Ruth Asasira, Manager Women in Business and Special Programs – dfcu Bank.
Q: What is the ADC Business Accelerator Program (BAP)?
A: The ADC Business Accelerator Program is an initiative that is sponsored by dfcu bank and Rabo Foundation to build capacities of Agribusiness Value Chain enterprises for growth and, is being implemented by the Agribusiness Development Center (ADC).
The Accelerator is a 4-month program focusing on agribusiness enterprises that have moved from the ideation stage and are ready for scale. Our intention for this program is to enable 350 agribusinesses (40% women-led) to become self-sufficient & create at least 350 new jobs in the following categories: Agro Marketing, Processing, Production; Agro Forestry; Agro Tourism and Agri- support services like Agritech; Veterinary; Input supply; Extension Service.
Other objectives include:
– Linking these Agribusiness Enterprises to financing and markets, affordable green finance, and technical assistance.
– Influencing youth and women inclusivity in Enterprise Leadership.
– Creating peer exposure and networking opportunities through learning visits to
experts in varied fields.
The Program Cohorts will consider varied hindrances to agribusiness growth as well as harness opportunities for business acceleration. The themes under consideration for 2 years , shall be; key value chains; Greening Agribusinesses; Oil & Gas opportunities for Agribusinesses and, Youth in agribusiness. The first cohort will be selected with the goal of ensuring gender inclusivity in Agribusiness Development.
Q: Why Women in Agribusiness as the inaugural cohort?
A: Factually, women face more challenges than men in starting, managing, and growing their enterprises, as they are more likely to be impeded by a lack of the necessary capacities, skills and resources compared to their male counterparts.
With 52% of Uganda’s labor force made up of women, and approximately 75% employed in agriculture sector, interventions like the ADC Business Accelerator Program are pivotal in promoting entrepreneurship and helping women develop greater economic prosperity.
In 2007, dfcu bank made a deliberate decision to start the dfcu Women in Business Program; purposed to create an enabling environment for Women Entrepreneurs. The Bank’s Women in Business Program proposition serves women employed in agribusiness as a key focus area. Through several engagements, over 80,000 dfcu Women in Business clients have signed up for the program.
In response to several customer requests, this initiative will further enhance the capacity of the dfcu women in business members, both new and existing as well as to other women in agribusiness.
Q: How unique is this initiative in comparison with many other existing programs?
A: Agriculture as a business presents unique challenges that require unique solutions. The ADC Business Accelerator Program focuses on dealing with challenges that the agribusiness sector faces at all levels; input sector, farming and production.
We expect to contribute directly to five Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); 5- Gender equality; 7 – Affordable Clean Energy; 8-Decent work and economic growth; and 17- Partnerships for goals.
Q: How does one qualify for this exciting accelerator program?
A: The invitation for the first cohort goes out to Women led agribusinesses who meet the following criteria:
Primarily, Women led Agribusinesses (at least 50% owned and or managed by women) that are part of the Women in Business (WIB) program at dfcu Bank or have gone through other related agribusiness development initiatives.
Agribusinesses owned at least 40% by women, shall be exceptionally considered if at least 60% of the staff are women.
Should have a registered Agribusiness in Uganda.
Should hold an account with dfcu Bank or willing to open one.
Must be a for profit agribusiness.
Have an annual turnover minimum of UGX 60M.
Be operational with a verified product or service.
Q: What benefits should the enterprises expect from this Initiative
A: The participants of the initiative will receive access to information and tools that support their Agribusinesses to get clarity about;
Business strategic positioning .
Business model validation.
Access to affordable Legal, Branding, Accounting and Tax Advisory services.
Networking opportunities and learning visits to experts in varied fields.
Linkages to affordable financial services.
The ADC Business Accelerator Program alumni will also benefit from the dfcu Bank Small and Medium enterprise (SME) agribusiness value proposition which includes, affordable transactional banking, financing as well as other capacity building programs.