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NSSF, Mastercard Foundation innovation programme creates 60,000 jobs

Annet Birungi and Joan Kabakama, proprietors of Budongo Women Bee Enterprises celebrate after being announced winners of shs75m seed funding in the NSSF Hi-innovator Women Accelerator cohort 2 on June 2 in Kampala.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The National Social Security Fund Hi-Innovator innovation programme has created close to 60,000 employment opportunities for youth and women entrepreneurs over the last three years of implementation, the Fund’s Ag. Managing Director Patrick Ayota has said in a news release shared with this website.

Ayota also revealed that the programme has so far supported 173 women and youth-owned businesses across all sectors of the economy with Shs9.9 billion seed funding.

The NSSF Hi-Innovator Women Accelerator is a women-only cohort aimed at giving women entrepreneurs across all sectors an even opportunity to improve their business skills and grow their businesses into resilient enterprises that are more competitive and better placed to receive financial services.

It is the fourth cohort of the NSSF Hi-innovator Programme, an Innovation initiative by the NSSF in partnership with Mastercard Foundation. It aims to create an ecosystem where small businesses by Ugandan entrepreneurs can be supported to mature into viable businesses.

“When we launched the NSSF Hi-innovator in May 2021, we set a target of creating 132,000 work opportunities for youths countrywide by 2025. We are close to 50% of that target and as   businesses in the pipeline begin realizing more value from the funding provided, more and more work opportunities will be created,” Ayota said.

The Hi-innovator program provides Ugandan entrepreneurs with seed funding worth Shs75m each and entrepreneurial training using a self-directed online learning platform, the NSSF Hi-innovator Business Academy.

93 more women-owned businesses have benefitted from the latest round of seed funding after selection by the programme Investments Committee that evaluates competing entrepreneurs.

The selection follows a strict criterion that includes the potential for scalability, sustainability, governance framework, and impact on the community.

Richard Zulu, the Outbox Lead, that champions the implementation of the programme explained that potential businesses are selected from the Hi-innovator business academy and are then subjected to a boot camp that prepares them to pitch for seed funding.



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