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A celebration of excellence in women entrepreneurship

L-R: Irene Birungi Mugisha, CEO of the Presidential CEO Forum, Mkazipreneur Impact Awards CEO Immy Julie Nakyeyune and judges Shamim Matovu, Jacklene Arinda and Sandrah Nabasirye (L), winner Outstanding Agricultural Impact award

L-R: Irene Birungi Mugisha, CEO of the Presidential CEO Forum, Mkazipreneur Impact Awards CEO Immy Julie Nakyeyune and judges Shamim Matovu, Jacklene Arinda and Sandrah Nabasirye (L), winner Outstanding Agricultural Impact award

November 23 saw the first edition of the Mkazipreneur Impact Awards, social enterprise and community platform to empower women entrepreneurs. A brainchild of IMMY JULIE NAKYEYUNE, the awards took place during the second day of the Uganda Innovation Week at Mestil hotel in Nsambya.

Under the theme,“ Women entrepreneurship resilience and adaptability for economic and sustainable growth,” the
awards were held to not only celebrate the outstanding achievements of female-owned businesses in Uganda, but also to honour the resilience and adaptability that these businesses have shown under the circumstances that we are living under and in the previous years.

As Ernest Jjingo writes, Mkazipreneur has provided a forum for women entrepreneurs to share successes, challenges and opportunities to succeed in the male-dominated field of entrepreneurship.

In spite of government and private sector’s initiatives to empower the girl-child to succeed in life, the percentage of women entrepreneurs in Uganda is below 10 per cent, according to the 2020 figures from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos).

This perhaps explains why most businesses die before their first year of existence. To mitigate the situation, in 2018, Immy Nakyeyune, a mentor and service management analyst, founded Mkazipreneur as a social enterprise and community platform to create a space, programs, tools, and resources for women entrepreneurs to thrive.

Four years down the road, the concept has grown leaps and bounds to bring together leading women entrepreneurs and over the weekend, it held its first awards ceremony.

Nakyeyune states the awards intend to celebrate and award the outstanding achievements of female-owned businesses in Uganda, to compile success stories of outstanding women entrepreneurs in Uganda and to create an opportunity for women entrepreneurs to establish a network among themselves.

Mkazipreneur Impact Awards seek to provide exposure for outstanding women entrepreneurs in Uganda, help with growth in sales and revenue for women businesses, growth in annual turnover for women businesses with ability to create more jobs and increased access to networks and opportunities.

At the glittering ceremony of the who-is-who in women’s small and medium enterprises, there were 10 categories on hand. The Most Innovative business award was won by Georgette Ochieng, the co-founder, and managing director at Wazi Vision, the first prescription eyewear brand designed and manufactured in Uganda.

This category recognized businesses that introduced new ideas, services, and products to meet the evolving demands of the market. Meanwhile, Sandrah Asiimwe took home the Outstanding Environmental Impact award for maintaining eco-friendly, biodegradable and reusable house items.

Asiimwe is the founder and CEO of Ecoville Uganda Inc, a brand focused on sustainable living. This category recognized an outstanding female business with deep commitment to environmental reservation and sustainability.

Georgette Ochieng (R) won the Most Innovative business award

On the other hand, the Otstanding Agricultural Impact award went to Sandrah Nabasirye, the founder and CEO at Santex Agri-Initiative, a vegetables and study farm and food store.

This category recognized an outstanding female business with deep commitment to agricultural growth. For the accolade of Outstanding Use of Technology, Shamirah Kimbugwe emerged victorious for providing payment solutions to
individuals and businesses.

She is the founder and managing director at Pivot Payments Ltd, a pan-African payments operator. This category recognised the continuous effort by female businesses to digitize their businesses to offer fast and efficient customer service.

Eve Zalwango, the founder of Fundi Women, took home the Outstanding Community/Social Impact award. Fundi Women is an initiative that empowers women to become builders and carpenters to bring economic empowerment and gender equality in an industry that is male-dominated.

She was recognised for her community and social impact in terms of economic growth and sustainability. Furthermore, the Outstanding woman entrepreneur in northern region Award was won by Sandra Letio, the founder and CEO of Pelele Group. The company manufactures and markets detergents, cosmetics and personal care products made from Shea nut butter and oil.

She was honoured for female business excellence in northern region based on brand reputation, professionalism, customer satisfaction, and the quality of service or product in the market. Similarly, the Outstanding woman entrepreneur in central region Award went to Maxima Nsimenta, the founder and CEO of Livara Natural and Organic cosmetics.

This award honoured female business excellence in central region, based on brand reputation,professionalism, customer
satisfaction, and the quality of service or product in the market. Livara manufactures products made with natural and organic ingredients from Shea to guava.

The Outstanding woman entrepreneur in western region award was won by Daphine Ampaire, the founder and CEO of
Daph Bees. The establishment is involved in bee-keeping, honey-production and sale. This award recognized female business excellence in western region, based on brand reputation, professionalism, customer satisfaction, and the quality of service or product in the market.

For the eastern region Outstanding woman entrepreneur award, the accolade went to Esther Namoe, the founder and
CEO of Kangole Goat Keepers and Breeders, a women livestock group of dealers in goat-keeping, producing goat meat, goat milk, leather turning and training.

This award recognized female business excellence in eastern region, based on brand reputation, professionalism, customer satisfaction, and the quality of service or product in the market.

Lastly, 22-year-old Lynnet Nakidde was crowned as the Emerging Female Young Entrepreneur of the year. She is the founder and CEO of Biofertilizer Centre for Youth empowerment, a company producing different kinds of organic fertilizers.

This category recognised an upcoming female young entrepreneur between the ages of 18 and 25 years who is challenging the status quo to run a business.

The Mkazipreneur Impact Awards were organised by Mkazipreneur in partnership with Uganda Innovation Week, NSSF Hi-Innovator, Outbox, MasterCard Foundation and CEO Presidential Forum.

Keynote speaker Irene Birungi Mugisha, the CEO of Presidential CEO Forum, congratulated the winners and top nominees and emphasised the need for resilience and adaptability for economic and sustainable growth.

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