It is an Apprenticeship and Business Incubation initiative targeting 60 low-income single mother entrepreneurs aged 25-40 years in Kampala, Mukono, Jinja and Nakaseke. The project’s goal is to stimulate small business growth by providing women entrepreneurs with an integrated program of practical business and leadership training, access to capital and business support services to address barriers to growth. Women with businesses like tailoring, trading, cooking and baking, art and crafts, hair dressing and beauty that have potential growth and sustainability in the communities are identified to go through accelerator training and mentorships that includes sessions in business management education, business support services, financial literacy and financial advisory services. The growth-oriented, practical, peer-to-peer driven classroom experience, linked with skilled-based apprenticeship and business support services unlocks job-creation potential and growth of the participants’ small businesses.
The experience drives participants to change their attitudes and business practices, resulting in increased revenues and creation of new jobs in the communities they live in. The project benefits include practical business plans, increased understanding of, and ability to use various financial statements to make operational and strategic business decisions and an increased use of formal growth plans. The intervention enables participants to improve or launch new products or services, expand into new markets, attract, manage and retain employees and streamline their management and governance systems.
Theory of change:
“As a movement of inspired, active, skilled and engaged women entrepreneurs is built, their thinking will be re-framed to confidently take charge of their lives, build strong business partnerships and create collective actions towards community development.”
During the Program, Mentors guide the women through an innovative and experiential curriculum in socio-economic empowerment and transformation. Participants are linked to businesses for Apprenticeship and Skills Link to develop broad range of specific skills and knowledge that can practically be applied in their businesses. Participants are also linked to women mentors for Mentorship, Role Modeling and Job Shadowing to guide them to have planned and rewarding careers, accumulate new skills, get exposure and networking opportunities. Utilizing the CEDA International Incubation Centre, the women get access to information, space and resources to actualize and grow their businesses. By forming Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) participants are able to save and have access to affordable credit.
Through and Business Clusters, participants collectively produce and are linked to markets that sell products like jewelry and agriculture commodities, and have access to value chains for companies like Coca Cola, Procter and Gamble, Unilever, MTN and Mukwano Industries where they get discounted products, access training as sales agents or micro-retailers. Participants form Mentoring Clubs and become peer mentors each required to mentor two other women entrepreneurs in their community.