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Nurturing Entrepreneurs: VC Launches Mastercard US$200k Seed Fund

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On Friday, 15th February 2019, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe represented by the Principal, College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) Dr. Eria Hisali launched the Entrepreneurship Seed Fund for the MasterCard Foundation Scholars and Alumni of Makerere University. The Entrepreneurship Seed Fund will support Scholars and alumni to create economic opportunities within their communities through social ventures.  

The Mastercard Foundation announced a seed funding of US$2,000,000 on 11th August 2018 at the Baobab Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, to implement the Foundation’s Strategy in Africa titled: Young Africa Works in the next two years (2018 to 2020). The strategy focuses on finding solutions to the youth employment challenge and reducing poverty in Africa. The Foundation believes that young people, especially Scholars, will drive and lead change in Africa and are already working hard to fulfill this vision.

Makerere a partner university with Mastercard Foundation received US$200,000 as an Entrepreneurship Seed Fund. According to the Coordinator of the MCF Scholars Program at Makerere University Dr. Florence Nakayiwa, the funding will be geared towards nurturing scholars to come up with social and business ventures. The funds will also help to deepen the development of skills and mindsets required of Scholars as transformative leaders, committed to improving the lives of others.

“The Program Implementation Team designed a seed funding framework to ensure that, the fund will have the greatest impact possible in developing the Scholars as transformative leaders, creating jobs and change through the business ventures. In some cases, Scholars’ ventures will also serve as a ‘transition’ vehicle for them to gain employment after graduating university through their ventures” she said.

The Vice Chancellor's Representative-Dr. Eria Hisali (R) and Coordinator of the MCFSP at Makerere University Dr. Florence Nakayiwa (L) applaud during the proceedings

The Internship and Entrepreneurship Coordinator of the MCFSP at Makerere University Mr. John Osuna said that the Entrepreneurship Seed Fund is open to all business concepts or social projects that have a high-growth potential, are profitable in nature, have the ability to create jobs and are scalable. The eligible business concepts or ideas include; innovations in Sustainable Agriculture, applications of the service or technological innovation, food processing, tourism, trading, renewable energy, fashion, education, health, artificial intelligence and scaling up existing concepts or ideas.

Mr. Osuna also mentioned that the Fund is ring fenced for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars and Alumni as Principal Investigators or Team Leaders, but the Scholars are encouraged to work with other non-Scholars (other students in at Makerere University) on profitable and social impact projects.

“The first cycle commences this month on 23rd February 2019 with a Social design course for 6 weeks among other development support inclusive of finance up to US$6,000 per project, and mentorship; the second cycle, will be in February 2020,” he explained.

Eligibility and selection criteria     

  • Scholars in their final year of study supported by the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.
  • Scholars must be the team leaders in a team of two to four people.
  • Where the Scholars choose non-Scholars on their teams, the non-Scholars must be final year students at Makerere University and should not be more two per team.
  • The business concepts or Social Venture Projects should be profitable, scalable and be able to create jobs for youth.

A former Guild President and Business Development Manager at Enterprise Uganda, Mr. Ronald Edward Mukasa encouraged young entrepreneurs to always be innovative and flexible

At the launch of the Entrepreneurship Seed Fund, Prof. Eria Hisali, thanked Mastercard Foundation for the bright idea that is going to change the mindsets of scholars towards business development.  Prof. Hisali said that Makerere University has embarked on looking for work placements and opportunities that can support students’ social and business ideas.

“We have realized that unemployment is a big challenge to our students, therefore, we have embarked on seeking opportunities that can provide with students either jobs, or ideas to support their ventures. We are getting touch with the government to tap into the wealth creation programs that are geared towards helping youth. The University is revitalizing its Endowment Fund, and we believe that; as the funds grow, some should be channeled to these entrepreneurial activities,” he said.

He urged scholars to fully utilize the opportunity from Mastercard Foundation and build their entrepreneurial world.

He called upon students and other youth to tap into the government programs when he said, “as long as you are organized, this support will be availed to you.  To the Scholars and Alumni, access to the seed fund is going to be a competitive process. Therefore, to the business projects that succeed I wish you the best in your new enterprises and to the ones that do not succeed, I believe the skillset acquired during the development support will place you in a better position to pitch your projects to other organizations in Uganda and beyond for funding.”

Some of the Scholars who attended the event smile for the camera

Mr. Ronald Edward Mukasa, the Business Development Manager at Enterprise Uganda, encouraged young entrepreneurs to always be innovative and flexible.  In a presentation he made, Mr. Mukasa called upon scholars to pay attention to the 3Cs (Care, Competence and Character) when preparing to join the business or social venture sector. According to him, the business world is looking for people who can find problems and look out for the solutions. He therefore said that someone’s passion matters when engaging in business.

“The reason one goes to school is to discover him or herself. Have passion while working on your ventures and be exceptional. The new environment has space for someone that has an excellent idea.  People are willing to pay attention to someone who is good at what he or she is doing. Therefore, you need to go beyond wearing a jersey and be able to score a goal,” he advised.

At the same function, the Vice chancellor launched the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program (MCFSP) Alumni Association; a network that brings together graduates of MCFSP at Makerere University to share opportunities in academics, employment and entrepreneurship among activities.

The Principal Public Relations Officer of Makerere University Ms. Ritah Namisango encouraged students to fully utilize all the available volunteering opportunities, since this will help them to accumulate the much needed experience as they transition from the academic to the professional work environment.

The Scholars Council Representative on MCF Mr. Petere Ngobi and the Alumni Association Representative Mr. Charles Katuramu encouraged scholars to always take up leadership positions and develop their societies.

Guests were entertained by a remarkable poem from Mr. Andrew Muwhezi; a scholar from CoBAMS, as well as a team of scholars from Lane256.

Article Written by Public Relations Office

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Notice: Makerere Disability Scheme 2022/23 Medical Review Exercise

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One of the PWD graduands at the 69th Graduation during the Session held on 17th January 2019.

The Academic Registrar, Makerere University invites persons with disability who applied for admission to public universities under the disability entry scheme for 2022/2023 Academic Year to appear for medical/review exercise at Makerere Unive, Senate Building, Level Two (2) in the Telepresence Centre.

NOTE: Only those who have the minimum entry requirements of at least two principal passes at A’ Level or its equivalent and at least five (5) passes at O’ Level or its equivalent will be interviewed.

 Only candidates who sat ‘a’ level in 2020, 2019 and 2018 are eligible for admission.

THE EXERCISE WILL BE CONDUCTED ON 3rd, 4th and 5th October, 2022 respectively from 9.00 A.M – 1.00 P.M each day.

IMPORTANT:

(i) If you fail to appear on any of the given days above, there will be no other chance for you.

(ii) Applicants with Government Scholarship for the previous years are not eligible for admission

ALFRED MASIKYE NAMOAH

Acting. ACADEMIC REGISTRAR

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Uganda’s policymakers implored to address forest loss, plastic & water pollution

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Left to Right: Prof. Gunnar Köhlin, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Amb. Maria Håkansson, Commissioner Julius Mafumbo and Prof. Edward Bbaale posing for a group photo before the opening ceremony on 22nd September 2022: Photo by EfD-Mak Centre.

The Vice Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe on Thursday 22nd September, 2022 participated in the opening of the EfD Annual meeting hosted by Makerere University at Speke Resort Munyonyo where he appealed to government to implement the ban on kaveera and address other environmental issues.

The opening ceremony moderated by the EfD Global Hub Manager Gunnar Köhlin and was graced by Uganda’s Minister for Water and Environment represented by the Commissioner for Water, Mr. Julius Mafumbo and the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Maria Håkansson.

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Prof. Nawangwe urges Makerere University community to support the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative

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By Bernard Buteera

Makerere University has launched a two million dollar E-learning Project, dubbed The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative.  

The launch was held on Tuesday 20th September 2022 at Makerere University, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium. It attracted over 200 participants, who included members of University Management, College Principals, School Deans, Academic and Administrative staff, students and the general university community.

While addressing the gathering, the Chief Guest, Prof. Mary Okwakol, the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), congratulated Makerere University for winning such a huge grant, which will go a long way in transforming the eLearning infrastructure at Makerere University.

“I am happy to be joining you in launching a project that is at the heart of National Council for Higher Education. Online learning is at the heart of the Council, not only because of the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the world is now a digital world.” Prof. Okwakol remarked.

Prof. Okwakol thanked Mastercard Foundation and other development partners who have continued to support initiatives that help transform higher institutions of learning in Uganda.

“I sincerely thank the Mastercard Foundation and other partners who have continued to support higher education in Uganda, especially in the area of research and online learning. Globally, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, greatly disrupted education systems forcing learners and some schools to shift to virtual learning to curb the spread of the pandemic.” Prof. Okwakol pointed out.

On his part, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe urged the university community, especially the academic staff to take advantage of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning initiative to develop e-content across all Colleges of the University, to enhance capacity for eLearning at Makerere University.

[L -R] Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the E-learning Initiative, Prof. Umar Kakumba, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Prof. Mary Okwakol, the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Coordinator of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative and Prof. Justine Namaalwa, the Program Coordinator for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.

”I appeal to the Colleges to embrace this project and have as many courses adopt this pedagogy development system, even though students will continue with face-to face and phyisical learning, they should be allowed the option of online learning. The platforms that are going to be built, will give our students an opportunity to interact with international students, scholars, teachers and with each other.” Prof. Nawangwe applealed.

The Vice Chancellor, further called upon all other development partners to emulate Mastercard Foundation in supporting Makerere University and other universities on the entire African continent in strengthening digital literacy, so that Africa is not left behind.

”In 2018 I attended a conference on E-learning in Beijing China, where a critical question was asked; Will Africa be left behind again? This was in reference to many advancements that were taking place in the western world, in which Africa had been left behind.” The Vice Chancellor reminded the audience.

Prof. Nawangwe further emphaised the importance of e-learning as one of the critical modes of teaching and learning in the 21st first century.   

”Ladies and Gentlemen, I cannot over emphasise the importance we attach to e-learning the 21st Century, that is why we took a decision to elevate the Department of Open and Distance Learning into an Institute of Open and Distance E-learning with an intention of having e-learning extended to other Colleges of the university.” Prof. Nawangwe pointed out.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, and Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the E-learning Initiative, Prof. Umar Kakumba, rallied the University community to support the implementation of the project in the University.

“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative could not have come in at a better time than post COVID19 era. A pandemic, which exposed our systems and methods of teaching and learning. You all recall, when were hit by the pandemic, with lockdowns and closures of institutions of learning, we all went into a panicky mode on how were going to cope with online learning. I therefore call upon every member of the university to give this project the support it deserves.

Prof. Kakumba reminded the audience the importance and relevancy of online learning at Makerere University and other universities in Uganda.

“The online method of learning is best suited for everyone. This digital revolution has led to remarkable changes in how the content is accessed, consumed, discussed, and shared. Office goers and stay home mothers can take up online educational courses too, at the time that suits them. Depending on their availability and comfort, many people choose to learn at weekends or evenings.” Prof. Kakumba remarked.

Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Coordinator of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative, informed the audience the importance of the project and the expected outcomes for the University.

One of the Champions of e-learning trained by Arizona State University, Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda receiving a certificate from Chief Guest.

“The Mastercard Foundation e- Learning Initiative is a Project funded by Mastercard Foundation aimed at addressing the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic that constrained access and continuity of teaching, learning, research and community engagement activities at Makerere University” Prof. Muyinda pointed out.

Prof. Muyinda further thanked the team that he worked with in putting up the proposal in a very short time that yielded such an important grant for the University.

“I thank the team that spent sleepless nights putting together the proposal that resulted into this project. I must report that Makerere University is privileged to be having the most highly qualified persons in online instruction design and online pedagogy at the IODeL and beyond. It is now up to Makerere University in particular and the Country in general to make use of these persons to transform the terrain of online, blended distance and e-learning education.” Prof. Muyinda remarked.

Prof. Justine Namaalwa, the Program Coordinator for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, informed the audience, that the E-learning initiative was one of the many partnerships between Mastercard Foundation and Makerere University geared at supporting the young people to succeed on the African continent.

Members of University Management, staff and students present.

“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program continues to recognize that in order to enable young people across Africa to succeed, there is need to; Address systemic barriers in Higher education, Strengthen the capacity of Institutions that serve the Young People, and Support innovative solutions across critical sectors.” Prof. Namaalwa remarked.

The colourful launch ended with a panel discussion in which panelists digested the importance and opportunities for open distance and eLearning in higher institutions of learning.

Bernard Buteera is the Communications Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.

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