Two final year students from Mbarara University of Science and Technology with a vision of improving health and appearance using organic products; a Jinja-based entrepreneur making organic powder from Avocado seeds; a waste collection and value addition company that collects, sorts, recycles and sells organic fertiliser; a farm management software to help you track your farm activities from anywhere at any time; a mobile app that gives Ugandans access to quality health care information, services and products and a 360 child care service that provides school pick and drop-off services.
These were some of the exciting business proposal presentations that took place on 13th and 14th October at dfcu Bank headquarters as the semi-finalists of the 2022 Rising Woman Competition defended their business proposals before a panel of select judges that included Ruth Asasira, Manager Women in Business and Special Programs at dfcu Bank, Josephine N Mukumbya, the Executive Director Agribusiness Development Center, Carol Alyek Beyanga, the Head of Mentorship, Partnerships and Monetization at Nation Media Group, Eria Kaweireku, the Senior Investment Executive at Uganda Investment Authority and CPA Prof. Kaawaase, the Managing Partner of Sejjaaka, Kaawaase & Co. Certified Public Accountants and the Chairman of the panel.
23 entrepreneurs were selected from 182 submissions made from hopeful contenders across the country. The semi-finalists were grouped into 3 categories which included; Digital Innovation and E-commerce, Manufacturing and Consumer Services and Agribusiness Value Addition. Over the 2 days, they appeared before the panel – contending for the ultimate prizes for this year’s Rising Woman Initiative including, business funding in the form of UGX 10 million for the top entrepreneur in each category as well as an all-expenses paid study tour for the top 10 winners.
According to Ruth Asasira, Manager Women in Business and Special Programs at dfcu Bank and one of the judges on the panel, this two-day session gave the entrepreneurs an opportunity to present their proposals and engage with the panel.
Commenting on the Rising Woman Initiative, Asasira said, “Majority of female enterprises are in the informal sector with no formalization, which limits their sustainability and growth. They also face other challenges such as limited access to finance, markets, business exposure and business skills. The Rising Woman Initiative which falls under dfcu’s Women in Business Program, offers these female-owned enterprises all-around support services to enable them to bloom into their full potential.”
Launched four years ago by dfcu Bank in partnership with Monitor Publications Limited and Uganda Investment Authority, Rising Woman is an initiative that aims to recognize, celebrate, and promote a culture of mentorship among women in the business space in Uganda. Over the past four years, this initiative has directly benefited more than 60,000 women and over 1 million more, virtually, through a range of programs that included regional power trainings, live TV talk shows, proposal writing competitions and mentorship trips within the region.
The fifth season, themed ‘Taking Your Business Ahead’ will end with an award ceremony to recognise the winning proposals from the competition.