The Youth4Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship Facility
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Uganda in collaboration with Stanbic Bank Uganda recently launched the Youth4Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship Facility, to tackle youth unemployment through impact driven innovation and entrepreneurship in sectors with a high multiplier effect on creation of jobs and livelihood opportunities. The main objectives of this facility are to;-
- Support youth and enterprises to pilot innovative ideas (solutions, technologies, business models), or new ways and markets of delivering products and services with a commercial imperative;
- Enable enterprises to transform successful innovative pilots with commercial viability into impact at scale;
- Stimulate faster recovery of SMEs from the impacts of COVID-19 and enable them build sustainable enterprises that are resilient to similar disruption; and
- Establish a functional ecosystem platform to connect young entrepreneurs,
MSMEs, Government, Development Partners, financial institutions and all other
About the Facility
The Youth4Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship Facility consists of three separate, but interlinked windows designed to boost the economic empowerment of youth. They include:
- Innovation Challenge Fund and Growth Accelerator that provides competitive matching grant awards necessary to spur impact-driven innovation by the youth and MSMEs in sectors where growth leads to jobs. The winners will each receive up to $40,000 in grant resources.
- Enterprise Challenge Fund which provides competitive blended finance (grant awards and concessional debt finance from partner financial institutions) to MSMEs with commercially viable businesses that address a defined key development challenge.
- Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Ecosystem platform which will revitalize youth networks including the YouthConnekt Uganda, to collectively
identify and tackle systemic issues impeding the social economic empowerment of young people.
Benefits of the Program
The winners from the above initiatives will be complemented with technical assistance for two years from the Stanbic Business Incubator (in form of an enterprise development and corporate governance training; and business development services support for the youth-owned enterprises focused on coaching and mentorship; networking; access to markets, value addition and value chain integrations) and mentorship from the UNDP Accelerator Lab to foster the nexus between business development services and development solutions.
At the center of this initiative is UNDP’s abilities to innovate, elevate development effectiveness and efficiencies to scale, multiply the impact of results, maintain class-leading transparency and provide effective oversight and accountability.
The Facility is designed to spur impact-driven entrepreneurship and engage enterprises in tackling unemployment amongst youth (defined in this call as all persons aged 18 to 35 years inclusive) resident in Uganda by leveraging innovations in selected economy sectors to create jobs and livelihood opportunities; improve quality of people’s lives and provide access to affordable finance, products and services. The selected economy sectors for this call include:
- Renewable energy
- Urban Development/Smart Cities
- Information Technology (IT); and
- Creative Arts Industry
The Youth Ideathon presents an “entry-level” opportunity that helps to unearth and nurture creative early-stage and start-up ideas that can eventually feed into the Y4BF pipeline and could become the next generation of transformative innovative and inclusive MSMEs.