The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) through its Hi-innovator initiative program has created 60,000 employment opportunities for youth and women entrepreneurs.
The program which has been in implementation for the past three years supports small and growing businesses.
The acting Managing Director of NSSF, Patrick Ayota, revealed that the programme has so far supported 173 women and youth-owned businesses across all sectors of the economy with Shs9.9 billion in seed funding.
“When we launched the NSSF Hi-innovator in May 2021, we set a target of creating 132, 000 work opportunities for youths countrywide by 2025,” he said.
“We are close to 50% of that target and as businesses in the pipeline begin realizing more value from the funding provided, more and more work opportunities will be created,” he said.
Ayota was speaking at the second Hi-Innovator Women Accelerator Pitch Day at Mestil Hotel in Kampala.
The NSSF Hi-Innovator Women Accelerator is a women-only cohort aimed at giving women entrepreneurs across all sectors an even opportunity to improve their business skills and grow their businesses into resilient enterprises that are more competitive and better placed to receive financial services.
Richard Zulu, the Outbox Lead, that champions the implementation of the programme explained that potential businesses are selected from the Hi-innovator business academy and are then subjected to a boot camp that prepares them to pitch for seed funding.
“Over the last 3 years of the NSSF Hi-Innovator, we’ve seen entrepreneurs grow more confident and come forward to face investors. They are no longer afraid to open their businesses for scrutiny. This bodes well for the innovation and start-up community in Uganda. Eventually, Uganda will catch up with our peers in the region,” he said.
Over 50 incredible female business owners took the stage and delivered outstanding pitches. The rooms were filled with innovative ideas, passion, and determination.
The NSSF Hi-Innovator Women’s Cohort Pitch Day 2 closed off with a multitude of changed lives. Dreams collided with reality and possibilities transcended boundaries. 93 businesses in total walked home with Shs75 million in seed funding and the Fund cannot be more proud to be a catalyst of this phenomenon. Catch us again at the next cohort.