered agribusinesses in the Western region, some of whom have previously been incubated under EHCAI, and are in need of capital to grow their operations,” the Chief Executive officer of Shona, Joachim Ewechu told journalists in Kampala. 

He added: “Shona will focus on business development and financing while EHCAI will focus on profiling the targeted businesses.”

Shona will be offering financing in the range of between $1000 (about shs3.6milion) to $10,000 (about Shs36.1million) for each SME that meets the criterion with an opportunity to get up to $ 50,000 (about Shs181 million) in additional funding for the best performing enterprise.  

Excel Hort Consult Agribusiness incubator boasts of 22-year technical experience and capability to provide skills and development training, incubation, mentorship support, and coaching for businesses.  Likewise, according to a joint statement issued earlier, Shona has since created what it describes as a “trusted and reputable profile in business advisory, access to finance and networking for businesses in the region.”

Good deal

Ms Annet Kandole Balewa, the EHCAI Chief Executive officer, noted that this partnership is one the best ever, considering that the loans repayment terms are not only negotiable but can be provided without collateral. Even with the interest rate of 15 per cent, she noted that it is by far the best deal in the market whose interest on loan ranges between 20 and 25 per cent and in some cases even much higher than that. 

The launch of the partnership between the two organisations is part of a national response to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report that states; “Out of 10 businesses that start in Uganda, five are discontinued in a year.

The prevailing reality of Ugandan businesses dying as soon as they start requires a concerted response from the public as well as the private sector. EHCAI and SHONA are happy to take the lead.

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