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World Bank launches $217 Million GROW Project to empower Ugandan Women Entrepreneurs

Women's Tabloid News Desk
Women's Tabloid News Desk

Women in Uganda have a new reason to celebrate as the World Bank has launched the GROW project, a five-year initiative valued at US$217 million (approximately 900 billion Uganda shillings). The project aims to support women in business by providing training, grants, and credit through the Uganda Private Sector Foundation after a thorough screening process.

The Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development (MGLSD) spearheads this initiative, which collaborates with tertiary educational institutions, the Private Sector Foundation – Uganda (PSFU), and local governments. Geoffrey Kayongo, the social development specialist for the GROW project, emphasized that the program is not exclusive to women, highlighting the indirect benefits to men through increased household income and job opportunities.

“Men are one way or another beneficiaries. For example, here we are and I am employed by the project. Another example, if a wife gets a loan and uses this loan to expand her business, that is more income in the home. You can’t say the husband is not benefitting…” Kayongo explained. He also mentioned that subcontracting would involve many institutions where men work as employees, managers, or entrepreneurs.

Joel Acana, a programme officer at MGLSD and a training facilitator, detailed how businesses are categorized based on size: micro-enterprises with up to five employees and capital of up to Shs10 million, small-scale enterprises with Shs11 million to Shs50 million and six to 50 employees, and medium-scale enterprises with capitalization between Shs50 million and Shs100 million.

Those with common businesses but running impressively will be in a position to get loans, while grants will be extended to only those with ‘unique’ enterprises. Amounts up to a maximum of Shs200 million will be extended depending on the category one’s enterprise falls in.”

The GROW project aims to assist 6,000 businesses, establishing four regional skills centers and common user facilities by December 2027. Officials anticipate the creationof a revolving fund for sustainability, ensuring ongoing support for women’s enterprises.

The Ministry is also focused on training labor officers and community development officers to act as focal points at the local levels. Makerere University Business School (MUBS) has been tasked with developing training modules tailored to different categories of women-owned businesses.

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