Ugandan entrepreneurs with interest and stake in the green economy have got a shot in the arm, thanks to Uganda Green Enterprise Finance Accelerator (UGEFA).
The EU-funded Enterprise has launched a new drive to small and medium enterprises involved in green businesses to grow into powerful, self-sustaining companies. In a press statement released Wednesday, UGEFA announced that it is seeking high-potential small and medium-sized enterprises looking for debt finance to invest in their business. UGEFA targets SMEs that specialise in eco-tourism, clean energy, sustainable transport, waste management and green manufacturing, including agro-processing (turning raw crops into finished products such as textiles and dried fruit). Amplifying the impact of environmentally-conscious enterprises is essential to growing the economy, improving living conditions for thousands of people and increasing access to fulfilling employment.
Applications for the final cohort of the programme open 1st March and close 14th April. Previous applicants have received capacity-building workshops to help them scale through a series of hands-on interactive sessions to refine their business models, financial systems management and impact measures.
Since its launch in March 2020, UGEFA has received 1900+ registrations, accepted 120 enterprises into the programme and delivered 50+ workshops.
UGEFA supports successful applicants through its business advisors, led by adelphi and Finding XY. It involves tried and tested practical tools to prepare entrepreneurs for managing growth and gives them a platform to showcase their businesses and share ideas with peers.
The aim is to help enterprises prepare their loan application and access UGEFA’s network of partner banks – Equity Bank, Yako Bank, Opportunity Bank – to achieve the next stage of growth.
Businesses that are eligible can receive support during application clinics. This includes help with preparing the necessary documents as part of their applications (e.g., business plans) and providing tips and tricks on how to compile a compelling application to the programme.
Commenting on the opening of the call for applications, Rainer Agster, adelphi Executive Board Member said, “UGEFA provides the support green enterprises need to grow and scale. We know that access to finance is a key challenge for green SMEs – UGEFA establishes the framework to make these enterprises bankable. Beyond that, UGEFA supports enterprises to scale their positive impacts for people and the planet, to become frontrunners of a green economy in Uganda.”
Leveraging Uganda’s human and natural resources effectively has the potential to boost GDP by 10 percent and generate four million jobs over the next 20 years. This will improve income equality while building a more resilient economy.
Even though bank lending is the most common source of external financing for SMEs in Uganda, it is not always easy for enterprises to access. UGEFA helps bridge this gap by ensuring that eligible businesses meet the requirements of lenders so they can get access to the money they need to grow.
Programme Manager, Access to Finance and Agribusiness, Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Uganda, Cristina Banuta said, “The European Union is adapting its cooperation programmes so that they deliver on our commitments in terms of transition to green and inclusive economies and climate change. The UGEFA programme offers not only business development services, but also post investment technical assistance.”
Applicants to the UGEFA programme must be: registered; revenue-generating businesses; engaged in a green sector, specifically clean energy, sustainable transport, sustainable tourism, waste management or green manufacturing, including in the supply chain of sustainable agricultural products; operational for 2+ years; and interested in support to access debt finance. Some of the Ugandan beneficiaries already on the programme include: Green Caol Uganda, Green Circle Limited, and Divine Bamboo Group, among others.
The Uganda Enterprise Finance Accelerator (UGEFA) is funded fully by the European Union Delegation to Uganda. UGEFA is implemented by adelphi Research gGmbH, a leading global independent think and do tank on environment and development; and Finding XY, a Ugandan-based, innovation centre and business advisory firm.