Village Capital

Uganda Ecosystem Builders 2020

Program Partner

Argidius Foundation

About The Program

Village Capital, with support from the Argidius Foundation, launched a program to develop entrepreneurship support organizations (ESOs) in Uganda.

We did this by using an intermediaries diagnostic, bootcamps, and 1:1: business advisory support. The project aimed to improve the quality of intermediaries and thus the quality of support that SMEs and startups receive. 

COHORT

PROBLEM STATEMENT

In recent years, Uganda has oft-been cited as the most entrepreneurial country in the world. While granted some of this entrepreneurship isn’t categorized as tech-enabled or high-growth, there are still countless ventures across the country building scalable solutions in a variety of sectors such as fintech and agriculture. As a result, intermediaries are meeting the challenge of supporting these entrepreneurs. In fact, the number of tech hubs in Uganda has grown by 25% since 2016. 

Intermediaries in Uganda play a critical role in creating an entrepreneurship community, building ecosystem networks, and helping early-stage entrepreneurs through programs, mentoring, and investor connections. That being said, entrepreneurs want to see more sector-specific advice, more support for later-stage entrepreneurs, and more diversity of offerings. On the other hand,   investors want more investable companies, more success stories, more ecosystem integration, and more preparation for scale beyond Kampala and Uganda. 

While there are many intermediaries in Uganda, the good news is that there are plenty of entrepreneurs and budding entrepreneurs to keep them busy. But how can these organizations work together more effectively to support the ecosystem as a whole? How can they best support entrepreneurs while filling their own gaps in financial sustainability and human capital? 

Village Capital, with support from the Argidius Foundation, launched Uganda Ecosystem Builders 2020 to train and support intermediaries in Uganda. The project built organizational capacity through bootcamps and the provision of 1:1 business advisory support. This project improved the quality of intermediaries in Uganda, and thus the quality of support that SMEs and startups receive, through the following: 

• A full business diagnostic specifically designed to assess intermediaries relative to industry standards

• Support developing a performance plan of milestones across critical business areas towards improved strategy, operations, and business sustainability 

• The opportunity to pitch this performance plan for grant funding from both the program and other development partners. At least one of the grants will be peer-selected by the cohort. The total pool of grant funding available for the program is $200K. 

• Best practice sessions within critical business areas: team, problem and vision, value proposition, services and programs, pipeline and selection, ecosystem, operations, financial sustainability, and impact. 

• Advice from experienced mentors

The Advisory Board