Women Entrepreneurs Tipped on Alternative Business Financing

Women entrepreneurs in the country have been advised on alternative sources of funds.

During a workshop organized by the Graca Machel Trust Uganda Networks at Hotel Africana on Thursday, women operating different businesses shared the difficulties they encounter to secure credit from financial Institutions such as banks.

Martha Nalubega Wandera, the Executive Director of KIMCO Coffee, a coffee processing company identified high-interest rates for many Small and Medium Scale enterprises owned by women.

Nalubega says that interest rates as high as 10 percent above which several commercial banks offer loans are too high for many women entrepreneurs. She adds that some women lack collateral such as land and building to acquire loans.

Nalubega wants commercial banks to study the needs of women entrepreneurs and design suitable funding models that can grow their businesses.

Teopista Sekitto Ntale, the Country Director of New Faces News Voices and African Ambassador of Global Banking Alliance for Women says that the banks also offer short-term loans some lasting only two years making it difficult for women to effectively utilize them. Ntale says that while women visibly dominate businesses in markets and other SMEs, there is less focus given to their start-up initiatives, something she says banks should look into.

Rashid Musisi Ssemanda, the Manager of Corporate and SMEs at Centenary Bank says that any business owner should only take credit when they must, not start a business from scratch.

He says that the best funding for SMEs is self-funding and reinvestment. According to Ssemanda, women should ensure to minimize expenditure and avoid redundant human resources among other expenditures that could deplete their finances.  

Vanessa Mbaziira, the Senior Investment Associate at Bid Capital Partners says that women should also consider investment financing. Here, they would get individuals or companies to acquire shares in their companies for a specific period. This can be done under what is termed as Angel venture or Capital venture financing where an individual or group of individuals respectively consider funding a project.

The financiers usually guide the company by actively participating in major decision-making and offering strategic direction to the business. But Mbaziira says that this can be done better with the guidance of a transaction advisor to ensure that the deal between the business owner and the investor is favorable. 

Allan Lule, the Head of Operations and Startup Management at Makerere University Innovation and Incubation Center say that women need to take advantage of other funding sources by applying for government and International grants.

Lule says that all women need is to know their businesses, develop their ideas so well, seek the right networks, and pitch ideas to individuals and organizations that could be interested in funding them.  

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