250 entrepreneurs showcase at Women's Day Katale
- Written by Yudaya Nangonzi
It was colour, pomp, and massive business visibility at the first-ever national Women’s Day “Katale” held inside the Uganda Manufacturer’s Association (UMA) multipurpose hall in Lugogo, Kampala.
The two-day expo which closed over the weekend saw at least more than 250 businesswomen showcasing their products and services, getting free visibility, interacting, and learning from fellow entrepreneurs.
The Private Sector Foundation (PSFU) in collaboration with Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works (YAW) initiative organized the “Katale”, loosely translated as a market.
This maiden annual activity in Kampala provides a unique opportunity for women and girl entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses and connect with other like-minded individuals while advancing important conversations about women and girls’ rights and gender equity in the private sector.
“In 2022, we held the first Women’s Day Katale in Luwero district. It had more than 100 exhibitors. This year, we decided to move to Kampala and successfully accommodated over 250 women entrepreneurs. The online registration alone for participation hit more than 1,000 submissions,” PSFU executive director, Stephen Asiimwe said.
He added: “I commend everyone that has made this happen and also invite you all to season three in 2024 which will be bigger and better. We believe that women play an important role in Uganda’s economic development and we must support them in every way possible.”
In addition to the more than 250 exhibitors, the 2023 PSFU Women’s day “Katale” edition had strategic business clinics that equipped participants with knowledge to develop their businesses.
These included a health business clinic by Reproductive Health Uganda, a trade simplification one stop-center facilitated by the Uganda Revenue Authority, a clinic by Uganda Registration Services Bureau, Uganda National Bureau of Standards, and Opportunity Bank Uganda.
There was a beauty clinic facilitated by Movit Uganda, the Boss Babe business clinic facilitated by Claire Muhire, a creative business clinic facilitated by Zeus the Agency, and a technology clinic facilitated by SafeBoda.
The Mastercard Foundation Uganda country head, Adrian Bukenya, acknowledged the immense contribution of women to Uganda’s economic development. Bukenya pledged to continue working with like-minded organizations such as PSFU in empowering and lifting more women-founded and women-led businesses.
SKILLING IS KEY
The minister for Kampala Capital City and Metropolitan Affairs, Hajjat Minsa Kabanda, who presided over the expo noted that even though Uganda has had several gains on matters of gender equality, much more effort must be channelled towards skilling women.
She insisted that there is still an enormous gender skills and jobs gap in the country.
“Women-owned businesses are smaller, less productive, and sustainability remains low. We must explore how women-owned businesses can grow from subsistence to industrial, sustainable, and productive industries. Let us start with training and equipping them to compete favourably,” Kabanda said.
Going forward, PSFU plans to make the women “Katale” a regional occurrence starting with western, northern, and eastern regions.