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Youth mentors from Faith-Based Organizations gain business skills

Siraj Ntambi makes a contribution during a training session

By Proscovia Nakibuuka Mbonye

When Siraj Ntambi was selected to attend a financial literacy and small business management training course, he was uncertain of the outcome. Nevertheless he still accepted! Little did he know that the timely opportunity would enable him acquire skills to realize his long awaited dream of starting a business.

After completing the training course organized and hosted by BRAC Uganda at its Nakaseke Learning Centre, Siraj’s appetite for business is now much sharper.  The training was funded by Barclays Bank and UNICEF under the Building Young Futures Programme (BYF).

Building Young Futures is a three-year programme funded by Barclays Bank and UNICEF that provides entrepreneurship coaching and employability skills to vulnerable youths through life skills, financial literacy and small business management training as well as funding for small businesses.

“I have learned the importance of saving, budgeting and factors to consider before setting up any business, such as demand, location and competition,” said the 22 year old young man.

He is now aware that he will need to save some money as capital prior to starting up his business. “I now cannot secure any loan without considering the consequences like I did before the training. I know that I could lose the security I give in for a loan. I now plan to get a loan to expand my business after gaining much experience and working out a cash flow,” he added.

Siraj, born and raised in a family of five hails from Mityana district in Central Uganda. Having lost his father at the age of nine, Siraj had to shoulder a number of responsibilities that included looking after his young brothers and sisters, early in life. Since then, Siraj together with his mother embarked on small scale farming to earn some income to take care of the family. He supplements this with part time teaching at a primary school in his home district. 

Siraj is one of the 38 mentors from the Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) partnering with UNICEF under the BYF programme that have undergone intensive financial literacy and small business management. The mentors have since returned to their communities to roll out the same training to fellow youths.

With a certificate in Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), Siraj dreams of starting up an internet café, in his home town. To supplement on the income from the café, he intends to also add a secretarial bureau as well as a few computer accessories like flash disks for sale.

Siraj has already identified the demand for all these services especially among the secondary schools in the district, who usually look out for internet, photocopying, printing, binding among other services.

His dreams are big but he is ready to fly. “I want to have a fully fledged internet café and secretarial bureau with a minimum of ten computers, five photocopying machines, two printers, two binding machines among others,” a determined Siraj said.

Siraj is not far from achieving his dream of starting his business since together with his mother, they have accumulated 900,000 Uganda shillings with a target of six million Uganda shillings before take-off. 

From the training, Siraj is now well armed with skills of writing financial proposals that might earn him a kick start grant for his business from Barclays and UNICEF. 

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