11,305 women entrepreneurs benefit from NSSF innovation programme

In Summary
  • NSSF, Mastercard Foundation holds Hi Innovator programme at MUBS
  • Over 11,305 female entrepreneurs have benefited, since inception of the program
Some of the selected entrepreneurs during the pitching session at MUBS. They will recieve shs75m worth of seed funding after due diligence process
Image: Wasswa Deo

Over 11,305 female entrepreneurs have benefited from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Hi-Innovator program, an innovation initiative that provides seed funding and entrepreneurship training to small and growing businesses, over four years, Alex Rumanyika the NSSF Head of Strategy and Performance has revealed.

Speaking at a business pitching session at Makerere University Business School, Rumanyika revealed that the program has so far successfully funded over 242 businesses across all sectors of the economy where 79% have been women-owned businesses, with a total of Ugx 18 billion seed funding.

“It is encouraging that the program is now attracting businesses from all over the country to pitch, specifically women. I believe that women are becoming a game changer in transforming Uganda and supporting them will even yield better results.” Rumanyika said.

“I believe that the future of this program should have a bias towards women but we must make it unique in terms of value proposition. With support from our partner Entrepreneur Support Organization, the Hi-innovator program can be at the center of transforming what these value propositions look like for women in businesses,” he said.

An additional 38 female-owned businesses were also selected for potential seed funding during the pitching sessions held at Stanbic Business Incubator in Kololo, Mkazipreneur in Ntinda, and Makerere University Business School on 6th, 8th, and 9th May respectively.

The selected businesses will be provided with seed funding after a thorough evaluation and due diligence process. This financial boost is intended to propel them to the next stages of growth, helping to solidify their market positions, expand their operations, and ultimately contribute to the broader economic fabric of Uganda.

One of the NSSF Hi-innovator participants pitching their business ideas to a panel of investment experts at MUBS

The NSSF Hi-Innovator program is an innovation initiative by the National Social Security Fund in partnership with Mastercard Foundation and is implemented by Outbox Uganda. It aims to create an ecosystem where Small and Growing Businesses by Ugandan entrepreneurs can be supported to mature into viable businesses.

Rumanyika noted that to date, the Hi-Innovator Programme has made significant strides in fostering entrepreneurship and economic growth within Uganda.

''The initiative has equipped 30,000 individuals with critical entrepreneurship skills, enabling them to navigate the complexities of starting and managing successful businesses. In addition, it has provided essential catalytic financing to 242 Small & Growing Businesses. This financial support is designed to jump-start operations, fuel growth, and drive innovation, helping these businesses scale and become more competitive in the market''. he said.

The Hi-Innovator Programme has played a pivotal role in job creation, having sustained over 100,000 work opportunities. Remarkably, 82% of these opportunities have been secured for Ugandan youth, underscoring the programme's commitment to addressing unemployment among this demographic.

Richard Zulu, founder of Outbox, the lead project implementing partner, noted, "Our focus is on building the capacity of entrepreneurship support organizations to enhance the programme’s pipeline. Success for us is defined by our partners' ability to fully implement their activities, ensuring sustained impact and empowerment."

Christina Lunkuse and Patrick Mwebesa, both seasoned investment advisors noted that the quality of businesses getting into the Programme were conversant with their unique value proposition and what commercialization would do for the growth of their businesses.