Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a significant role in Uganda's transition to a green and inclusive economy. Green enterprises in particular are becoming increasingly important drivers for a transition towards a Green Economy and play a key role in tackling current economic and environmental challenges.
SMEs in general serve as the backbone of the formal and informal job market, with their growth and scale-up mainly hindered by a lack of business and management skills and a lack of access to finance. Early-stage MSMEs are often unable to access finance, in part due to a lack of internal financial management systems, and in part due to obstacles related to collateral requirements, prohibitive risk ratings for young and small enterprises, and high interest rates. To address this gap in access to finance for green and inclusive SMEs in Uganda in the sectors of sustainable energy, tourism, urban waste management, manufacturing, and transport and mobility, the UGEFA programme establishes an Access-to-Finance facility for these SMEs.
The Uganda Green Enterprise Finance Accelerator (UGEFA) provides access to finance for green enterprises through facilitating tailored loans and direct acceleration support. On the one hand, UGEFA provides Business Development Support for green enterprises in group and one-on-one formats to build their financial capacity and stengthen their business models. On the other hand, UGEFA works alongside banks to co-create opportunities to increase accessibility and tailoring of loans to green business models and technologies. This comprehensive approach facilitates access to tailored finance for green SMEs, supporting them to grow their enterprises and thus scale their sustainability impacts, including the creation of green jobs. Furthermore, it reduces the risk of financing change by working together with commercial banks to provide green SME lending.