Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) and the Mastercard Foundation have facilitated the creation of over 5,000 dignified jobs for Uganda’s youth through Newman Foods Limited.
Speaking during a tour of the facility in Konge Central, Nakawuka, Nasser Segujja, founder and CEO at Newman Foods said the support from PSFU helped the company to gain immense trust within the market.
“The moment PSFU and Mastercard came on board, we earned a lot of trust in the market. PSFU has organized us and built our capacity. Now, many companies are approaching us for business,” he said.
Newman Foods Limited’s story began in 2013 from a rented house in Makindye, a Kampala suburb. It primarily focused on exporting fresh foods and vegetables to various European countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, and Switzerland. Their export portfolio included a diverse range of products, such as green peppers, garden eggs, matooke, sweet potatoes, and sugar.
During their export operations, a critical realisation dawned upon the team. They observed that local farmers were incurring huge losses, particularly with chili production.
Recognising an opportunity and a pressing need, they decided to pivot their business by adding value to chili and hot peppers.
“Our association thought we were suitable to take up the opportunity with PSFU. We shared our dream and story and they gave us a chance. They loved the speed at which we had grown without any financing or loans from the banks,” he said.
Brenda Ankunda, an Investment specialist focusing on Crops at PSFU, praised Newman Foods Limited’s determination. She said while they initially operated in a limited space, the team demonstrated potential to grow the business.
She said the partnership between PSFU and Newman Foods Limited was forged in 2021, with a specific goal in mind, to employ 5,220 young individuals in the hot culture value chain. At the time, the company employed a modest workforce of approximately 70 people, far from its ambitious target.
“In just one year, they had reached the target and surpassed it by more than 200 young people being employed. They have managed to expand their market share from 30% to 35% and grow the market locally, regionally and internationally,” she said.
Damali Ssali, the Chief Programs and Projects Officer at PSFU said the support has helped the company improve its production as well as expand job opportunities for the youth.
“The Lead Firm Structure program supports businesses that are already established. For Newman, we built the capacity of its outgrowers. They needed people to grow the chili, and Irish potatoes so that they can be able to manufacture their products,” she said.
The Lead Firm Structure Project’s ultimate goal is to create dignified and fulfilling work for young women and men. Since its launch in 2019, the LFS project has so far mobilized 137,077 Ugandan Youth and managed to transit over 100,000 Youth into meaningful and dignified work, whilst targeting to create at least 300,000 jobs by 2025.