KAMPALA, UGANDA – March 2, 2017 – The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) and the Citi Foundation are pleased to honor youth entrepreneurship March 2 at Urban by City Blue in Kampala. The awards reception recognized 11 young Ugandan entrepreneurs as part of the continued collaboration between USADF and the Citi Foundation. The most recent USADF-Citi Business Plan Competition awarded twenty entrepreneurs in total with $10K in seed capital. These young entrepreneurs have developed business solutions to address challenging social issues in areas such as healthcare, agribusiness and waste management.
Together USADF and the Citi Foundation are investing in Africa’s most innovative and impactful youth-led enterprises by pairing seed capital with technical assistance. USADF is providing young entrepreneurs with the tools needed to invest in their own communities, and grow Africa’s next generation of business leaders and social entrepreneurs. These business leaders will employ marginalized people, train other youth, impact their communities and create or expand markets by providing goods and services. This partnership is part of the Citi Foundation's Pathways to Progress initiative, a commitment to support 500,000 urban youth to prepare for today's economy over the next three years.
The reception hosted representatives from USADF, the Citi Foundation, USAID, the U.S. Embassy in Uganda and representatives from the Ugandan Government. “With the seed capital and support provided through these USADF and Citi Foundation grants, it is our hope these young business leaders will not just grow their businesses, creating jobs and economic opportunities,” said Ambassador Malac in her remarks. “We also hope they will become agents of positive change and development in their communities and throughout the country.”
As winners of the USADF-Citi Business Plan Competition, these young people have demonstrated leadership in business, the ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups, and the communication skills to actively engage in their communities. They are the future leaders committed to catalyzing change in their countries and Africa as a whole.
Over a 6 to 12-month period, the 11 Ugandan entrepreneurs supported by USADF & the Citi Foundation will gain operational knowledge in funds accountability and reporting. They will also have access to 1-on-1 business advice and mentoring, and tangible skills to help them grow their ventures. One of the winners who presented at the reception, George Bakka, is the chief executive officer at Angels Initiatives, an enterprise-finance firm that raises capital for flexible financing to small and growing businesses in Africa. Others entrepreneurs like Brenda Katwesigye, founder of Wazi Vision, working to make eye care more affordable for school children by using low-cost, recycled materials. Initiatives like this one are not only keep people healthier, but also help children improve their academic performances.
“We are proud to partner with USADF and invest in youth through this program to help enable economic resilience and long-term competitiveness in East Africa,’’ said Sarah Arapta, Managing Director for Citi Uganda. ‘Through Pathways to Progress, the Citi Foundation is committed to supporting programs that catalyze economic growth and provide solid economic opportunities to African youth.”
To date, USADF has invested $3 million in 150 social enterprises in over 30 countries. In partnership with the Citi Foundation, USADF will award up to 28 business plan competition winners in 2016 with $450,000 in seed capital, mentoring and business support.
About the U.S. African Development Foundation:
The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) is an independent U.S. Government agency dedicated to promoting African-led development. USADF grants provide seed capital and local technical expertise to grassroots enterprises in over 30 countries in Africa to ensure lasting economic development. By partnering with host country governments and the private sector, USADF provides early stage funding to African-led and managed enterprises with a maximum grant size of $250,000 dollars, with grants that support agriculture, off-grid energy and youth. For more information about USADF, visit us at www.USADF.gov
About the Citi Foundation:
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. The foundation invests in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfil their mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.