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BUSINESS & ENTERPRISE START-UP TOOL (BEST) 
 
Interest rates fixed for youth borrowers

KAMPALA
Thousands of jobless youth around the country will be happy to learn that the government is finally ready to roll-out its long drawn-out plans to provide soft loans for small business start-ups.

Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka yesterday said agreements have been reached with three commercial banks i.e Centenary Bank, DFCU and Stanbic to fix the interest rate to be charged on youth money at 15 per cent for a period of six months from today in a partnership deal that potentially paves way for unemployed youth to access the Shs25b venture capital announced in the 2011/12 Budget.

   


“The fund has been set up with resources contributed by government in partnership with KFW totalling Shs12.5 billion and an additional equal amount which has been mobilised by the participating banks,” Ms Kiwanuka said in a statement. “To ensure that the fund grows and is effectively rolled out to achieve wider coverage we need to prudently manage it and allow our partners to remain accountable to their shareholders.”
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The fund will focus on improving competitiveness of the business environment to enable the private sector play a dominant role for employment generation, which will be enforced by vocational training, Ms Kiwanuha said.

“It will be used to support viable and sustainable SMSEs across the country because they comprise over 90 per cent of the private sector; they contribute to employment creation, provision of basic goods and services and the generation of tax revenues,” said Ms Kiwanuka.

Mr Kisaame added: “Dedicated desks and personnel will be set up within our banking halls and we are planning on availing information flyers to make the process easy.

 
Empowering Youths to Create Jobs
 
Enterprise Uganda with support from the government of Uganda launched an initiative in 2007 to provide entrepreneurship and business skills to the youth to enable them start their own businesses as an alternative to chasing few jobs. The overall objective of the BEST programme is to build the capacity of young people to participate in employment creation to reduce unemployment rates.

Unemployment particularly among the youth is a major concern to Government. The common impediments include lack of entrepreneurship and business acumen and limited access to affordable finance.

In Uganda, for every one job in the formal sector, there are over 50 people struggling for it. Thousands of new graduates compete with those who completed earlier for the few jobs made available each year. This means the majority of new entrants in the labour market every year hardly find gainful work.

 In reaction to 2010/11 Bugdet Speech presented by the Finance Minister, Hon. Syda Bbumba, Herbert Kabafunzaki, Director Khan & B Consultancy wrote "Ugandans need training that can change their attitude from employment bias to self-employmment and other forms of business enterprises."

   

The 5-day BEST training equips the youth with the confidence and practical skills to start and run successful enterprises. It identifies and confronts negative attitudes, beliefs which act as obstacles to creating jobs by young people and re-orientates mindsets suited for a globalized business village. It also builds their skills to tap natural creativity and innovation in identifying business opportunities; offers practical literacy in financial discipline; explores the various sources and management of capital; and offers advice on the choice of business partners.

BEST does not necessarily promise the youth a smooth sailing after the training. NO! The reality is that business success is never easy. But the training is able to point to the participants the typical pitfalls that, if not averted, could make the entrepreneurship choice more agonizing.

Bakeinyaga Jonus started her drug shop in Rutooma, Mbarara District
 
Since the program kicked off, 7431 youths have been trained in 13 workshops – 6 in Kampala and 7 upcountry in Nebbi, Mbarara, Bushenyi, Kamuli, Buyende and Rukungiri Districts. With just one week’s practical training and a few post-training follow ups, our educated youths have regained control of their destinies through private enterprise and have created jobs for themselves and other youth and in some cases their parents.
     
 
Kampala Youths in a workshop in Nakawa, August 2009  
Bushenyi Youths participate in the training in September 2009
     
To sign up for the programme contact Enterprise Uganda on Plot 38 Lumumba Avenues, P.O. Box 24581 Kampala, Tel: +2563123841000 -e-mail: admin.sec@enterprise.co.ug; info@enterprise.co.ug
 
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