dfcu Bank flagged off the top 10 winners from the 5th Season of the Rising Woman Initiative to Nairobi, Kenya, for an all-expenses-paid study trip. The cross-border trip doubles as an educational and mentorship exercise and will allow the entrepreneurs to meet and learn from other successful businesswomen outside Uganda.
This will be the third cohort of women entrepreneurs benefiting from the grand prize of an all-expenses paid study trip to Nairobi, making a total of 30 women since the initiative was first launched in 2018. The flag-off ceremony was held Tuesday at the Bank’s Head Offices in Nakasero, Kampala, presided over by the Bank’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, William Sekabembe.
Also present was Robert Wanok, dfcu’s Head of Personal and Business Banking; and Ruth Asasira, Manager of Women in Business & Special Programs at dfcu. In her remarks, Asasira stated that the study trip was the culmination of a long process that started early last year.
“We spent the better part of last year traveling across the country to identify female entrepreneurs and encouraging them to be part of this life-transforming Rising Woman Initiative. In addition to the knowledge acquired during the various stages of the 2022 Rising Woman Initiative, the top 10 winners will now get to see what enterprises outside of Uganda are doing to build their businesses.”
“This trip will also provide valuable benchmarking opportunities which are indispensable as the world becomes an even smaller global village. We believe that this experience will cement dfcu Bank’s commitment to the economic empowerment of women.”
Wanok noted that the Bank is “…committed to our brand promise of ‘Making More Possible’ for women entrepreneurs. They make a significant contribution to the socioeconomic development of our communities and country. Empowering women economically creates a ripple effect of positive transformation for all of us.”
“As a Ugandan financial institution, we are dedicated to seeing more women involved in the business space, which is why we have initiatives such as the dfcu Women in Business Program (WIB) set up to uplift women-owned Small and Medium Enterprises.”
Addressing the entrepreneurs and representatives from the Bank, Sekabembe encouraged them to treat the study tour as a learning opportunity, drawing inspiration from fellow entrepreneurs in Nairobi. “It is commonplace to talk about the challenges that both new and long-term entrepreneurs face, especially when they are women. Today, however, is a day of celebration of the hard work from last year. As you embark on this trip, I encourage you to look for inspiration and allow your minds to be stretched by the possibilities that exist for your individual businesses and female business owners, as a collective.”
“Use the success stories in Nairobi as a yardstick of what is possible for you if you remain resolute in your business pursuits. The places where you identify room for improvement should drive you to be more creative, make the most of your network and forge more partnerships with institutions such as dfcu Bank, because successful entrepreneurship cannot be accomplished singularly.”
“On behalf of dfcu Bank, I wish you a safe trip and an unforgettable learning experience," Sekabembe concluded. The Rising Woman Initiative falls under dfcu Bank’s Women in Business Program (WiB) which is dedicated to providing financial and business solutions to women entrepreneurs.
During season five, the Initiative directly interfaced with and trained over 5,000 women across the country. Last year, over 180 women entrepreneurs from across Uganda participated in the competitive proposal writing competition where 23 made it to the defense stage. Of the 23, 10 contestants across 3 categories made it to the final list of winners.
The categories included; Agribusiness Value Addition; Manufacturing & Consumer Services; and Digital Innovation & E-commerce. The overall winners in each category also received Shs10 million each as funding for their businesses. Rising Woman aims to recognize, celebrate, and promote a culture of mentorship among women in the business space in Uganda. It is implemented by dfcu Bank in partnership with Monitor Publications and Uganda Investment Authority. Last year, the campaign was held under the theme ‘Taking Your Business Ahead’, with the aim of providing female entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to improve their business operations, enabling them to create profitable enterprises.
The winning women-owned businesses are APA Original Kisubi Tea LTD, Prio Medical LTD - My Musawo APP, HEB’s Organic LTD, Raining Vegetables Elgon LTD, Kuzimba Services, Naroho Co. LTD, East Star Healthy Products, Weye Clean Energy Company LTD, Mt Elgon Women Specialty Coffee LTD and Nature’s Essence LTD- Mushroom for Health.