Dfcu unveils a business accelerator programme

Ruth Asasira, manager-women in business and special programmes at dfcu Bank. PHOTO/courtesy

What you need to know:

Dfcu has unveiled a business accelerator programme aimed at building capacities of agribusiness value chain enterprises for growth. Ruth Asasira, manager-women in business and special programmes at dfcu Bank, explains what this means for the agribusiness value chain

What is the ADC Business Accelerator Programme (BAP)

It is an initiative sponsored by dfcu bank and Rabo Foundation to build capacities of agribusiness value chain enterprises for growth and it is implemented by the Agribusiness Development Centre (ADC).

The accelerator is a four month programme that focuses on agribusiness enterprises that have moved from the ideation stage and are ready to scale up. This programme aims at enabling 350 agribusinesses; 40 percent women-led, to become financially independent and create at least 350 new jobs in agro marketing, processing and production. Other categories include agro forestry, agro tourism and agri- support services such as agritech, veterinary, input supply and extension service.

People in agribusiness have one perennial challenge- lack of access to markets.  Is this something you plan to provide a solution to?

Certainly. This programme will link agribusiness enterprises to financing and markets, affordable green finance and technical assistance. The other objectives are to influence youth and women inclusivity in enterprise leadership as well as create peer exposure and networking opportunities through learning visits to experts in varied fields.

The programme cohorts will consider varied hindrances to agribusiness growth as well as harness opportunities for business acceleration. The themes under consideration for two years shall be; key value chains, greening agribusinesses, oil and gas opportunities for agribusinesses and youth in agribusiness. The first cohort will consider gender inclusivity in agribusiness development.

Why is the focus on women in agribusiness in the inaugural cohort?

Factually, women face more challenges than men in establishing, managing, growing and expanding business enterprises. They are more likely to be impeded by lack of necessary capacities, skills and resources compared to their male counterparts.

With 52 percent of Uganda’s labour force made up of women, and approximately 75 percent employed in agriculture sector, interventions such as the ADC Business Accelerator Programme are pivotal in promoting entrepreneurship and supporting women develop greater economic prosperity.

In 2007, dfcu bank made a deliberate decision to launch the dfcu Women in Business Programme and the purpose was to create an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs.

The bank’s Women in Business Programme serves women employed in agribusiness as a key focus area. Through several engagements, more than 80,000 dfcu Women in Business clients have signed up for the programme.

In response to several customer requests, this initiative will accelerate the capacity of the dfcu women in business members, both new and existing as well as other women in agribusiness.


How different is this initiative in comparison with the already existing programmes?

Agriculture as a business presents unique challenges that require unique solutions. The ADC Business Accelerator Programme particularly deals with challenges that the agribusiness sector faces at all levels such as input sector, farming and production.

We expect to contribute directly to five sustainable development goals (SDGs); 5- gender equality; 7- affordable clean energy; 8-decent work and economic growth; and 17- partnerships for goals.

Sounds exciting. So, how does one qualify for this accelerator programme?

An invitation for the first cohort goes out to women led agribusinesses who meet the following criteria:

Primarily, women led agribusinesses (at least 50 percent owned and or managed by women) that are part of the Women in Business (WIB) programme at dfcu Bank or have gone through other related agribusiness development initiatives.

Agribusinesses owned at least 40 percent by women, shall be exceptionally considered, if at least 60 percent of the staff are women.

Should have a registered agribusiness in Uganda. Should hold an account with dfcu Bank or willing to open one.

Must be a for profit agribusiness. Have an annual turnover minimum of Shs60m. Be operational with a verified product or service.

To apply for this programme, visit www.dfcugroup.com or www.adc.ug.

What benefits should people expect from this initiative?

The participants of the initiative will receive access to information and tools that support their agribusinesses to get clarity on business strategic positioning in the following areas;

A. Business model validation.

B.Access to affordable legal, branding, accounting and tax advisory services.

C.Networking opportunities and learning visits to experts in varied fields.

D. Linkages to affordable financial services.

The ADC Business Accelerator Programme alumni will also benefit from the dfcu Bank small and medium enterprise (SME) agribusiness value proposition which includes, affordable transactional banking, financing as well as other capacity building programmes.

How unique is it?

Agriculture as a business presents unique challenges that require unique solutions. The ADC Business Accelerator Programme particularly deals with challenges that the agribusiness sector faces at all levels such as input sector, farming and production. The ADC Business Accelerator Programme alumni will also benefit from the dfcu Bank small and medium enterprise (SME) agribusiness value proposition which includes, affordable transactional banking, financing as well as other capacity building programme.

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