In Uganda, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) constitute about 90% of private sector production and play a crucial role in income generation, especially for the poor. However, lack of finance continues to constrain the growth of MSMEs. Business Advisory Service (BAS) providers work to prepare, link, and support businesses to raise the capital needed for their growth. FtF IAM works with six BAS partners to raise capital for agribusinesses, with more coming on board to expand its work in the resilience zones. The intervention targets to raise over USD 12,860,000 in capital for at least 38 businesses, deliberately focused on building a stronger ecosystem of start-up and early growth SMEs that often fail to get financing due to gaps in capacity, collateral requirements, and the cost of capital. To date, 39% has been achieved, with many firms supported to become investment ready but the deals have not yet closed.
On Thursday, May 18, FtF IAM facilitated a collaborative meeting with the BAS partners in Kampala, to discuss business advisory intervention targets, and achievements and to share best practices on capital raising. Thirty (30) participants including Asigma, Amani Partners, BiD Capital Partners, Finding XY, Open Capital Advisors, Outbox, and USAID representatives attended. During the meeting, FtF IAM presented the implementation progress including targets, achievements, and risk capital disbursement requirements. FtF IAM also briefed the partners about the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) and reporting requirements focusing on the results that the partners contribute to. The partners shared experiences, challenges, and lessons learned during implementation and committed to working together on pipeline recommendations and developing clear guidelines on collaborative capital raising. The partners further appreciated that through FtF IAM Activity they have reached smaller Agri-SMEs by leveraging a combination of USAID risk capital and technical advisory services that build capacity. Ms. Kevin Namulembwa, the FtF IAM Activity Contracting Office Representative (CoR) and Agriculture Team Lead at USAID appreciated the FtF IAM team and partners for organizing the event. She mentioned that the discussions around the investment ecosystem and macroeconomic market conditions are very important and provide a lot of insights that can inform the designing of follow-on Activities that will contribute to the agriculture sector growth.