The theme for the Young Achievers Awards 2013 was about rewarding innovation and excellence. And excellent they were, as all the invited guests were treated to a sumptuous cocktail just before the official event kicked off. The cocktail was meant to nurture a culture of networking as the young brains that are changing Uganda were able to interact and share ideas on how to move Uganda forward.
Not long just after 7PM, the event kicked off with a live band performance and thereafter real business began. The 2013 awards were hosted by the eloquent and elegantly dressed Michael Matovu who announced the people nominated in the various categories.
Patricia Nsanze Nzeyi, the chairperson Board of Directors of YAA gave her speech where she echoed the youthful traits of ‘rebels that change things.’ It was not long before Gerald Abila, the founder of the Barefoot Law Firm walked away with the leadership and social entrepreneurship that was handed over by Richard Byarugaba, the Managing Director of NSSF.
Other outstanding achievers included, the 17 year old Chess Maestro, Phiona Mutesi who rose through the slums of Katwe to become a world class chess wizard. She was able to beat the likes of Jas Mangat and Ibrahim Ssekagya to the Outstanding Sports Personality Award.
But of course, the main moment of the night was coming, that was Uganda’s Youssou Ndou aka Joel Sebunjo. His performance at the awards ceremony made me feel, that he is not just Uganda’s Youssou Ndou, he is actually Uganda’s Joel Sebunjo. He played the Kora like he was the Kora himself, in the moment when he played, him and the kora became one and the audience was clearly impressed, not even the Queen of Buganda could stop enjoying the great performance.
And when it came to Esther Kalenzi, she made our night, speaker after Speaker kept commending her on her great oratory skills. Her award acceptance speech turned into a pitch that moved many to make contributions towards her 40 days over 40 smiles Foundation. Yeah, you know, so we said. And Cedric Babu, the CEO of Kinetic Group, gave Shs.500,000 towards the cause of behalf of his mum, Ms.Olive Kigongo.
My only short-comings at the awards was that, it was very easy to predict the winners for each given category. Perhaps these were names that had really stood out in 2013, but then again, we need some suspense, we need some shocks, because that’s where the real beauty of the awards comes in from.
To really sum up the event, we had a Keynote speech from Her Royal Highness the Nnabagereka Sylvia Nagginda Luswata who whirled her speech around the life of Mandela as someone who walked the talk. The Chief Guest, Dr.Mthuli Ncube then echoed that for Uganda to transition into a middle income country by 2017, investment should be made to further the excellence and innovation of the youth.
And as the night came to a close, the family of The late Dr.James Mulwana received the Lifetime Achievement Award on his behalf. In the words of his son, and heir, Geoffrey Mulwana, “Dad was passionate about the youth… dad put his heart to everything he did in life. He believed in hard work. Dad taught us that there is no shortcut to success but only through hardwork.”
By the time we closed off the night, it was clear, that the awards once again had presented themselves as a mélange of Inspirations and Aspirations. Inspiration for those in the audience to take a step and work on their dreams and aspirations for the winners and nominees to go the extra mile and break the records they had set.
FULL LIST OF WINNERS
1. Media and Journalism Award: Flavia Tumusiime
2. Business Entrepreneurship Award: Angels Initiatives [George William Bakka, Joachim Ewechu and Ivan Mandela]
3. Young Achievers Awards Outstanding Performing Arts: Kenneth Kimuli aka Pablo
4. Young Achievers Ericsson Innovation excellence award: Dr. Davis Musinguzi (The Medical Concierge Group)
5. Young Achievers Award for Farming and Agro-Processing: Eric and Rebecca Kaduru. KadAfrica Ltd
6. Young Achievers Award for Leadership and Social entrepreneurship: Gerald Abila
7. Outstanding Sports Personality Award: Phiona Mutesi
8. Heroes Award: Esther Kalenzi (40 days over 40 smiles)
9. Lifetime Achievement Award: The Late Dr. James Mulwana
10. Young Achievers Awards star Hall of Fame: Mrs. Olive Zaitun Kigongo
11. Overall Young Achiever: Addmaya (Peter Mukiibi and Arthur Nakkaka)
UBL rewards youth in Northern Uganda
By Our Reporter
Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) has given cash rewards to 10 youth from Northern Uganda for their startup businesses. These youths received a reward of Ugx 15 million for excelling in the UBL skills for life program.
UBL, under the skills for life scheme, in October 2018 offered 30 scholarships worth shs 116 million to young, academically talented but financially challenged students from the farming communities in Northern Uganda. Under project, UBL provided funds to cover tuition, entrepreneurship training and mentorship that enabled the students to start businesses in their communities.
“At Uganda Breweries, one of our key priority areas is skilling youth in order to secure a sustainable future. Under our Skills for Life Initiative, we continue to offer special opportunities to the nation’s brightest scholars who are less fortunate. We not only offer them scholarships but also provide career guidance and mentorship on business start-ups and expansion skills which the youth can later use to increase job opportunities in their communities, improve their incomes and eradicate poverty in the long run.” Charity Ekudu Kiyemba, the Uganda Breweries Legal and Corporate Relations Director said.
“From the total beneficiaries that we sponsored and skilled in 2018, we are happy to share that all have finished school and gone ahead to start businesses of their own. However the 10 youths that we are rewarding today put up exceptional and valuable businesses which we are proud to recognize.” She added.
The scholarship project is managed and run on behalf of UBL by technical expert, Enterprise Uganda, who have vast experience in SME development, training and mentorship in entrepreneurship. Enterprise Uganda was in charge of skilling, mentoring and training the students as well as selecting the top performing businesses to receive the seed capital.
Explaining the criteria they used to pick the students to receive the reward money, Rosemary Mutyabule from Enterprise Uganda said, “We selected the best young entrepreneurs based on their capacity to execute and implement business projects. We also assessed the sales that were made since they started the business, the profits made, the number of employment opportunities that have been created by the business and the general contribution of the business to the neighboring community.”
“For example 21 years old Betty Apoo from Kitgum technical Institute in December 2018 set up a tailoring business and a Simsim business in Rackoko, Pader district. Her initial capital was shs 98,000/= borrowed from her aunt. She made sales of Shs 1,000,000/= and a profit of shs 510,000/=. Betty is now supporting her family and paying school fees for her two children.”
“Similarly, Auma Sunday Okee (22 years) set up a maize grain farm in Mucwini, Kitgum district using capital of shs 98,000/=. She earned sales of shs 1,611,000/= and a profit of shs 1,446,000/=. Ojok Christopher from St Daniel Comboni started a piggery and brick making business in February 2019 with capital of shs 150,000. He has so far made sales of shs 560,000 and currently employs 6 people in his brick laying business.”
The youth that have received the seed capital are Nelson Mandela, Christopher Ojok, Innocent Wokorach, Geoffrey Opoka, Bongomin Calvin from St Daniel Comboni in Gulu, Auma Sunday Okee, Ocen David, Apoo Betty Canwak, Okema John Kelly and Ayaa Rosemary from Kitgum Technical Institute.
Since inception in 2001, the Uganda Breweries Skills for Life Initiative has awarded over 200 university scholarships to bright and needy students across East Africa, with 40 of them from Uganda.
In 2017, UBL re-focused their scholarships to focus on Technical and vocational courses in response to the cry for more practical entrepreneurial skills for the youth to reduce unemployment levels around the country. UBL has so far awarded scholarships worth UGX 230m to 70 students in vocational schools in Northern, Western and Central Uganda. Every year the company will be giving out scholarships to students from the different regions around the country.
AZA spurs inter-Africa trade with launch of BFX in Uganda
By Our Reporter
AZA, Africa’s biggest non-bank currency broker, has rolled out its recently upgraded payment platform BFX to Uganda.
BFX is a B2B payment platform that leverages AZA’s hybrid infrastructure and empowers companies to use African currencies with less risk, cost and friction than ever before. The launch comes within three months of the Bank of Uganda approving a remittance license for AZA, which is registered locally as BT Payment Services Uganda.
The expansion to Uganda reflects AZA’s conviction that the economy is poised for growth. The country is one of the world’s most entrepreneurial, with 28% of adults owning or co-owning a business, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. Progressive currency market liberalizations have helped Uganda to rank as the third best among 20 countries for access to foreign exchange in Africa in the ABSA Africa Financial Markets Index.
The BFX platform will enable Ugandan small and medium-size enterprises (SME’s) to grow beyond their borders, opening up previously under-served trade markets through a number of pay-in and payout channels such as banks and mobile wallets. BFX is significantly easier and faster to use than incumbent systems, processing international transactions within one or two
business days. With extensive infrastructure, faster processing and local settlement accounts, BFX ensures quick transactions with less friction and lower fees.
“Our commitment to Uganda, East Africa and the wider continent is evident from our investment in building the best and most reliable technology for this market,” said Thomas Yieke, Head of Sales for East Africa at AZA. “We have created a competitive facility based on world-class technology, reducing settlement time to less than a day and at the best possible rates. Through the BFX product, Ugandan businesses will be able to save millions in fees each year with cost-effective transfers and efficient treasury solutions.”
AZA is the only non-bank provider of both wholesale foreign exchange and distribution across the African region, and has expanded through increased bank accounts, mobile money and other payment options.
With a team of over 100 people, AZA is led from regional HQ offices in Lagos, Nairobi and London, with growing satellite teams in Kampala, Dakar, Madrid, Accra and, very shortly, Johannesburg. The firm’s culture and fast-paced startup environment have helped spur its execution ability, operational efficiency and ability to retain top talent.
“We are hopeful that AZA’s existence will increase the number of skilled forex practitioners and intermediaries on the ground in Uganda,” said Yieke. “We are here to be an integral part of how Africa in general, and Uganda specifically, accelerate its growth.”
MTN Uganda named highest performing network
By Our Reporter
MTN Uganda has been recognized by Rohde & Schwarz with the “Highest Network Performance Score” award for its data and voice services.
The award was officially presented to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), MTN Uganda – Mr. Win Vanhelleputte at the company’s offices in Kololo, Nyonyi Gardens on Tuesday by Shakil Ahmed, Director Africa together with Paul Mwangi, Manager Mobile Network Testing, Rohde Schwarz.
Rohde & Schwarz bestowed this award on MTN Uganda following tests conducted on ground in Uganda, during the 3rd quarter of 2019, and within the framework of a study that involved extensive tests of voice calls and internet speed evaluations across over 8500km around the country as well as static tests in hot spots.
These independently conducted network quality and performance tests were done on the networks of all mobile operators in Uganda and benchmarked against leading European mobile telephone operators using the network performance scoring methodology of European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) TR 103 559 S.
Rohde & Schwarz is a renown international organization that specializes in auditing 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G performance of mobile networks across the globe using the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)/ETSI standards and methodology.
“The advantage of using this global standard of measurement (is that), it challenges us to not only be the best in Uganda but also benchmark ourselves against leading networks across the world. Our consistent investment in the network over the years is getting us ever closer to the ‘best in class’ global networks.” Win Vanhelleputte noted.
MTN’s network had the highest aggregated voice performance score across major towns and on highways. This specifically with regard to placement and quality of calls.
In addition, MTN Uganda also registered the highest aggregated data performance score in relation to quality of videos and ability to stream.
Being the market leader with more than 13 million customers, MTN Uganda has made it a strategic priority to deliver and maintain a positive experience for customers using the network.
Commenting on the subject, MTN Uganda Ag. Chief Technical Officer (CTO), Mr. Samuel Sentongo said, “MTN Uganda’s innovation agenda requires that we constantly invest, upgrade and maintain a robust network, one that can optimally carry and sustain both voice and data traffic as well as the rapidly growing mobile financial services portfolio.”
NSSF warns public against purchase of its land in Lubowa
By Our Reporter
The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has warned the public against purchase of whole or part of its land at Lubowa, along Entebbe Road in Wakiso district.
The Fund issued a warning in response to an advertisement that was published in the media by a law firm on February 6, 2020 calling for interested buyers for land purported to be of Freehold Tenure measuring 10.864 Hectares/28 Acres located at Lubowa, Kitiko.
According to a notice published by the Fund on February 17,2020, the features of the said land correspond with land which belongs to the Fund, comprised in Block 269, Plots 274,323 and 1322 Lubowa Estate.
NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba said that the Fund registered a complaint with Police to deter the attempted encroachment.
“The Police is currently conducting investigations. We caution the public against any attempt to purchase the said land because the Fund is the registered owner,” he said.
In a caveat emptor published on Monday, the Fund also said that it would not hesitate to institute criminal and civil action against any persons involved in the purported transaction on the land.
The Fund purchased the 565 acres of the land at Lubowa in 2003 to develop a housing estate, comprising of 2,741 housing units and related amenities.
The development will be implemented in a maximum of 10 Phases, over a period of 10 years at a cost of about USD400Million.
Construction of phase 1 comprising of 326 housing units and accompanying amenities is ongoing. And according to Byarugaba its at 55% completion.
“It is therefore of utmost importance that the public does not fall for any purported land transactions because that is unlawful, illegal and amounts to trespass,” Byarugaba added.
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