After participating in Village Capital’s first place-based ESO training program, six locally-led Ugandan entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) got training and US$200,000 in grant funding.
Village Capital’s revolutionary peer-selection method is implemented to run a number business accelerators around Africa, and it recently finished its first ever place-based ESO accelerator, which supported 13 locally-led incubators, accelerators, and other SGB-focused intermediaries.
Uganda Ecosystem Builders 2020 was a program sponsored in collaboration with the Argidius Foundation that aimed to help ESOs improve their fundraising, strategic development, and impact. Village Capital’s ESO diagnostic tool, which helps ESOs establish a route to financial sustainability and impact, was at the focus of the curriculum.
Six of the 13 ESOs were chosen at the end of the program to receive milestone-based grant funding to implement their strategic performance plan in 2021-22. As an adaption of Village Capital’s tried peer-selected investment approach, two were selected by their peers. A grant selection committee picked an extra four.
Finding XY, Goldstone Consulting, Hive Colab, Kyusa, Makerere Innovation and Incubation Centre, and StartHub Africa were the six finalists.
“ESOs in Uganda play a critical role in helping early-stage entrepreneurs and SMEs through programs, mentoring, and investor connections,” said Mary Mwangi, programme manager at Argidius Foundation.
“But they often lack consistent funding, or receive restrictive grants. This programme focused on helping these leaders build their capacity to fundraise, to help them make strategic investments around team, tech, R&D, and curriculum development.”
Village Capital’s work to support locally-led ESOs in countries around the world has progressed with the launch of this program. Since 2018, Village Capital has provided direct support to over 100 ESOs around the world, including 64 in Africa.
“Three years ago, we brought our “accelerator for accelerators” approach to Africa, with VilCap Communities Africa,” said Adedana Ashebir, Village Capital’s regional director for Africa and Middle East. “We’d learned through our work in Africa since 2012 that ESOs were effectively startups supporting other startups. This place-based programme was a chance to offer even more directed support, and in Uganda, a nation with notable entrepreneurship rates globally.”