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Impact Story
24 May 2022
Agripreneurship Alliance

Provided young agripreneurs with knowledge, skills, and opportunities

Photo: Axel Fassio, CIFOR / Flickr

SIANI’s funding to the expert group led by the Agripreneurship Alliance is now ending. Since 2018, the expert group has designed and disseminated a blended course, Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness, that has supported young agripreneurs across several African countries to develop skills in agribusiness. Charlotte Ajiko, 22, from Uganda, and Hugues Irenge, 25*, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are two alumni of the course. They have shared their experiences and perspectives on what the course has meant to them with SIANI intern Marika Kronberg. 

Gained knowledge and skills 

Charlotte and Hugues took the Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness course in 2021, Charlotte through Makerere University Business School (MUBS) and Hugues through Université Officielle de Bukavu. They are both grateful for the programme and what it has brought to them regarding benefits and opportunities. “For me, it was the training I dreamed of having,” Hugues declares. According to him, the best was learning to develop a solid business plan. Charlotte agrees and mentions how the course has opened network connections for her. Via social media and WhatsApp groups, she can get in touch with other students who have participated in the training at various institutions in Uganda and learn from them.   

Global opportunities opened 

All participants receive a certificate at the completion of the course. Moreover, the participant with the best agribusiness idea is awarded a start-up prize of 1000 USD. Charlotte was the award winner of her cohort, and she relates how valuable this has been to her. In 2020, she applied for the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU), a year-round programme that helps develop the next generation of leaders and social entrepreneurs by providing accepted undergraduate and graduate students with training, mentorship, and networking opportunities. The application process is highly selective, and considers what candidates are doing to impact their community concerning important challenges. That time she was not accepted. However, in 2022, she applied again and was finally admitted. “I had a certificate from the course and could show that I had achieved something, being the award winner with the best agribusiness idea,” Charlotte proudly declares.   

Clinton Global Initiative University opening plenary

Photo: Tiffany / Flickr

Dreams of an environmentally friendly business 

Hugues’s current occupation is at a research centre, where he mainly works with the restoration of forest ecosystems. The course has been a good complement to his educational background in biology. After taking the course, he started thinking about how he could earn something from his experience and knowledge about nurseries. Hugues speaks warmly about his idea to run a nursery for fruit trees as a business:

“Apart from the fruits, the trees will also sequester carbon and release oxygen. It’s my dream to run a sustainable business that offers something to the environment, the ecosystem, and the landscapes.”

Yet, Hugues is not in a hurry to abandon his occupation at the research centre and a small business he is already running with his two sisters, selling clothes and fish. “I have to do my best to have several sources of income because there are no guarantees,” Hugues says laughingly.

Grand visions for her business

With the help of the start-up prize, Charlotte launched her own company a few months ago, Charlotte’s Tasty Rabbit Meat. The company supplies rabbit meat to restaurants, hotels, and grocery stores around Kampala. Charlotte explains that the next step is to start processing the meat and selling rabbit meat samosas. She speaks proudly of her company and her plans are ambitious. She would like her company to become a market leader and the best rabbit meat brand in East Africa. But beyond the grand business visions, Charlotte would also like to contribute to her community. She wants to encourage women and youth to rear rabbits, to enable them to find employment and improve their livelihoods. Thanks to the agribusiness training, she is off to a good start. “It’s a wonderful course, it’s amazing. I encourage people to participate in the course because it enables them to build excellent relationships, connections, and their careers,” Charlotte asserts.

 

*As Hugues is francophone, quotes have been translated from French