Friday, March 24, 2023
Home > Agribusiness > dfcu Bank To Empower Over 100 Agribusiness Enterprises Through ADC Business Accelerator Program As Lender Moves To Make Agriculture Less Risky

dfcu Bank To Empower Over 100 Agribusiness Enterprises Through ADC Business Accelerator Program As Lender Moves To Make Agriculture Less Risky

Josephine Mukumbya, Executive Director, Agricultural Development Center addressing participants during the Launch of the program at dfcu Bank Offices at Nakasero.

The Agribusiness Development Centre powered by dfcu Limited and Rabo foundation has partnered with GOPA Worldwide Consultants to implement two consecutive cohorts (two and three) of the Business Accelerator Program (BAP).

This is in line with the national program of Enhancing the Competitiveness of Small and Medium Enterprises (ECOS), which is funded by the Deutsche Gesellschafts fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. This 2-year nationwide project is aimed at increasing the competitiveness of 1,000 Ugandan SMEs, creating 3,000 jobs, and improving employment situations of 22,000 people.

According to Josephine Mukumbya, Executive Director, ADC, a multi-dimensional approach entailing a combination of training, mentoring, coaching and technical assistance will be used for the program.

“We shall integrate key themes of gender and green growth for sustainability within the training modules, the outcome of which being enterprises developing strategies on the same as well as establishing key indicators to track women participation in SME leadership,” she said.

“By the end of 2023, 50 jobs will be created by the enterprises graduated from the program, 100 intern jobs created contractually within the enterprises and a 10% increase in incomes of trained and linked Agribusinesses,” she added.

Mukumbya revealed that for an enterprise to benefit from this programme, it must be already in existence, with a product or service.

She added that ADC’s mandate of capacity building of agribusinesses to bankability and self-sufficiency for enhanced incomes and job creation is well aligned to the ECOS project’s goal, and dfcu’s vision to transform lives and businesses through innovative solutions and empowering people which contribute to the four key pillars and objectives of National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS), one of which is: “Reduce Financial Exclusion and Access Barriers to Finance.”

Since inception, dfcu Bank has shown great commitment to the Agricultural sector to foster growth in the sector. The company has directly supported farmer communities through tailored Agri-products and put in place strategies through its affiliates to de-risk agriculture (by working with insurance companies) and make it an attractive enterprise across the country.

Speaking during the ceremony, William Sekabembe, Ag. CEO and Managing Director of dfcu Bank reiterated the Bank’s commitment to women economic emancipation and enterprise development.

“There is no Uganda without Agriculture and SMEs, it is our backbone as a country. Combining agriculture and women economic empowerment is a magic pill that will transform economic prosperity nationwide. As dfcu Bank, we have been advantaged to see the transformational power of entrepreneurship in this country over the years. Since our inception, we have stayed true to our ‘Mission of making more Possible’ for our communities and over the years, history has taught us to invest in our communities and provide solutions that meet the days’ demands,” he said.

William Sekabembe, Ag. CEO dfcu Bank addressing the new cohorts during the launch of Business Accelerator Programme at Bank’s Head Offices, Nakasero

Sekabembe revealed that dfcu bank is one of the biggest off-takers of the Agricultural Facility Fund managed by the Bank of Uganda (BoU) through participating financial institutions. Through this programme, banks provide loans to farmers at lower interest rates. He added that 15% of dfcu bank’s total loan book is within the agriculture sector.

“This partnership is our commitment to continue investing in the women of this nation that shoulder the economic burden in their families and feel the brunt of policies that are not aligned to their needs. We want to empower more women enterprises as we continue to collaborate with and listen to them and tailor make solutions. I take this momentous occasion to congratulate all our partners and commit our full support to this project. Together we shall make remarkable progress,” he added.

Charles Elibu, in charge of Partnerships at GOPA Worldwide (ECOS) said: “Our role is to bring together partners; it is a joyful moment for GOPA to be a part of this project. We hope that this program will create momentum for SMEs not only to grow but to be sustainable and create jobs. Our core intervention areas are innovation & utilization, access to finance, market development and quality management.”

Speaking on behalf of the Dutch Embassy, Ms. Heide Oranje applauded the partners for their commitment to growth in Agribusiness and socio-economic development.

Uganda’s population growth rate has consistently remained higher than the jobs creation rate necessary to absorb new entrants to the labour market, resulting in unemployment and underemployment. The few jobs created side-line youth (especially young women) with many youth engaged in low value services like vending. Only a handful are able to secure high value ones in ago processing.

The above makes a case for continued capacity development of enterprises especially agribusinesses for bankability, growth and as such job creation, which is what the Agribusiness Development Centre (ADC) and its partners) powered by dfcu Limited and Rabo foundation are doing by targeting small and medium Agribusinesses (40% of which women led).

Taddewo William Senyonyi
William is a seasoned business and finance journalist. He is also an agripreneur and a coffee enthusiast.

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