UGEFA showcased its successful blended finance model during the Erovo Impact Investment Workshop at Onomo Hotel in Kampala on 27 April 2023. Over 100 impact investors, financiers, entrepreneurs, enterprise support organisations, business consultants and other development partners were present at the event all united in their goal to drive impactful investments and enhance readiness for innovative solutions.
The event kicked-off with three opening speeches. Mr. Brian Mangeni, CEO of Einstein Rising, highlighted the challenges that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face in accessing finance to scale up and emphasising the urgent need for solutions. Ms. Sarah Kitakule, CEO of SB4U, emphasised a crucial mindset shift amongst entrepreneurs when it comes to accessing finance, stressing the importance of preparedness and organisation to attract external financing for scale up. Mr. Nicolas Renard, the representative from the European Union (EU) in Uganda, reiterated the EU’s unwavering commitment to supporting Uganda’s entrepreneurship ecosystem by facilitating access to finance.
Notable entrepreneurs from Zetu Africa, Innovex, and Rocket Health shared their experiences on in securing external finance to scale their businesses. Additionally, several SMEs had the opportunity to pitch their unique business models to financiers and other stakeholders to raise financing and establish potential partnerships.
The discussion panel comprised esteemed experts, including Mr. Fred Opio, UGEFA Catalyser Coordinator, Ms. Cathy Adengo, Head of Sustainability at Stanbic Bank, Mr. Noah Owomugisha, Head of Green growth and Business Development Services at aBi Finance, and Mr. Nelson Mugisha, Chief Operations Officer at Equity Bank, discussed how blended finance models can be used to unlock private sector finance to scale social impact investment in Uganda.
"UGEFA’s partial loan repayment scheme model has been able to unlock over 4,000 Million UGX in debt finance"
UGEFA’s Fred Opio presented the UGEFA successful blended finance model, which has been instrumental in helping green SMEs in Uganda to scale their social, environmental and economic impacts. UGEFA’s partial loan repayment scheme model has been able to unlock over 4,000 Million UGX in debt finance effectively leveraging 2 USD of private sector finance for every 1 USD invested in a green business. In addition, UGEFA provides these SMEs with business advisory services from experienced business development support experts.
Mr. Nelson Mugisha underscored the importance of robust documentation, such as comprehensive business and growth plans, as well as financial documentation for SMEs to access financing. Mr. Noah Owomugisha further emphasised the need for businesses to be organised and innovative to attract financing for business expansion. Thus, supporting enterprises to sharpen their documents and effectively managing potential financing raised is essential, a role expertly fulfilled by the UGEFA Programme for green SMEs. In the same session, Ms. Cathy Adengo highlighted the need for partnerships and collaborations between different actors to amplify social impact investments.
The event was organised by Einstein Rising in partnership with Sustainable Business for Uganda (SB4U) and with the support of the European Union Delegation to Uganda. It served as a crucial platform for networking, knowledge sharing, and exploring innovative avenues for financing, ultimately driving positive change in Uganda's entrepreneurial landscape.
By presenting its successful blended finance model, UGEFA has illuminated the path forward for green SMEs in Uganda, empowering them to make lasting social, environmental, and economic contributions. With their commitment to unlocking funding opportunities and providing invaluable support, UGEFA stands at the forefront of revolutionizing the financing landscape for sustainable business growth.