The government has revealed that it is ready to support innovative start-ups to ensure that they realize their potential.
The pledge was made by the Director General of Uganda Investment Authority, Mr. Robert Mukiza, at the annual Financial Technologies Service Providers Association (FITSPA) symposium.
The two-day symposium was held at Sheraton Hotel from Wednesday and Thursday.
Mukiza noted that Ugandans are innovative and entrepreneurial which calls for government’s support so that they can move past the incubation stage and benefit people.
“During the Covid-19 lockdown, Ugandans became more innovative than Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. Ugandans are very innovative, therefore, let’s give them that space and financial support. We really need to talk to each other and see how we can bring out all the innovations on the board and see how they can be of importance to the country and the region at large,” he said.
He, however, noted that if businesses are registered and licensed, it will be very easy for them to access money since many of them thrive on a self-funding mechanism.
According to a recent survey by FITSPA, 57 per cent of FinTechs in Uganda are self-funded, and only 12 per cent have access to venture capital.
According to Mukiza, this shows the dire need for the government’s support towards the fin-tech businesses.
Speaking on the second day of the event as the Chief Guest, Stephen Asiimwe, the Executive Director of Private Sector Foundation (PSFU), said business necessity is the mother of invention, adding “when opportunity meets preparedness, there is a breakthrough. Find the gap and market it.”
He asked Fintechs to look at partnerships and strategic engagements, saying PSFU is ready to support them on realizing the partnerships.
“We have a huge market and opportunities. You have where to start from. Look at the regional market. Recently, we were in the DR Congo but we saw opportunities. Think regional. We are now removing tariff barriers and there a number of opportunities in the DR Congo, and the region. Come, let us talk and see how we can make business.”
He added: “Grow your portfolio and make sure your cents count. We can create 3 million jobs. We can reach 67% of the businesses in Uganda and in the country side with 1 million of start-ups coming up.”
FITSPA board chairperson, Josephine Olok, said that the figure of 57 per cent of FinTechs thriving on self-funding is not sustainable and there is a need to diversify financing to ensure that players in the Fintech ecosystem are funded relatively not from external sources but from the government.
She added that limited access to funding for FinTechs has also limited linkages between their products and services.