NSSF to finance over 90,000 female entrepreneurs

by Musa Hashim Kasibante
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Mr. Richard Byarugaba the National Social Security Fund Managing Director

National Social Security Fund (NSSF), under the fund’s Hi-Innovator flagship sustainability programme, is seeking to fund 92,400 women entrepreneurs in a bid to boost their businesses.

Barbara Arimi the Communication and Marketing Officer at NSSF told New Vision in an interview that woman entrepreneurs across the country were eligible to benefit from this programme, provided they deal in commerce, agriculture, manufacturing and technology.

Arimi said the programme will run for the next five years and each beneficiary business is set to receive $30,000 (about Ush105m).

The precondition for receiving the grant, according to Arimi, is the pre-accelerator which is the first step of the Hi-Innovator programme.

Barbara described it as a self-directed online platform with exercises to enable entrepreneurs to apply the skills to their businesses.

She says it also prepares them for the next phase, receiving funding and technical support.

“Starting a business is never an easy task. Founders often face the challenge of having to fund each step of the enterprise’s growth while ensuring that there is a balance between inputs and outputs,” she said.

Barbara Arimi noted that these challenges, without quick solutions, often delayed a start-up’s maturity and resulted in business stagnation, hence the reason for women to receive the grant fund.

The NSSF chief executive officer, Richard Byarugaba said by July 2021, about 890 applications had been received, from 28% females and 71% males.

Mr. Richard Byarugaba the National Social Security Fund Managing Director
Mr Richard Byarugaba, the National Social Security Fund Managing Director at a recent event.

Arimi said the opportunity was now targeting women to motivate them to improve their economic growth and survival in the bad economy.

The development comes after the partnership between NSSF and Master Card Foundation was sealed last year, where at least $2.4m (about sh8.4b) was cashed out of $10m (about sh35b) as seed capital to start-ups.

Richard Byaruhanga said with this money, the fund seeks to support small businesses with the potential to scale and bring new economic opportunities in Uganda and create more than 130,000 jobs in the next 10 years.

Requirements to become a beneficiary include the following

An application must be submitted through the Hi-Innovator and idea management system to be considered. Those received by email, WhatsApp, or in person will not be accepted.

In terms of what the business should possess, the limit is at least to have launched a product or service to the market and received early customer feedback with some revenue. The revenue should be at least sh20m over the previous two years.

The business should also have been legally and actively operational for at least two years.

The business must have been fully registered with Uganda Registration Services Bureau, Uganda Revenue Authority, and National Social Security Fund.

The Hi-Innovator initiative requires founder participation. All founding team members must commit to fully participating in at least 90% of the initiative’s scheduled learning labs and mentorship sessions.

“Founding team members not fully committed to the initiative will not be accepted in the initiative, and their removal may render the remaining team ineligible for the programme,” she said.

According to Barbara Arimi, the other prerequisite for registration is that all applicants must be Ugandan nationals or non-citizens currently living and working in Uganda with updated work permits.

Foreigners or Non-Ugandans who want to benefit should be running a business that includes a Ugandan in an ownership and decision-making role to be considered. Business Times Uganda

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