NSSF and MasterCard Foundation Invest Sh4.8 Billion in Ugandan Startups

NSSF Hi Innovator Program To Seed Fund 64 Additional Businesses
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The Hi-innovator program, a collaboration between the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and the MasterCard Foundation, is set to provide 4.8 billion Ugandan Shillings in seed capital to 64 businesses. These businesses were selected from over 500 candidates who participated in the 2023 cohort.

Outbox, an organization supporting innovation and entrepreneurship, carried out the scrutiny and training of these businesses. This organization has a track record of aiding over 150,000 entrepreneurs.

Alex Rumanyika, Head of Strategy at NSSF, announced the selected businesses and their respective funding amounts. With this round of funding, the Hi-innovator program has now supported a total of 306 businesses, injecting up to 18 billion shillings since its inception in 2021. The program has set a goal to invest in at least 500 enterprises by 2025.

The selected businesses represent various sectors, including agriculture, the digital economy, and light manufacturing. They will undergo due diligence to ensure compliance with program requirements and will receive UGX 75 million in seed funding each. Notable sectors among them include cosmetics, waste management, clothing manufacturing, website and app development, and more.

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The Hi-innovator program, initiated by NSSF, aims to strengthen entrepreneurship in Uganda, leading to job creation and an expansion of the fund’s membership base. The goal is to make this program systemic, readily available, and easily accessible to entrepreneurs across the country.

Richard Zulu, founder of Outbox and the lead implementer of the program, emphasized the priority given to these sectors due to their potential to create job opportunities for youth and women. The Hi-Innovator Program is a collaborative effort between NSSF and the Mastercard Foundation, with Outbox spearheading its implementation and supported by up to fifteen other enterprises and organizations.

The program has created over 111,000 jobs, with a significant portion benefiting youth and women. Furthermore, more than 16,000 entrepreneurs have been trained through the NSSF Hi-Innovator Business Academy, with 47 percent being women and 32 percent youth. This underscores the program’s commitment to empowering individuals and fostering a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Uganda.

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