Young entrepreneurs given push to pursue business dreams

By Edwin Muhumuza

Thousands of young entrepreneurs in Uganda are gearing up for 2019 cohort of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. This is courtesy of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the leading African-funded and founded philanthropy committed to empowering African entrepreneurs. Also involved is the United Bank of Africa(UBA)which has facilitated over 60 entrepreneurs who want to benefit from this initiative .

The head of Retail and SME,UBA, Paul Luyima, says they are targeting over 5000 daring entrepreneurs so as to increase their chances of winning.

‘’We are trying to prepare them or polish them, their proposals and approaches so that by the time they submit in,they will be considered.’’ He adds that ,’’this year is different and as UBA, we have decided to support the entrepreneurs ,call them in, try to highlight a few areas they need to consider and we have also decided to invite alumni to give them tips on how to succeed.’’

Kenneth Twesigye, owns a company called TechBuzz Hub, now three years old. He says they give life to entrepreneurship, innovation and start ups. As a previous winner, he hailed the TEF program for the mentorship training.

He says one must be shrewd enough to defend their application, must be a go-getter, have an entrepreneurial element, be committed and lastly the applicant must be able to scan the environment; creative, innovative, very ready to see a problem and suggest a solution so as to succeed.

Twesigye reveals that he was selected in 2016 and went through the training, mentor-ship and did business planning and financial planning, still under the guidance of TEP and thereafter they were given the money. It has been two full years since inception of his company and currently he has a contract with government to support young entrepreneurs in the IT sector and has 13 entrepreneurs that they harbor as company ,among other initiatives.

Now in its 5th year, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme has empowered 4,470 entrepreneurs, using a bespoke and robust selection, training and implementation process to create visible and sustainable impact across all 54 African countries.

In 2018 over 2,210 Ugandans entrepreneurs applied for the program, ranking Uganda the third highest after Nigeria and Kenya in submissions. Over 126 Ugandan applicants were successful and received n the USD 5000, seed capital in 2018. Since inception over 300 Ugandan entrepreneurs have benefited from the program.

The other thing about the work shop is the entrepreneurs were told about the readiness of UBA to support their journey through positioning themselves from day one to ensure that they achieve along with the bank, Luyima said.

Every year the foundation opens up a portal for people to submit and through the marketing department, a message is sent through social media to invite those who would like to benefit from the Tony Elumelu Foundation .The Programme is a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs with an objective to generate at least 1,000,000 new jobs and create at least $10 billion in new business revenue across Africa.