Backed by the statistic of the majority of Uganda’s population being predominantly composed of young people, the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) together with its implementing partner the Mastercard Foundation, they have from time to time invested efforts in empowering the youth.

This is mainly exhibited in their Young Africa Works program. Their other is the Young Africa Works -Enhancing Lead Firm Structure for Youth Employment in Uganda Project (LFS), which was started with an ultimate goal of creating dignified and fulfilling work for young Ugandans.

Today at a workshop held at the Protea by Marriot Hotel in Kololo, the Private Sector Foundation Uganda together with its partners held a youth engagement to discuss the strategies of keeping youth at the center of the program since it was designed to empower them as the main benefitiaries from it. At the workshop, an elite set of speakers were tapped to share their knowledge and share words of courage to the young people in attendance. The workshop was moderated by Albert Katruguma, a Digital Strategist, Social Media Influencer, Team Lead and Founder of i-Verse Digital.

Among them was Ms Claire Nansikombi Muhire, the CEO and Founder of “BE YOUR OWN BOSS BABE”; a venture that seeks to help women/ babes discover their entrepreneurial potential, a Vlogger and Owner of Bluemoon International Pre and Primary School Muyenga. She shared 5 tips/ lessons that she believes every already established/ aspiring entrepreneur should embrace, and these included:

  1. Failure. Make failure your best friend. For it is a teacher. Sit down with him/her, and discuss with it. It is this very failure that will pave way for learning. While at it, it is also important that you count your lessons, and note where to improve, and attempt again; not just in business, but in relationships, and other aspects of life.
  2. Knowledge is Power. Claire stressed that knowledge without practice is as good as dead and encouraged attendees to work on putting whichever knowledge they acquire into practice.
  3. “Learn from people who are where you want to be” is another key lesson Claire shared. Echoing that there is no way you would be an aspiring entrepreneur but seek mentorship of someone say in the medical field.
  4. Reinvent yourself. She touched on the need for an individual to seek and act like the person they wish to become, that way they get to shape their future.
  5. “Fear is not going to do anything to and for you”. So do not be afraid of failure”, she concluded.

“The LFS programs started in 2019 with a target of 281,961. According to the latest donor report for January 2023, the PSFU-LFS project has reached/mobilized 132,534 youth, engaged 110,956 youth and it has managed to transit 89,204 youth into work. The number keeps on significantly decreasing towards a particular progressive stage of results. This is partly attributed to poor youth engagement. Under LFS, youth voices are limited, and their perspectives are missing since they are not occupying key decision-making positions within the project. We are here to today to engage the youth at a more personal level and understand the exact needs The LFS project can extend to you the youth.”, remarked Ms. Lilian Kansiime, the Project Manager of the Lead Firm Structure for Youth Employment in Uganda Project (LFS) Program.

Speaking at the workshop, Jackie Arinda, the CEO Jada Coffee Uganda whose main message was that the youth should appreciate that the entrepreneurial journey is different for everyone and that there’s no “one cloth fits all” approach when it comes to business.

Just like the previous speaker, Jackie also stressed the importance of being in constant pursuit of knowledge, not being afraid to ask for help, consult and asking questions. Jackie concluded her keynote by encouraging young people to be their own HEROES.

There then was a breakout session where attendees where attendees were put into four groups, each having at most ten members to discuss their exact needs as youth, among other concerns. Group I presented on the requirements required to start a business and they mentioned items like: a business plan, a product, market, capital etc., and on the requirements to sustain a business, the members singled out: marketing strategies, customer care, tax adherence, consistency, among others.

Group II presented on the sources of funds to start a business and they gave examples like: savings, grants, bank loans, inheritance, and social capital.

To answer the question of What non-financial support the young people need so as to start and thrive at business, Group III mentioned mentorship, partnership, research and business development services.

On how young people spend their income, Group IV while tackling this question gave re-investment, food, leisure, tithe, charity, school fees as some of their responses.

The young people also requested the Private Sector Foundation Uganda to avail its social resources since as entrepreneurs most would be just starting out and therefore do not have access to these. The youth also believe that these will go a long way in aiding their growth.

While offering his keynote, Festo Nyakaana, the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist from National Social Security Fund (NSSF) briefly took attendees through the Hi-Innovator Program and how they can take and make the most of it as entrepreneurs.

“By the end of 5 years, our goal is to support 500 startups to get seed capital, for 100 to be scaled and create 132,000 jobs”, he said. The program doesn’t run on its own but rather is in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and it is worth $10,000.

He went ahead to add that for a business to qualify or participate, it must first of all be fully registered; and be in industries;- light manufacturing, agribusiness, health and nutrition, digital economy, and fashion & beauty. The business owner must have also fully taken part in the mandatory Hi-Innovator Training.

The final speaker of the day was Ricky Rappa Thompson, the founder of Safeboda. In his few remarks at the workshop, he encouraged young people to harness social media for those who haven’t, for there are so many opportunities there, and in networking in general. He also encouraged the youth to share their knowledge and skills, for there’s power in working together.

The Youth Engagement Workshop was capped with a photo moment and lunch and of course networking.