Uganda is developing a national start-ups policy.


In a move to make Uganda’s Start-ups profitable and attractive to investors, Business Stakeholders drawn from across the country are working against time to deliver a National Start-Up Policy for the Country in 2024.

The Policy that will address the existing constraints affecting the start-up ecosystem in Uganda is being spearheaded by Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), supported by the Mastercard Foundation and coordinated by the Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives.

Speaking during a technical team roundtable meeting held in Kampala this week, Apollo Muyanja Mbazzira, the PSFU Lead Firm Structure (LFS) Project Director noted that on conclusion, the national start-up policy will streamline small and young businesses’ operations.

“Tunisia has one of the best start-ups policies and they are doing well. When you go to Cairo, a similar thing is happening and bearing results. Beyond start-up policy, can we position Uganda as a benchmark of start-ups regionally and across the continent,” Mr Muyanja said, adding;

“Uganda is a home of over 5 million refugees, showing our welcoming nature. If we can welcome businesses in the same way we welcome refugees, then we shall thrive as a country. This is our thought at PSFU and we have shared it widely. We need to position ourselves and go after the available opportunities across the continent.”

According to Keneth Twesigye, the Lead Policy at Startup Uganda, this ACT, when concluded and implemented will shield Ugandan Entrepreneurs from unfair competition.

“Several multi nationals come here and get several business facilitation privileges yet not so much is done for local start-ups. We believe that with this ACT, Ugandan start-ups will have a chance to compete favorable on the market as it will not only establish what they need but also how to get support.

Keneth Twesigye, the Lead Policy at Startup Uganda, addressing the media at Kampala Serena Hotel.

A Startup can be defined as new entity of at least 12 months old that applies innovation or technology to develop a disruptive process, product or service that is scalable or has growth potential to commercialize. In the context of Uganda, such a business must meet some of this criterion; has a temporary management structure, spends part of its budget on research and development, is Ugandan owned by majority and is locally incorporated in Uganda. ​

Well as Uganda has several start-ups employing hundreds of Youth and Women, these businesses continue to be hampered by low innovation, stagnated growth, low startup scalability, low startup sustainability, and unfair competition. It is these evils that the National Start Up Policy comes to cure.

“This is not an activity. It is a private sector initiative, we need to own it and make it work.  The start-up policy will build on all our other interventions. The Policy is urgently needed. It is extremely critical as it will help protect interests of our local businesses,” Arnold Byaruhanga, a representative of the Mastercard Foundation noted.

Relatedly, Hon. Boniface Okot, the Youth MP for Northern Uganda a few months ago presented a Start-Up ACT as a private bill in the Uganda Parliament. At that time, he noted that Start-up Act is one of the progressive legislative interventions and incentives for young people to actively participate in matters of socio-economic transformation.