Kampala, Uganda | Julius Businge | Standard Chartered Bank Uganda in partnership with the Inclusion Works Consortium has rewarded finalists of the ‘Innovation Challenge for Youth with Disabilities’ with US$5,000 (approx.Shs18m) to help them realize their entrepreneurial aspirations, it said on Apr.20.
This ‘innovation challenge’ is part of the Bank’s Diversity and Inclusion agenda initiated as a means to empower youth with disabilities as job creators through self-motivated innovations.
The Inclusion Works consortium led by Sightsavers announced the five winners including two deaf youth, two visually impaired youth and one with physical body limitation with each of them receiving Shs 3.6 million.
Standard Chartered Bank and Sightsavers launched the ‘innovation challenge’ in December 2020, attracting a total of 32 applicants.
In December last year, the 11 shortlisted applicants pitched their ideas to a panel of judges who then selected the five applicants.
These have since then been undergoing a mentorship programme where they received sufficient business skills from experienced business mentors and online resources.
While speaking to the participants, the Commissioner for Disability and Elderly Affairs at the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development, Emilly Ajjambo said this move is complimenting government efforts of uplifting people from poverty.
“It’s only through a combined effort that we can address the needs of persons with disabilities,” Ajjambo said.
Standard Chartered Bank Head of Corporate Affairs, Brand and Marketing, Regina Mukiri said that the initiative is a move to recognize the hidden abilities of persons with disabilities.
“Most often persons with disabilities face prejudice from society,” Mukiri said. Simon Brown, the global technical lead, for economic empowerment for Sightsavers, said it is clear that in the next economic recovery cycle from COVID-19, labor markets will even be more competitive than perhaps ever before.
“It is important to invest in potential job creators as well as job seekers and that is exactly what Standard Chartered Bank is recognizing with this pilot of the Innovations Challenge,” Brown said.