What you need to know:
- The organisers of the Rising Woman Initiative say businesses owned by women suffered more during the lockdown.
The First Deputy Prime Minister, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, has asked the organisers of the Rising Woman Initiative to extend it to rural women to transform their business acumen.
The Rising Woman Initiative is a business competition organised by Nation Media Group-Uganda (NMG-U), dfcu Bank and Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), to provide a platform for women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
In a message delivered by the Lands and Housing minister, Ms Judith Nabakooba, at the launch of the fifth season of the competition, Ms Kadaga, who is also and the Minister for East African Community Affairs, described the initiative as a unique and sustainable business model which is going to positively change the attitude towards women in business in Uganda.
“I want to commend dfcu Bank, NMG, and UIA for having come up with a unique and good business concept for women in Uganda. Quite often, women may not be given due attention, especially in the media,” Ms Kadaga said.
She added that empowering women with leadership and business skills is a sustainable way to unlock the most critical business sectors in the country.
Ms Kadaga also emphasised the need to educate women about the land tenure systems in order to aid them in getting collateral for acquiring loans.
Ms Rosemary Mutyabule, a member of the dfcu Bank Women Advisory Council, said businesses owned by women were hit hardest during the Covid-19-induced lockdown and the fifth season of the Rising Woman Initiative is meant to help them recover.
“The Rising Woman package this year is attractive and we hope that it will escalate your business to greater heights by showcasing women in business through profiling, advertising, providing financial solutions, helping you revisit and rethink your business models,” she said.
She added that unlike the previous seasons, this year they have added digital innovations and e-commerce to the competition because the lockdown changed customer tastes and preferences.
Mr Mathias Katamba, the managing director of dfcu Bank, said their experience during the last four seasons shows that in Uganda, when business ideas are given due attention, ordinary people produce extraordinary things which transform the economy.
“It is interesting how someone is supplying tonnes of honey outside the country. dfcu Bank has been helping women overcome financial barriers for growth. We value the role of women in society. That is why we started in 2007 to grow women entrepreneurs to meet their unique financial needs,” he said.
Mr Timothy Ntale, the NMG-U company secretary, who represented the NMG-U managing director, said since the inception of the initiative in 2018, more than 60,000 businesswomen have been impacted directly through trainings around the country.
He said during the two-year Covid-19 business lull, NMG-U organised virtual talk shows to engage and mentor women, which attracted more than two million people.
Dr Paul Kyalimpa, the deputy executive director of Uganda Investment Authority, said government acknowledges the challenges that women-led businesses face including lack of collateral for financing, the heavy domestic workload and limited access to international competitive markets.