Over 100 young women showcased their small businesses at a special women’s business market exhibition aimed at empowering them.
The exhibition, dubbed “Women’s Day Katale”, was hosted by the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), Uganda’s apex body for the private sector, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works initiative in Uganda in celebration of International Women’s Day 2022 themed, “INVESTING IN YOUNG WOMEN FOR A SUSTAINABLE TOMORROW.”
Speaking at the event hosted at Kasana Sports Grounds in Luwero, Hon. Victoria Sekitoleko- the Vice Chairperson of the PSFU Board said,
“Through this initiative, we are re-echoing our recognition of the contributions, resilience, and potential of young women in Uganda. This Women’s Day Katale provides an opportunity for young women in Luweero to gain linkages for their goods, products, and services to the available market.”
The exhibitors received business development support through free financial literacy, brand image consultancies, and guidance on embracing technology to support their long-term business objectives while ensuring sustainability and excellence.
In his address, Adrian Bukenya, Uganda Country Head at the Mastercard Foundation, highlighted the fact that Uganda, has one of the highest proportions of women-owned businesses anywhere in the world.
“It is up to all of us to ensure young women and men have the support they need to drive change in their communities, and contribute to our economy as equals. We need to work with intentionality, urgency, and at scale to enable systems-level changes that will catalyze opportunities for young women in Uganda and in fact the continent.”
Bukenya commended the exhibitors for their skills, creativity, and value and highlighted two young women who participated in the exhibition. Nineteen-year old Namato Shamira, who recently enrolled in the URDT (Uganda Rural Development Training Institute), expanding her tailoring skills and learning to make shoes and bags. She started her own business, tripled her income, and plans to pay forward her experience to 30 other young women.
Thirty-year old Bernadette Ojao’s struggle started after dropping out of high school and she spent almost three years searching for a job to earn a living and look after her family. Her luck changed when a friend gave her a sewing machine. She, however, did not have skills or knowledge of the fashion and design industry to put the gift to good use. When The Innovation Village, a Mastercard Foundation Young Africa Works partner, put out a call to entrepreneurs, she leapt at the chance to join the creative industry. Through upskilling and business support, she learned how to make reusable sanitary pads and reusable masks. Her first sale was 1,500 face masks to Tugende, a Bodaboda company that supplied the masks to their motorcycle riders in Kampala. Bernadette currently employs six fellow women from local communities and the slums of Kamwokya.
The exhibition, held at the Luwero Kasana Sports Grounds, attracted more than 300 participants from local government, the private sector, and the community.