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Luwero Youth Business Platform

The Luwero Youth Business Platform initiative is pioneered by Swisscontact U-learn phase 2 towards enabling the young people gain knowledge, share their experiences, opportunities, best practices and benefit from the networking opportunities within. The platform encourages inclusive participation of young people to tap into various opportunities that result into employment or sustainable livelihood opportunity. The platform allows the youth to connect to a broader range of people, stakeholders and networks.

 

Key Objectives of the Business Platform were:

  • Access for youth to relevant knowledge/skills in areas of interest.
  • Access to market opportunities; connection to markets for their products and services.
  • Access to locally available skills and technologies as exhibited in the business platform.
  • Exhibition of relevant local techniques and technologies to promote successful practices
  • Peer to peer connections, experience sharing and learning.
  • Access business advisory: to provide business advisory support to one on one or group of participants depending on area of interest.
  • Access to Youth Support Organizations with relevant services or opportunities relevant to the youth.

The Luwero Youth Business Platform was held on Friday 13th December, 2019 from 9:30am to 4:00pm at Nayiga Hotel, Conference Hall.  The event involved the participation of the various stakeholders both public and private, including the local banks and financial service providers, local youth and various local business community players.

EVENT OUTPUTS:

The platform event was attended by 319 young people in attendance

1)Access to relevant knowledge/skills through training                                                                                            Two(2) business training sessions were conducted. These included:

  1. Business Management & Entrepreneur Mindset by Turyaluhuka Unique a local female entrepreneur and mentor who provides business training and support to Small and Medium Sized organizations
  2. Financial Management – Best practices by Nyapendi Dorothy who is a financial expert professional who works and supports SACCOs in developing Accounting systems.
  3. The virtual platform was also presented by Bwire Humphrey the Imuka Access community engagement officer.

The trainings were localized and participatory to ensure that all the youth benefitted from the sessions.

2)Access to Business Training, Coaching and Advisory Support

  • Business Advisory:The 2 key speakers were available after their sessions to provide one-on one advisory support although 3 youths followed up for further support.
  • Access to Farm Inputs and farming Technical Advise;  The platform was attended by agronomists to provide one on one agricultural advisory support from Cubits Investment Ltd., Osho chemicals.
    • Salongo Zizinga Agro Enterprises team, provided advice on farming and distributed farming books for those interested in especially Seedlings, Agro Chemicals and Agricultural Consultation.
  • Bulamu Construction Company interacted with youth interested in construction opportunities.

3)Access to Market Opportunities

   The platform event was attended by various offtakers including:

  • Hakim of Tropical Dynasty who provided various market opportunities for chilli and hotpepper
  • Representative from KK foods was also present to share various market opportunities for local farm produce.
  • Delta Bees represented by Abanyu Simon was also present to offer training and market opportunities for bee products.

3)Exhibition of local technologies and products

There was a variety of exhibitors from different sectors mainly in Agribusiness including agro-processing. These included:

  1. Mr Abanyu Simon of Delta Bees Uganda producing honey.
  2. Osho Chemical Industries availing seedlings to the farmers.
  3. Salongo Zizinga Agro Enterprises provides Agro Chemicals to the farmers.
  4. Nakibuuka Rovisa Neo life they are farmers.
  5. Mr Mpaata George of Bukalasa Agricultural College, they deal in indigenous microorganisms.
  6.  Access to Financial services through the presence of local financial service providers the  banks:
    1. Centenary Bank represented by Kato Stephen were available to share financial services opportunities and to open bank accounts for interested participants.
    1.  DFCU Bank represented by Mr Batambuze Jonathan were available to share financial services opportunities and to open bank accounts for interested participants.

The exhibitors of the platform were also able to make sales of their products/services during the platform as per below:

  • Serwata & Soul  made 47,000/= from sales of cassava and cassava stems
  • Bukalasa Agricultural college sold 5,000/= from indigenous micro organs.
  • Delta Bees Uganda made sales from Honey 50,000/=.
  • Osho Chemical Industries sold 200,000/= during the Luwero platform.
  • Neo life made sales of 70,000/=
  • Centenary bank made sales of 130,000/=: were able to 13 bank accounts during the platform event.
  • DFCU Bank made sales of 30000/=: Were able to open 3 bank accounts during the platform event.

Qualitative Feedback:

These are the areas of attention that the Youths identified in the feedback form:-

  • Need to have trainings on savings to help better their saving culture.
  • Need for trainers in the different sectors to share the experience, skills and motivate them to venture in other sectors too.
  • Organize value addition trainings.
  • Need for ready market for their produce.
  • Need to provide lunch next time such an event is held.
  • Gratitude to Swisscontact for such an arrangement since they enjoyed and learnt a lot from the Youth Business Platform.

PLATFORM IMPACT

  1. The platform is expected to deliver great impact to businesses. It helps them to reach more clients, gain knowledge, attain business growth and eventually increase profits. Specifically, businesses benefit from the platform by

Getting new contacts and referrals – The platform benefits businesses by enabling them to meet potential clients and/or generate referrals which can then follow up to become customers. The platform networking also helps business owners identify opportunities for partnerships, joint ventures, or new areas of expansion for the business.

Staying current – In an ever-changing business climate it is important to keep up with the target market conditions as well as overall trends in your industry. The platform provides the avenue for a business to stay current.

Problem solving – The platform often provides solutions to business problems due to the opportunity to access advisory support but also meeting more experienced people in areas of practice.

Sharing knowledge and experience – The platform is ideal for expanding business owner’s knowledge by taking advantage of the viewpoints and prior experience of others.

Advice-: the platform provides opportunity for the business owner to meet people who will give advice on various matters that would help in improving the business.

Confidence and morale – Most business people are optimistic and positive. Regularly associating with such people can be a great morale boost, particularly in the difficult early phases of a new business. This allow positive influence.

Opportunities: The platform provides for various opportunities including: information, markets, partnership, client leads among others.

Raising business profile: the platform provides opportunities for the business to get noticed and be visible. This helps build a reputation for the business.

ii. Platform Impact on Inclusion: The platform allows inclusive access to skills, networks and information, especially for the vulnerable youth in rural communities who are largely excluded hence making it easier for them to transform socially and economically to overcome poverty. The platform approach of using both digital and physical models helps reduce “digital divides” between technology-empowered and technology-excluded communities, since they will be able to connect to the various opportunities during the platform meet-ups. The platform strengthens youth’s participation in the economic development and working capacity hence making them a productive members of the community. This helps in reducing unemployment, poverty, people’s lack of prospects and deprivation ensuring social security and basic services.

iii. PPP-Public-Private Partnerships to Promote Community Development Public-private partnerships (PPPs) have become a vehicle to deliver products and services to the community. The physical platform allows the public administration to play a major role in partnerships establishing and operating with different community actors aiming at solving specific community problems. In the process of collaborating with other partners in the social economy, allows access to complementary resources, and increases in the credibility and public image of the partners, as well as the social benefit.

The public’s sector’s contribution of public facilities as venues and their mobilization support allows goodwill of the community in participating on the platform.

CHALLENGES/LIMITATIONS

  • Most Youths are not on social media, neither do they have the Smart phones for WhatsApp. This makes it hard for them to sign-up for the Platform.
  • Difficulty in estimating venue size requirements since most participants seem to attend later than the start time. In the beginning the venue reflects normal until later part of the event when more participants arrive.
  • Limited refreshments for the participants due to under-estimation of attendance.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • There is need to explore all model farmer opportunities as potential exposure visits for experiential learning.
  • The platform should consider setting up a platform tax/margin i.e. for every product sold on the platform a small fee is added as contribution to the platform. Alternatively the exhibitors can pay an acceptable fee to exhibit.
  • The need to support the next steps of the platform in developing on-ground systems and structure to ensure sustainable and convenient access of relevant, information, networks and opportunities.
  • There should a more accurate estimation of the expected target numbers to ensure the targeted venue and space are well selected and adequately prepared for the participants.
  • The speakers need to be prevailed on time keeping to ensure the program is followed.

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