Women businesses must grow beyond subsistence, says minister  

Ms Minsa Kabanda (2R), the Minister for Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs, listens to one of the  exhibitors during the 2023 PSFU Women’s Katale in Kampala at the weekend. Photo / Courtesy 

What you need to know:

  • According to the 2021 Mastercard Women Entrepreneurs survey, 38.4 percent of businesses in Uganda are owned by women

The Minister for Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs has said a number of women founded enterprises fail to grow into sustainable businesses, which impacts the fight against poverty.  

Speaking at the opening of the Private Sector Foundation (PSFU) Women’s Katale (Women’s Market) in Kampala at the weekend, Ms Minsa Kabanda, the Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs minister, said that whereas Uganda has had several gains in regard to gender equality, more efforts need to be channelled in skilling women to close the gender skills and jobs gap. 

“Women owned businesses are small [and] less productive. We need to explore how [such] businesses can grow from subsistence to industrial, sustainable and productive. Let us start with training and equipping them to compete favourably,” she said.  

According to the 2021 Mastercard, 38.4 percent of businesses in Uganda are owned by women.  However, such businesses face a number of challenges, among which include lack of funding, unsupportive business conditions and structural barriers, among others. 

Thus, through innovations such as the Women’s Katale, PSFU wants to address some of these challenges by creating an inclusive space for women entrepreneurs to acquire skills. 

The move also seeks to enhance competitiveness and visibility of women businesses across the country.  This is the second edition of the PSFU Women’s Katale organised in partnership with Mastercard Foundation. The first was held in Luweero District in 2022. 

Mr Stephen Asiimwe, the PSFU executive director, said more than 1,000 entrepreneurs had submitted interest to participate but only 250 were selected, which clearly shows “the concept gives women a chance to learn, showcase, and market their businesses,” he said.  The Katale is designed in a way that a number of business clinics facilitated by key government and private sector agencies and companies such as Uganda Revenue Authority, Uganda Registration Services Bureau, Uganda National Bureau of Standards, banks and personal care products manufactures, among others are organised to equip women with regulatory requirements and skills. 

Ms Damali Ssali, the PSFU chief of programmes and projects officer, said they are planning to make the Katale a regional programme starting with western, northern and eastern Uganda.  “We want to impact women from all over Uganda through regional markets. We are also conceptualising a digital women entrepreneurs’ market place that will always be open,” she said.