The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) in partnership with Outbox and Makerere University Business School (MUBS) Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Incubation Center has launched an initiative dubbed “Hi-Innovator”.
Hi-innovator seeks to give visibility to small and growing businesses to help them secure seed funding, receive technical assistance and build partnerships for their growth.
Under the Hi-Innovator initiative, NSSF and its partners will link potentially profitable and sustainable businesses that can drive positive social change and returns to investments with funding of up to Uganda Shillings 74 million (approximately USD 20,000).
Just like any other startup funding initiatives that have come to play like the MTN innovation series. The Hi-Innovator round up convenes potential local and foreign stakeholders in Uganda that can invest in the potential of local entrepreneurs.
Increasingly, businesses seeking to grow are struggling to find the capital and technical assistance required which is financing amounts between Uganda Shillings 74 million and at-least 1 billion.
This is due to the fact that traditional financial vehicles are not willing to bet on them, and providing technical assistance is not profitable; as raised in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Global Report of 2015, and the Uganda Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Report 2018.
Hi-Innovator will support businesses addressing the Sustainable Development Goals, the National Development Plan and NSSF’s Strategic business objectives with focus on education, agriculture, health, energy, tourism, financial services plus the ICT gap.
For entrants, the business must have been in operation for at least two years, registered with the Uganda Registry Services Bureau, have a functional product on the market and must have raised not more than 1 Billion Uganda shillings (approximately USD 300,000) in blended capital i.e. grants, equity financing or venture capital.
NSSF is rolling out the Hi-Innovator in partnership with two start-up advisory partners namely Outbox and MUBS Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Incubation Center. These will lend their expertise in the sourcing of good quality startups while collaborating with other innovation and incubation hubs in the country.
The advisory will also provide technical assistance to the startups in the initiative to enable them to address the gaps they face through capacity and linkages to other partners.
According to the NSSF Managing Director, Richard Byarugaba, the Fund is undertaking this initiative as a joint contribution together with other government institutions towards national development.
“At the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), we believe that poverty alleviation, productive employment, and economic development can be realized in Uganda today if all relevant stakeholders take keen interest in social development. As a Fund that’s in the business of securing the future, we believe Hi-Innovator will go a long way in helping Uganda achieve Vision 2040, a transformed Ugandan society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country within 30 years”.Richard Byarugaba – ED NSSF
The new NSSF Hi-innovator initiative has a total target of up-to 10 businesses in its initial roll-out with a share of USD 20,000 per single local startup chosen for a podium finish.