Uganda: Fund to Bail Out Small Businesses in Uganda

The 97Fund, a Ugandan based Open-end Investment Vehicle (HoldCo) launched a $1 Million COVID-19 Relief Fund (the "Fund") to bail out small businesses in Uganda that have been affected by the pandemic.

The 97Fund invests in high growth early-stage companies in Africa and is managed by Ortus Africa Capital.

The fund targets companies in sectors such as healthcare, tourism, education, finance, New Ways of working (NWoW) such as supply chains and logistics and the digital economy providing market places to businesses.

Kenneth Legesi, Manager of the 97Fund said that the pandemic has disrupted Uganda's social and economic landscape as seen through the different sectors across the board.

"The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development projected economic growth would decline from 6 per cent to 5.2 per cent, with an estimate of 2.5 million Ugandans likely to fall back into poverty due to the pandemic. Businesses are feeling the effects and with the sudden surge in COVID-19 numbers, there is need to ensure economic and business continuity to promote long-lasting growth and sustainability as we seek to mitigate business recession," said Legesi.

He also added that the fund will support businesses that have the potential to support other businesses in an environment that is otherwise unprecedented.

"We are very deliberate on this because we expect the companies selected to benefit from The Fund to create an eco-system that helps other companies survive the pandemic.

"Now more than ever, the pandemic has taught us that businesses need to adapt as quickly and as efficiently as possible to find their footing during these unprecedented times of the virus while putting collaboration at the forefront," added Legesi.

Prior to this another $1 million had been given by The Innovation Village as part of the Young Africa Works Program supported by Mastercard Foundation. The Innovation Village seeks to solve problems facing innovators and entrepreneurs.

"The COVID-19 Relief Fund is here to support entrepreneurs that have embraced this window of uncertainty to invest in sustainable solutions that normalize this new normal in operations. The Innovation Village. Our goal is to grow companies that matter and are centred on solving the biggest industry and community challenges. The Innovation Village leverages innovation, entrepreneurship and technology to deliver lasting solutions while challenging the status quo." said CK Japheth, CEO and Team Lead.

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