On Thursday 23 June, the Ugandan embassy was dedicated to entrepreneurship. Various OVO employees, coaches and entrepreneurs shared their experiences. And new collaborations were forged and existing partnerships strengthened.
Mirjam Blaak, Uganda's ambassador to Belgium, kicked off the evening. She pointed out the golden opportunities Uganda offers to entrepreneurs and investors: a young population (50% are under 18), the great entrepreneurial spirit, a climate that allows for three harvests a year and plenty of available farmland.
"Uganda is the most entrepreneurial country in the world," she stated. And with the highest ROI, it could even become the 'bread basket of Africa'. Of course, there are also challenges. The number of available jobs is too low, so many young people end up in the informal circuit. In addition, there is a great need for financing and management skills. And that is exactly what OVO's mission is.
OVO is already present
Chairman Luc Bonte and Managing Director Björn Macauter explained the vision of OVO: local entrepreneurship is a motor for more opportunities. That is why OVO selects and guides entrepreneurs in Africa. They receive coaching and sessions to optimise their business model and make it more sustainable - and ultimately, to get it ready for investment.
With a tailored social loan, the entrepreneurs can then allow their business ideas to flourish. The loans range from EUR 5,000 to EUR 50,000 and fill a gap. The amounts requested by young entrepreneurs are too large for microfinance and too small for commercial banks.
Even after receiving their social loan, African businesses will continue to receive in-depth support in starting up or further developing their business. They also automatically join the OVO Entrepreneurs' Club, where knowledge sharing and cooperation are central.