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Futuremakers: Supporting young entrepreneurs in Uganda

News Food systems
Uganda -

With a population of 78% below the age of 35, Uganda’s youth embodies significant economic potential. However, young entrepreneurs face many challenges, like limited access to finance, markets and knowledge.

A shop owner in Uganda.
Brian Pimunda, a successful entrepreneur in the Ugandan coffee value chain and participant in Cordaid’s Futuremakers programme. Image: Cordaid

To address these issues, the Futuremakers Youth Agribusiness Project, funded by the Standard Chartered Foundation, was launched to support 700 entrepreneurs in northern Uganda.

The project empowers young people to overcome obstacles and succeed in their businesses by providing business development services, mentorship, linkages to new markets, grants, digital literacy training and access to finance.

In this documentary, you will learn more about the programme’s impact in three Ugandan districts: Lira, Zombo and Nebbi.   

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Opportunity is brewing

With an unwavering desire to succeed, 33-year-old Brian Pimunda manages to provide for his family of six and also inspires youth to join the coffee value chain.

The owner of Bratex Agro Venture started his journey into the coffee business as an attentive consumer. ‘One day, as I walked to a nearby shop to buy coffee for my family, the idea struck me to produce something similar,’ he recounts. ‘I picked some coffee beans from our family farm and processed them using local knowledge and techniques. I was pleasantly surprised by the great taste of the brew and everyone in my family loved it.’

‘Before, I used to work hard, did not keep any records and earned less than a dollar a day. Now, I make as much as 20 to 40 dollars daily.’

After a few local government officials in his town were equally enthusiastic about his coffee, the orders began flowing in and he quickly grew his capacity from 2kg to 14kg per week. The successful business boosted the consumption of local coffee and created new opportunities for young people to earn a living.

Brian: ‘I train youth in coffee production focusing on aspects like climate-smart agriculture, good agronomic practices and quality assurance. Sharing this knowledge has inspired others to join the coffee business and find a job.’

Cordaid Uganda’s support

A pivotal moment in his career, he says, was a training he attended from Cordaid Uganda under the Futuremakers Youth Agribusiness Project. ‘The topics covered during the training pointed me in the right direction and my ambition grew. I learned about product development, marketing, customer care, record keeping and the power of social media. This has changed my position in the market. Before, I used to work hard, did not keep any records and earned less than a dollar a day. Now, I make as much as 20 to 40 dollars daily.’

For Brian, the future looks promising. He received an agricultural credit facility and plans to register his business with relevant authorities and obtain certification from the Uganda National Bureau of Standards. He believes this will help him push his products to regional and international markets like the DR Congo, South Sudan and even beyond Africa.