Women entrepreneurs push for post-Covid financial bailouts

Ms Victoria Ssekitoleko, former Agriculture Minister and Vice-Chairperson Board of Directors at Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) tastes some wine at one of the exhibitions stalls at Luweero sports ground on March 4. PHOTO | DAN WANDERA

What you need to know:

  • The women believe that their respective potential to explore the untapped market for their respective businesses is held backward by the lack of the required collateral security and the high-interest loans for the businesses at a time when the businesses are on a recovery plan after the Covid-19 pandemic that hit the business world and the potential market areas.

While the 2020 Master Card Index of Women Enterprises ranks Uganda among the first improving and ranking among the top-performing at 39.6 per cent globally, a section of the women entrepreneurs want a post-Covid financial intervention targeting the women and youth.

The women believe that their respective potential to explore the untapped market for their respective businesses is held backward by the lack of the required collateral security and the high-interest loans for the businesses at a time when the businesses are on a recovery plan after the Covid-19 pandemic that hit the business world and the potential market areas.

“We appreciate the different initiatives targeting the boosting of the women and youth-led enterprises but the interest on the respective business loans remain high with many potential businesswomen unable to present collateral security to get loans,” Ms Daisy Nakamya, a supervisor at Uni Trust Community Development Group said at the Women’s market exhibition held in Luweero District ahead of the March 8 International Women’s Day celebrations.

Ms Grace Nanyonga of Granafish, a dealer in fish products, says much as the women and the youth strive to put up businesses respectively, many are pulled back by their respective inability to access financial support that is business-friendly. The women entrepreneurs need financial bailout after the Covid-19 setback that paralyzed their respective businesses, she said.

But Ms Victoria Ssekitoleko, former Agriculture Minister and Vice-Chairperson Board of Directors at Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) believes that a robust transformation targeting the value chain addition for all products that get to the market will boost profits and widen the market for the products.

“It is true that several businesses, especially the women-led enterprises need an affirmative approach in accessing financial support. We rally the financial institutions on this noble appeal but we also want the principle of value addition promoted,” she said.

The Financial Literacy Program rolled out by Equity Bank targeting the women and youth groups is among the many financial interventions rolled out by the private sector and financial institutions to empower and support business growth.

Under Enterprise Development and Financial Inclusion facility (EDFI) over 4500 women and youth groups have directly benefited from the financial literacy training programs by Equity Bank.

“The women and youth groups after undergoing the financial literacy training have accessed unsecured loans payable in a period of one and half years. We realized that many women including the youth are unable to have collateral for loans. This explains why we have the unsecured loan services,” Ms Annet Nakigudde, the Head Micro Sector at Equity Bank explains in an interview.

More than 200 women and youth showcased their respective small businesses in a national exhibition supported by the Private Sector Foundation Uganda, MasterCard Foundation Young Africa Works among other partners.

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