On 1st December 2023, UGEFA joined Einstein Rising at the Kampala Impact Day. The high-level event, themed “Facilitating Access to Affordable Finance to Scale Green Investments”, brought different stakeholders together –including financiers, Enterprise Support Organisations, government, entrepreneurs and other development partners– to discuss how access to finance is fundamental in scaling green and sustainable business models.
The event kicked off with an opening speech from Brian Mangeni, CEO of Einstein Rising, who emphasised their commitment to support green business to scale their initiatives. Sanne Williens, Head of the Green Transition at the European Union (EU) Delegation to Uganda, highlighted the EU’s commitment to support Uganda’s transition to a green economy.
UGEFA’s Fred Opio presented the practical approaches to scale climate action through impact investing and blended finance from the enterprise support organisation’s perspective by sharing insights from UGEFA’s work supporting green enterprises. In his presentation, he pointed out the key role played by the SMEs in accelerating climate action as innovators, customers and advocators and role models. He added on the challenges limiting access to affordable finance including lack of collateral, perceived risks associated with green business models, the complexity of green businesses models, and the lack of financial and business documentation in green enterprises. Fred Opio summarised ideas to reduce the risk of lending to green SMEs in three main areas: financial instruments design, capacity building for SMEs and financial actors and ecosystem development, largely sharing key insights from UGEFA. The ideas to scale climate action were detailed through three key questions: Financing who? Financing what? And, financing how?
During the event, entrepreneurs also had the opportunity to pitch and showcase their innovative business models. The UGEFA-supported enterprise Rada Shoes won the pitching competition.
The European Union hosted a side event moderated by Cristina Banuta, Manager Access to Land, Agribusiness. To demonstrate the comprehensive suite of support offered by the European Union from start-up all the way to scale in the climate finance space, the event heard representatives from United Nations Capital Development Fund, Pearl Capital Partners, Financial Sector Deepening Uganda’s Deal Flow Facility, aBi Trust, and Food and Agricultural Organisation.
UGEFA’s George Bryson had the opportunity to present alongside these members to highlight some of the key successes of UGEFA’s intervention. UGEFA is already halfway to its target of deploying 6 Million USD of concessional debt financing to green enterprises, having already disbursed to 44 participating enterprises with a further 90 in the matchmaking process. The key takeaway was that a significant number of enterprises which require a “missing middle” level of financial support, and strengthening the local commercial lending ecosystem to facilitate that capital is a highly scalable way of doing so.
The event was organised by Einstein Rising in partnership with Sustainable Business for Uganda SB4U and Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs (OVO) with the support of the European Union.