What are business incubators?
Business incubators are organisations that help nurture the successful development of start-up and fledgling companies by providing entrepreneurs with necessary resources and services they may have found difficult to obtain otherwise. These resourses improve the chances of the business growing to a level where it can effectively sustain itself and continue to grow.
Resources include (but are not limited to):
- Management and staff training
- Office space
- Internet access
- Funding and/or access to funding
- Linking to partners
- Assisting with business functions such as marketing, finance, operations
- Intellectual property management
Challenges Worldwide have partnered with three incubators within Uganda, and the SMEs the volunteers are working with are all being incubated. The volunteers are effectively a part of the services these incubators provide the SMEs.
Who are the incubators?
Afri Banana Products (ABP) – an incubator for value-chain development in the banana sector. Uganda is the second biggest producer of bananas in the world, and ABP supports SMEs who work at various stages of the banana value chain, encouraging innovation and production for every possible product of the banana plant. In addition to producing the banana fruit for eating, the banana plant is used to generate a variety of products including:
- Matooke (a dish cooked from plantains)
- Banana drinks, e.g. juice, wine
- Cooking briquettes
- Banana paper
- Dried banana and banana chips
- Animal feeds
The SMEs the volunteers have been working with are FLONA Commodities, Winkal Group and Lanic Enterprises
Enterprise Uganda provides an integrated and comprehensive range of business development services such as entrepreneurship training, business advice and counselling, business planning, marketing, technology, business linkages and other services to assist both start-ups and existing businesses to resolve their problems and prepare plans for growth using a hands-on approach.
Emphasis is given to existing companies with growth potential. Further, since women form a significant part of the workforce in Uganda, special attention is given to female entrepreneurs, who are expected to constitute at least 40% of direct beneficiaries of Enterprise Uganda’s services.
The SMEs the volunteers have been working with are De Waste, Waste Masters, YESE, Ka Tutandike, Mpwabe Investments and Seven Seasons
CURAD (The Consortium for enhancing University Responsiveness to Agribusiness Development Limited) is a public-private partnership initiative, supported by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa. It aims to produce innovative young entrepreneurs and agribusiness leaders to champion productivity and profitability of the agricultural enterprises that will then spinoff new enterprises. Long term, this will create jobs, boosting incomes within the agricultural sector in Uganda and the economy as a whole. For the first four years it is piloting with the coffee value chain.
Two of the businesses on our Challenges Worldwide programme are under CURAD; Coffee Quality Assurance and Volcano Coffee.