dfcu Bank, Makerere University and the Ministry of Finance, Planning & Economic Development on Thursday announced a strategic partnership that will create a platform to support young entrepreneurs advance ideas on innovative solutions for enterprises that create socio-economic impact in Uganda.
Through the dfcu Graduate Development Programme, the Bank and the Makerere Innovation and Incubation Center (MIIC) will run a structured innovation/incubation programme for a pre-determined number of youth, starting with 5 inaugural trainees in 2021 with a mind to ramp up the numbers over the next five years.
This will enable an ecosystem of innovation and effectively exposing Fintech start-ups to the banking sector. This collaboration underpins local content development in the Banking sector, private sector, government and fintechs through innovation unlocking a host of opportunities for budding entrepreneurs.
MIIC identifies potential entrepreneurs with the best innovative ideas that use new and existing technologies, and partners with organizations like dfcu to offer structured program training, business coaching and mentorship on; ideation, product development, market validation and development, business development as well as access to experts and capital for early growth and scaling.
According to Dr. Peter Ngategize MIIC Board chairman, who is also the National Coordinator, Private Sector Development Unit at MoFPED, this partnership that has been piloted with over 150 beneficiary applicants, plays a significant role in accelerating effective technology solutions for social and economic impact.
"Start-ups in Uganda create new businesses that contribute big to the country's economy. To continuously achieve this, entrepreneurs need quality programs that guide viability of their ideas, mindsets, management processes, measurable growth and access to capital," Dr. Ngategize said.
Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the vice chancellor of Makerere University, emphasised the need for increased investment in research and innovations that provide solutions to persistent development challenges.
“Universities should be at the forefront of driving this research agenda. In times of COVID 19, innovative and digitally driven solutions have to be pillar of our thought process and the partnership with dfcu Bank speaks to that pillar,” he said.
“We are very excited about this partnership with Makerere, which is another step in fulfilling our mission of playing a key role in transforming the economy and enhancing the well-being of our people,” said Mathias Katamba, the dfcu Chief Executive Officer.
“We shall continue to build a digitally-driven organization that not only reaches our key customer segments in a cost-effective manner but also provides market leadership to drive social-economic transformation in the communities where we serve," he concluded.
Shedding light on what long term success of the programme would look like from the Ministry of Finance, Planning & Economic Development’s perspective, Dr. Sengonzi. E. Damulira, Under Secretary/Accounting Officer said: “Strengthening the country ‘s competitiveness for sustainable wealth creation, employment generation and inclusive growth to reduce the number of young people not in education, employment or training by at least 50%.”
The dfcu Graduate programme, kicks off with five (5)graduate trainees in 2021 with the numbers expected to grow over the next five years.