Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are key to increase youth employment and business creation
Some 250 ambitious entrepreneurs from across Uganda completed an intense boot camp to learn how to grow their businesses. Run by the Youth Startup Academy Uganda, the boot camps are part of an incubator project that aims to work with 1,000 entrepreneurs under 35 years old.
The ultimate goal is to improve the startup ecosystem in Uganda. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are key to increase youth employment and business creation.
The boot camps were funded by the Korea SMEs and Startups Agency (KOSME) and implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in partnership with Hive Colab, a co-working hub for young tech entrepreneurs in Uganda.
Boot camps were organized in Kampala, Mbarara, Jinja, and Gulu. The sessions discussed business model, customer analysis, access to market, and legal and tax issues. The three-stage incubation programme is inspired by KOSME’s work in the Republic of Korea. Since 2011, the Korean incubator has graduated 6,741 alumni and two unicorns – the tech term for start-ups that reach a $1-billion valuation.
After the boot camps, selected entrepreneurs will receive intensive and advanced courses to scale up their businesses, as well as individual coaching sessions.
YSAU entrepreneurs can anticipate diverse support from the incubation program, like access to a fully equipped business creation facility including co-working space, an IT room, and a maker space. Entrepreneurs will have access to the facility even after graduation.
Additionally, ITC will select outstanding entrepreneurs to participate in regional and international trade fairs. These events give start-ups a chance to enlarge their network, introduce their businesses to investors, and develop joint ventures.
Since the project began in June 2022, YSA Uganda has already trained a first cohort of 110 entrepreneurs. Among that group, 17 start-ups reported new or increased sales, while 13 start-ups attracted new investment in 2022.
The YSA Uganda project will assist the current cohort of entrepreneurs until the end of July 2023. The next group of entrepreneurs will undergo training from July to November 2023, and with a final group incubator scheduled for early 2024.