13 October 2012

Uganda: Warid Starts Sh1 Billion Youth Fund

Ugandan youth who want to grow their business skills have cause to smile. Warid, one of Uganda's five telecom companies, has announced a sh1b venture capital fund for youth enterprise.

The company is targeting over 200,000 youth, who hatch business ideas annually, but fail to implement them due to either lack of skills or capital.

The company wants to tap the bright ideas of the brilliant young minds and turn them into real business.

Warid says its aim is to compliment government's efforts to fight youth unemployment. "We want to give everyone the power to live his or her business dreams," read a statement from the telecom company.

The company plans to give budding entrepreneurs with successful business proposals funding and a one-year business mentorship opportunity.

Enterprise Uganda, an entrepreneurship development organisation, is partnering with Warid to implement the project.

Warid targets the youth both in micro and macro projects. The firm says it shall deduct sh5 from revenues on its voice calls, SMS, data and Sim card purchases to generate funds for the project. So far, one person, Dr. Davis Musinguzi, has received $50,000 (sh129m) from the company, to start a mobile healthcare business.

Enterprise Uganda boss Charles Ocici said the project would give beneficiaries a chance to do business on the international platform. "We want to break the notion that Ugandan entrepreneurs can only compete at the local scene. This model will accelerate job creation in the next 50 years," he added.

Over 480,000 youth graduate each year from universities in Uganda, but only 100,000 are absorbed into formal employment, increasing the job deficit.

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