It’s a new year at Challenges Uganda and our Accelerator programme is in full swing!
Building on the hugely successful ‘ICS Entrepreneur’ programme, where we have supported over 150 Ugandan SMEs with a full consulting service of diagnostics, recommendations and implementation and over 150 Ugandan youth with consulting experience and employability skills, we started piloting a new approach to supporting Ugandan SMEs.
Our Accelerator is based on the longstanding Challenges belief that quick consulting and mentoring only begins to realise the potential of SMEs. This type of programme has recently been controversial due to some organisations offering little value for money, offering e.g. only 3 meetings per month, for 6 months only, where 2 people per business have to go to labs or group sessions. Enterprises are usually required to pay at least a $500 commitment fee, plus 2% of their equity and at least 1% of all revenue.
Instead, our Accelerator as first word is modelled on a long-term support approach, encompassing four phases and a variety of resources: Diagnostics (3 months), Hands on Consulting (3 months), Fortnightly check-ins and Direct Mentoring (3-Months), Consolidation of Growth Strategy (3-months), in addition to further mentoring until tailored Revenue and Profit KPI targets are achieved. This means our success is directly proportional to the enterprises’ growth.
Since November, four exceptional Junior Consultants, all from Uganda, four Senior Mentors and four Senior staff have begun the Diagnostics phase, analysing strengths and fundamental issues and devising a work-plan for the Consulting phase to address the latter. We have also facilitated a successful intra-business deal, which has demonstrated our significant impact in less than 3 months of inception!
Also, our Investment Partners Entrepreneurs 4 Entrepreneurs, a membership network of investors and private companies in Belgium, sent their Managing Director to meet our first Accelerator Cohort in December, and were delighted with the breadth and the quality of our enterprises. We look forward to further incorporating this relationship into our Accelerator model.