The US Embassy in Uganda on 3rd Oct) embarked on empowering Ugandan women entrepreneurs with the skills with an aim of helping them discover their full potential in doing business.
Through the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs program, 270 women with small and medium businesses are to be training in various business aspects for the next three months.
Launching the program at the American Centre in Kampala, the US Ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac appealed to the selected women entrepreneurs from Northern Uganda and Kampala to take advantage of this program
The American government has implemented as similar program in Kenya and Tanzania.
“In 2014, the Global Entrepreneur Monitor reported that female Ugandan entrepreneurs actually outnumbered the male counterparts and the average Ugandan entrepreneur is in fact a young woman, with secondary Education, who is working in service sector, so we want to find ways to help you and women like you to get the support that you need in order to continue to grow….., to continue to make a positive impact on Uganda’s economic development,” Malac said.
Malac further said that this program will go a long way in supplementing the other US Embassy programs that focus on supporting women.
Explaining the numerous risks that an average Ugandan who is a 14 year old girl in the rural area encounters, Malac says the US embassy is delighted to have another program to empower the woman that can eventually lead to creation role models for this young vulnerable girl.
She believes that making women entrepreneurs successful by giving them tools they need will show that women are just as good as the men if not better.
“Having successful women entrepreneurs can inspire those other generations and young girls to start in school, to get education, to look for economic opportunities and know that it is possible to make it ion life”
The Head of Facilitators Phiona Luswata explaines that the online course that attracted women with an o-level education will address the gaps in doing business which frustrate growth.
According to Luswata this program is not an academic training but rather practical which will enable meeting with mentors every after two weeks to share practical experiences in different business aspects.
Luswata points out lack of a business plan, record keeping, marketing skills , poor branding and knowledge about pitching business ideas as some of the issues that will be covered under the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs.
“Women don’t plan their business, many women enter businesses out of necessity, so they do not think through the business they want to do, they do not think through how they are going to implement their business, another challenge women have is getting finances for their businesses, the reason for this again, is because they do not have the business plans, so they do not know how to look for the finances, they do not know how to look for markets for their business, so we are telling these women look for markets, we are going to tell them this through this course’-Luswata.
She adds that besides acquiring the relevant business skills, the excellent participants have an opportunity of getting funding to boost the enterprises.
Hellen Machika a dealer in vegetable seedlings who learnt of this opportunity through a friend who forwarded a newspaper advert, expressed optimism that her business is to blossom after acquiring all the business management skills she has been desiring to acquire.
“I think I will learn things like documentation , for example this training will help me to be able to prepare business documents that I can present may be to a funder or somebody else who would like to look at what am doing, basically am going to be more organized than I have been before”-Machika
Carol Mumba the proprietor of Akari Natural Spices that dealers Food spices, with told the Sunrise Newspaper she looks forward to master writing business plan, doing proper packaging and branding of her products, record keeping among other skills.
The Coordinator of the Academy for Women Entrepreneur program Joyce Santa applauded the American People and the American government for what they are doing for the people of Uganda especially for those in Northern Uganda.
Santa who partly attributes the peace enjoyed in Northern Uganda to the input by the American government says that when women are economically empowered they give back to their family, they give back to the community and that particular country is strong.
Without disclosing the total donation towards this program, Santa explained that 200 participants are coming from Northern Uganda and 70 come from Kampala just because this is still a pilot program.
“This is a pilot scheme, if we do well, definitely more is yet to come”-Santa noted
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