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April 2015

Yunus Social Business (YSB) Launches First Social Business Accelerator Program in Uganda

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April 1st, 2015 — Yunus Social Business Foundation Uganda Ltd (YSB Uganda) is an organization established purposely to address pressing social and environmental problems in Uganda in a financially sustainable manner. It promotes and empowers social businesses through provision of business development services, financing and related technical support. YSB Uganda is part of a network of YSB initiatives in 7 other countries and whose headquarters are in Germany and which was co-founded by the Nobel laureate, Professor Muhammad Yunus. YSB is taking lead in creating and replicating game-changing social businesses around the world. Since 2011, this global initiative has supported over 400 entrepreneurs, and deployed over USD 7 million to social businesses.

A social business is a formal entity created with the sole purpose of solving a social problem in a financially self-sustainable way. Social business combines an unwavering focus on solving a social problem with entrepreneurial energy, market discipline, and great potential for replicating and scaling successful enterprises. By taking social and environmental issues as their starting point, rather than narrow profit-maximization, and looking for creative solutions to these problems, Social Businesses can address market failures by reaching customers whose needs are not currently addressed, or create markets where none had existed before. Social Businesses can help create social impact in various ways:

  • Deliver needed products and services to poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged beneficiaries
  • Provide meaningful employment and livelihoods to marginalized groups and individuals
  • Reduce gender inequality and inequity

In Uganda:

  • More than 100 social entrepreneurs have been supported to better understand how to address social problems in their communities using business solutions
  • 18 social businesses have been coached to develop viable business plans. Some of some businesses have become ready to access financing from YSB.
  • Partnerships have also been established with a range of organizations for sourcing social entrepremneurs, creating synergies in incubation and financing of social businesses, and generally creating awareness about social business as an effective toool for promoting sustainable and inclusive development.

THE SOCIAL BUSINESS ACCELERATOR

The social business accelerator being launched by Yunus Social Business Foundation Uganda Ltd (YSB Uganda) is a tailored program designed for exceptional social entrepreneurs in the early or growing stages of their businesses who are eagerly searching for financially viable ways of producing and delivering products and services that bring social change and demonstrate models for scaling within their communities or replication elsewhere.

This launch follows a successful pilot phase lasting nearly two years, which has been implemented with the African Development Bank (AfDB). The launch also builds on Yunus Social Business’s global experience in other countries, including Albania, Bangladesh, Brazil, Columbia, Haiti, India and Tunisia. Accelerator in Uganda will enable entrepreneurs to develop business and personal skills, build networks and create innovative business solutions to solve social challenges. Our teams will help them to fast-track their ideas to the next level through coaching, access to experts and mentors, piloting support and trainings on key business skills. Specifically, the Accelerator will offer:

  • Through a 3-month program, you will attend workshops tailored to your business’ needs, such as developing your sales pitch or enhancing your leadership skills. You will have sessions with inspiring entrepreneurs as well as experts in leadership and business acumen
  • You will be matched to mentors and experts, who will help you grow your social business. YSB Staff will support you on the key topics you agree on and connect you to the resources you need to develop your social business
  • We will help you develop your value proposition to customers and will help you connect to clients and markets. We will provide you with reliable service providers to support you on legal/accounting or branding of your company
  • Getting ready for funding – the most promising social businesses will get the opportunity to pitch to our Investment Committee, and potentially receive funding ranging from USD 50,000-350,000. They will be able to pitch to other potential funders during demo day.
  • Joining the Yunus/Grameen community – connecting social entrepreneurs with a community of over 400 Social Businesses in the Yunus/ Grameen network around the world

YSB Uganda will accecpt applications from any sector if they can demonstrate a strong social impact and financial self sustainability, and will focus in particular on supporting social entrepreneurs actively engaged in the following sectors considered to have high potential for generating impact:

  1. Agribusiness: Commercialization of agricultural products and promotion of value addition to agricultural products.
  2. Renewable energy and clean environment: Mini power generation plants, biogas, biomass, energy-saving devices for lighting, cooking or preservation, waste recycling, tertiary businesses associated with gas oil and gas.
  3. Education, human resource development and community libraries: Skills development and technology transfer institutes targeting the youth and other marginalized groups.
  4. Health and nutrition: Health, water, food and sanitation businesses.

ACCELERATOR TIMELINES

  • Opening of online applications: 1st April 2015
  • Closing of applications: 15th May 2015
  • Announcement of admitted candidates: 25th May 2015
  • Start of Accelerator: 08th June 2015
  • Testing phase: July-Mid August 2015
  • Demo Day: 14st August 2015

HOW TO APPLY

The applications portal will be open from 1st of April 2015 to 15th of May 2015. All intending applicants are requested to log on to www.yunussb.co.ug to access the online application platform and follow the prompts.