By Juliet Kasirye
Innovators are set to receive a financial boost in order to improve their business ideas. The initial funding of $50,000 (over sh178m) will help the creative entrepreneurs to boost their industries.
After winning the UNESCO–Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International awards for the creative economy last month, the head of MoTIV, Japheth Kawanguzi, said the money is intended to recognise creative institutions globally for their outstanding initiative to promote the engagement of young people within creative and cultural institutions.
“We are in the process of establishing a creative fund that will further unlock the potential of our creatives such as artisans, makers of wood and metal words, photographers, and filmmakers, among others, to financially boost their businesses,” explained Kawanguzi.
He said the support would not only stimulate economic growth, but it would also create new avenues for entrepreneurship and employment opportunities within the sector. Kawanguzi added that in the long run, this would drive the industrial revolution, revive the creative ecosystem and transform the country’s socio-economic trajectory upwards.
He made the remarks during a breakfast meeting to celebrate the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development held at MoTIV head office in Kampala.
The engagement attracted key stakeholders within the creative industry to discuss ways on rebuilding a resilient and sustainable creative industry in Uganda that can contribute to socio-economic transformation in the country.
Although Uganda’s creative industry consists of young talented makers and artisans with the potential to be a great pillar for socio-economic transformation, Kawanguzi said the sector is still grappling with challenges such as inadequate infrastructure, unfavourable policy environment, limited financial resources, access to market and prolonged COVID-19 containment measures which have brought some business segments to a standstill.
“As players within the creative sector, it is our responsibility to create opportunities and platforms for these creatives to thrive by maximising the use of their talent and earn a living from it,” stated Kawanguzi.
Since young people are creating unique pathways for employment through creativity, the country head of The Mastercard Foundation, Adrian Bukenya, emphasised that there is need to support creatives to revolutionise their ideas and also encourage them to incorporate entrepreneurship into their creativity to attain a multiplier effect.
To effectively implement the Young Africa Work strategy, Bukenya revealed that, “we partnered with MoTIV to tap into the creative sector with the aim to support young creatives, especially women transform their livelihood and address some of the challenges faced by the sector such as skilling gap, financial resources, market access, governance on innovation and networking opportunities.”
According to Ritah Ayebare, an entrepreneur dealing in crochet accessories, the last two years have been the most challenging for creatives. She added that the COVID-19 pandemic hit every creative hard and the majority remained without a source of income to sustain their businesses.
To diversify and build a resilient sector, Ayebare requested all stakeholders within the creative industry for support in areas such as funding in order to revive and explore new business opportunities, market access, skilling in order to incorporate innovation into creativity.