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Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) has Thursday rewarded 10 youths in Northern Uganda with Shs 15 million to boost their startup businesses following their outstanding performance in the UBL ‘Skills for Life’ Program.
UBL, under the ‘Skills for Life’ scheme offered 30 scholarships worth Shs 116 million to young, academically talented but financially challenged students from the farming communities in Northern Uganda in October 2018.
Under the project, UBL provided funds to cover tuition, entrepreneurship training and mentorship that enabled the students to start businesses in their communities.
“At Uganda Breweries, one of our key priority areas is skilling youth in order to secure a sustainable future. Under our Skills for Life Initiative, we continue to offer special opportunities to the nation’s brightest scholars who are less fortunate.
We not only offer them scholarships but also provide career guidance and mentorship on business start-ups and expansion skills which they can later use to increase job opportunities in their communities, improve their incomes and eradicate poverty in the long run,” Charity Ekudu Kiyemba, the Uganda Breweries Legal and Corporate Relations Director said.
“From the total beneficiaries that we sponsored and skilled in 2018, we are happy to share that all have finished school and gone ahead to start businesses of their own. However the 10 youths we are rewarding today, put up exceptional and valuable businesses which we are proud to recognize,” She added.
The scholarship project is managed and run on behalf of UBL by technical experts, Enterprise Uganda, who have vast experience in SME development, training and mentorship in entrepreneurship.
Enterprise Uganda was in charge of skilling, mentoring and training the students as well as selecting the top performing businesses to receive the seed capital.
Explaining the criteria they used to pick the students to receive the reward money, Rosemary Mutyabule from Enterprise Uganda said, “We selected the best young entrepreneurs based on their capacity to execute and implement business projects.
We also assessed the sales that were made since they started the business, the profits made, the number of employment opportunities that have been created by the business and the general contribution of the business to the neighboring community.”
“For example Betty Apoo, 21 years old, from Kitgum technical Institute in December 2018 set up a tailoring business and a Simsim business in Rackoko, Pader district. Her initial capital was shs 98,000 which she borrowed from her aunt.
She made sales of Shs 1,000,000 and a profit of shs 510,000. Apoo is now supporting her family and paying school fees for her two children.”
“Similarly, Auma Sunday Okee , 22 years, set up a maize grain farm in Mucwini, Kitgum district using capital of shs 98,000. She earned sales of shs 1,611,000 and a profit of shs 1,446,000.
Christopher Ojok from St Daniel Comboni started a piggery and brick making business in February 2019 with capital of shs 150,000. He has so far made sales of shs 560,000 and currently employs 6 people in his brick laying business.”
The youth that have received the seed capital are Nelson Mandela, Christopher Ojok, Innocent Wokorach, Geoffrey Opoka, Bongomin Calvin from St Daniel Comboni in Gulu, Auma Sunday Okee, Ocen David, Apoo Betty Canwak, Okema John Kelly and Ayaa Rosemary from Kitgum Technical Institute.
Since inception in 2001, the Uganda Breweries Skills for Life Initiative has awarded over 200 university scholarships to bright and needy students across East Africa, with 40 of them from Uganda.
In 2017, UBL re-focused their scholarships to focus on Technical and vocational courses in response to the cry for more practical entrepreneurial skills for the youth to reduce unemployment levels around the country.
UBL has so far awarded scholarships worth Shs 230m to 70 students in vocational schools in Northern, Western and Central Uganda. Every year, the company will be giving out scholarships to students from the different regions around the country.