Growing over 200 Youth Agripreneurs in Uganda

by Agripreneurship Alliance
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Growing over 200 Youth Agripreneurs in Uganda
Growing over 200 Youth Agripreneurs in Uganda
Growing over 200 Youth Agripreneurs in Uganda
Growing over 200 Youth Agripreneurs in Uganda
Growing over 200 Youth Agripreneurs in Uganda
Growing over 200 Youth Agripreneurs in Uganda
Growing over 200 Youth Agripreneurs in Uganda
Growing over 200 Youth Agripreneurs in Uganda
Growing over 200 Youth Agripreneurs in Uganda
Growing over 200 Youth Agripreneurs in Uganda
Growing over 200 Youth Agripreneurs in Uganda
Growing over 200 Youth Agripreneurs in Uganda
Growing over 200 Youth Agripreneurs in Uganda

We are in the final stages of planning the 2021 Agcelerate workshop with the theme Rethinking Agribusiness in a Digitalised Economy which will be held on November 4 & 5 as a virtual Event.  After a keynote overview presentation there will be a video and a  live interview from a progressive farm in Uganda that has implemented many digital innovations in the farm operations.  There will be presentations and panel discussions on the themes of Digital Agriculture, on Bridging the gap between farmers and the new mobile economy, E-commerce, and On-line marketing.  Young agripreneurs who have participated in Agcelerate in previous years will share their experiences in adapting their businesses during the COVID pandemic and describe the digital solutions that they have implemented.

We are expecting about 200 participants comprised of students, young agripreneurs, University staff, NGOs, and private sector companies.

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Ambrose speaking at AGcelerate
Ambrose speaking at AGcelerate

The COVID-19 pandemic has limited the activities of AGcelerate. Cases are increasing in Uganda and circulation of people is limited.  In spite of the difficulties, many of the "AGcelerators" are making great progress.  A couple of examples:

Ambrose who has been actively involved in AGcelerate since the beginning as an undergraduate at Makerere University in Uganda is now in the USA. Ambrose was awarded a scholarship to pursue a Master’s degree at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. The degree, which is in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Innovation Entrepreneurship, will increase his technical and business skills and build further his international experience.

Catherine and Jackson, who are part of the core team of AGcelerate, have launched a new business in Uganda called Kagulu Foods Ltd., initially focused on coffee and intending to expand into other food products to grow the business further.

Many other businesses have seized the new opportunities that COVID-19 has brought and adapted their business models accordingly.

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Bandera Farmers Network Expo (Uganda)
Bandera Farmers Network Expo (Uganda)

Despite these challenging times many of the young agripreneurs who have participated in Agcelerate are expanding their businesses, seizing opportunities for personal development, sharing their knowledge and training others less fortunate. A few examples are described below:

On January 9th, Denis (Bandera Farmers Network) organised an expo under the theme "Enhancing Value Addition for Sustainable and Innovative Agriculture - Transforming Youth Livelihoods in the Busoga Region".  He trained 30 young people that day in basic agri-processing skills and is mentoring 56 young girls.

Ambrose has been awarded a scholarship to undertake a Master’s Degree in the United States at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. The degree is in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Innovation Entrepreneurship.

On January 27th Francisca gave a presentation in the SIANI (Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative) Annual Meeting on "Being a young agripreneur and the consequences of COVID-19".  Francisca is founder and co-owner of Hallmark Bio Enterprises which is a mushroom business.  Francisca also is involved in training refugees in the Refugee Camps in the North of Uganda.

The Agcelerate Organising Committee has been working on the Agcelerate Operational Framework and the medium- and long-term strategy to ensure the future development and sustainability of this multi-stakeholder partnership.

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Steven Balyejjusa - Mercy Farms, Mityana, Uganda
Steven Balyejjusa - Mercy Farms, Mityana, Uganda

The Agcelerate 2020 workshop went ahead as planned on August 13 & 14 with a total of 250 participants mainly students, recent graduates and young agripreneurs. 170 participants logged-on individually via Zoom and a further 90 were present physically in 4 Hub locations in Uganda at the Marula Creative Consultancy and Makerere University Business School in Kampala, Gulu University and Bishop’s Stuart University in Mbarara.  Thus the target to help grow over 200 current and aspiring agripreneurs was reached.

The theme was Agribusiness in a Changing Climate– Day 1 focused on the Changing Business Climate especially related to the COVID-19 pandemic and Day 2 related to Adaptation to Climate Change in Agriculture. There were some extremely inspiring speakers such as Edgar Kasenene the COO of Idex Africa who challenged the participants to “reskill and create new value in the new operating environment”. There was also a panel discussion with leading Ugandan personalities including Professor Maggie Kigozi, Emmanuel Okalany of RUFORUM and Nicholas Ssebalamu of Field of Hope. We also heard from several young agripreneurs (who have participated in previous Agcelerate LABs) on their progress and how they have adapted to COVID-19. See for example Steven Balyejjusa of Mercy Farms, Mityana in the photo above who, in addition to his wine business, now has a flourishing mushroom farm.  Hillary Nahurira  (Active Living, Mbarara) who had a growing business producing lemon after-shave was faced with a difficult situation when barbers shops were closed due to the pandemic.  He rapidly adapted to the situation and started producing hand sanitisers and disinfectants and his business has grown very significantly.

On Day 2 there was a very inspiring call to action by Vanessa Nakete, a global climate change activist who studied at MUBS, as well as practical information on various means to adapt to climate change. The entire 2-day event was highly interactive through live Q&A, the Zoom chat function and group work discussions that were held in the Hubs and virtually on the Zoom platform.

A survey has been conducted to determine the subjects of most interest to organise further on-line practical sessions. Top subjects were poultry farming, food safety and organic fertilisers and pesticides. These sessions will be organised in the coming months.

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Hillary  with his Active Living after-shave
Hillary with his Active Living after-shave

Obviously the COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on our activities.  The AGCELERATE LAB planned for the week of August 10, 2020 cannot be organised as face to face Events.  So we have decided to plan a virtual workshop on August 13 and 14.  The 2020 theme "Agribusiness in a Changing Climate" still fits perfactly with the current situation.  Day 1 will be focused on the changing business climate - light of COVID-19 and Day 2 on the changing climate with respect to weather patterms.  We are building a very exciting and dynamic programme comprising of  keynote speakers, panel discussions and testimonies from young agriprenurs as well as practical sessions on adapting agricultural systems to climate change.  As far as possible, we will gather the young people in smaller groups in various locations in Uganda to ensure they have the connectivity they need to follow the Event, and also to permit as much networking and sharing as possible.  If the situation permits, we will organise one, or several, Boot Camps at demonstration farms  later in the year.

Simon's beans ready to harvest result of AGC 2019
Simon's beans ready to harvest result of AGC 2019
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Organization Information

Agripreneurship Alliance

Location: Montreux - Switzerland
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Agripreneurship Alliance @the_agripreneur
Project Leader:
Ludivine Berouard
Kampala, Uganda
$563 raised of $5,000 goal
 
9 donations
$4,437 to go
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