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Access to capital for women entrepreneurs in Uganda

Uganda’s policy framework for development recognises the economic empowerment of women as a critical priority. Successful women entrepreneurs generate wealth and contribute to the growth of the country. Varied initiatives exist in different ministries to support women entrepreneurs.

The largest programme is the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP) at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.

  1. Participation in generic financing programmes: Women raise capital from relatives or first engage in an activity to raise start-up capital.  Informal savings schemes also exist that provide little capital. Formal instructions are not considered because of the paperwork, requirement of a business account, collateral and other difficult conditions

  2. Financing programmes specifically targeted at women-owned SMEs: these are by financial institutions and have women-friendly approaches, products, and services to encourage women entrepreneurs access bank financing. Women make up ¾ of micro finance users in Uganda 

The 2017 Worldbank Global Findex, points out that for Uganda 50 percent of adult women have accounts - through financial and/or mobile money. There are also more adults with mobile money than financial accounts. 

Telecom companies have since been aggressive in facilitating usage of mobile money accounts. A new SIM card is now sold with mobile money account access. Formal transactions can now be carried out using mobile money accounts though the fees are so time prohibitive.

It is critical for women to be given opportunities of access to finance for them to fully participate in advancing the national economy.

Non-traditional sources of funding for growing your business

  • Uganda Securities Exchange
  • A central place for trading of securities by licensed brokers/dealers. It provides a credible platform for raising of capital; through the issuance of appropriate debt, equity and other instruments to the investing public. In this way, the Exchange provides essential facilities for the private sector and government to raise money for business expansion and enables the public to own shares in companies listed on the Exchange.

  • Warehouse Receipting System

    A system where Commodities can be used as security/collateral for financing (Inventory Credit). The issuer of the Warehouse Receipt will certify the deposit of commodities, hold the commodity in safe custody until the depositor or a new ascertained buyer claims the goods. This is possible where commodities are deposited in regularly inspected, certified, licensed and regulated storage facilities.

  • Uganda Development Corporation (UDC)

    UDC invests in sectors of the economy which at times are not readily attractive to the private sector alone either due to high initial capital requirements, resource constraints or low returns in an immediate future and yet provide a strategic bridge that would foster private sector developments due to minimised risk. In promoting development of a private sector-led economy, UDC seeks to maximize the benefits that ensue from specialised skills in the private sector while providing the critical government partnership required for the mutual benefit of the parties (government and private sector); hence the strategy of Public Private Partnerships.

  • Bank of Uganda Agricultural Credit Facility

    Promoting the commercialization of agriculture through the provision of medium and long term financing of capital investments in agriculture and agro-processing. The ACF enables loans to be extended to farmers and agro-processors on more favourable terms (e.g. lower interest rates) than are available through normal market channels, because the Government subsidises the scheme through the provision of interest free loans to the participating financial institutions and through its bearing of some of the credit risk.

Higher Education Students’ Financing Board (HESFB)

Provides both Loans and Scholarships to Ugandan Students to pursue higher Education in Uganda

Centenary Bank, Uganda

Centenary has a special product known as Centesupa Woman Account to support women who desire to improve their level of income and livelihood

Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP)

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Uganda Financial Institutions pledge to carry 50 Million African Women Speak Project’s agenda to the next level



Uganda Financial Institutions pledge to carry 50 Million African Women Speak Project’s agenda to the next level

Speaking at the meeting, Beatrice Lugalambi, in charge of Women Banking, at the Uganda Centenary Bank, said that the Bank and many other banks in Uganda had already embarked on the financial inclusion process. Click here for full story

The African Development Bank partners with EAC, COMESA & ECOWAS Regional economic blocks to implement the 50 Million African Women Speak Networking Platform Project.The platform is intended to empower millions of women in Africa to start, grow, and scale up businesses by providing a one-stop shop for their specific information needs. Click on the image above for more information