Makerere University’s Innovation Hub has initiated a campaign to support youth entrepreneurs with disabilities, aiming to enhance their self-sufficiency. The project, developed by the hub and funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering from the UK, initially targeted 50 youths but focused on 15 engaged in crafts tailoring, liquid soap production, bakery, and shoe making.
Cathy Akiror Mbidde, the acting manager of Makerere University Innovation Hub, explained that the project’s primary goal is to provide a platform for young persons with disabilities in business to share their experiences and views. The project connects them with stakeholders who can offer support, fostering an environment for business growth.
Several stakeholders, including the TUNAWEZA Foundation, NUDIPU, the gender ministry, UNDP, and Young African Works, have collaborated to support the campaign. Mbidde emphasized the challenges faced by youth with disabilities in securing employment due to discrimination and expressed the hub’s commitment to support those who have initiated businesses.
Hajara Nabukalu, a disabled widow and mother of three, shared her journey and the impact of the Makerere University project on her small business. She highlighted the support received, including a wheelchair and a cash prize to boost her business, expressing gratitude for the positive direction the initiative has provided.
Prof. Peter Turyakira, the Head of the Department of Marketing and Management, emphasized the importance of corporate social responsibility and the exploitation of talents within the disabled community. Prof. Godfrey Akileng, the Dean of the School of Business, underscored the university’s commitment to celebrate and support innovative initiatives by disabled individuals, highlighting the significance of engagement in entrepreneurship to generate income and foster self-sufficiency.