WE4A Selects 3 Ugandan Female-led Startups to Receive Funding of up to UGX200M

Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa, founder of Chil Artificial Intelligence Lab (Chil AI Lab) pose for a group photo with some of her colleagues. (PHOTO: Shamim K. Nabuuma) Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa, founder of Chil Artificial Intelligence Lab (Chil AI Lab) pose for a group photo with some of her colleagues. (PHOTO: Shamim K. Nabuuma)
<center>Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa, founder of Chil Artificial Intelligence Lab (Chil AI Lab) pose for a group photo with some of her colleagues. (PHOTO: Shamim K. Nabuuma)</center>

Early this year on Jan. 10th, the Women Entrepreneurship for Africa (WE4A) Program announced it had selected over 100 women-led startups across 15 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that would participate in their program to stand a chance of receiving funding to help scale, grow, and improve their businesses. Of the startups selected to participate in the program, 15 were Uganda women-led startups.

WE4A provided the women-led startups with mentorship and training — after running the accelerator program demo day where the selected women entrepreneurs pitched their solutions, 30 female founders have been selected to receive €50,000 (approx. UGX200M) in grant funding, as well as an additional three months of training, focused on growth. Out of the 30 selected to receive the funding are three (3) Ugandan female-led startups; Chil Artificial Intelligence Lab (Chil AI Lab), Dromedic, and Women Smiles Uganda.

  • Chil Artificial Intelligence Lab (Chil AI Lab) — Uses the power of machine learning and AI to put chronic disease prevention and management services in the hands of any woman.
  • Dromedic — With data, smart logistics, and tech, Dromedic links blood suppliers with hospitals—reducing waste and increasing fast blood delivery, while maintaining quality control.
  • Women Smiles Uganda — Women Smiles Uganda provides affordable, reliable, and modern training in sustainable vertical farming concepts for underserved women in Africa.

“I was so happy to learn that I was among the thirty people that were getting the €50,000 (approx. UGX200M) funding for our business. This is not small money and surely it will help us scale somehow to Rwanda,” Chil AI Lab Founder, Shamim K. Nabuuma told PC Tech Magazine.

We are waiting for comment from Dromedic and Women Smiles Uganda founders.

WE4A aims to provide female-led SMEs with enhanced business capacities, access to funding, market opportunities, knowledge enhancement, and technical training through the joint efforts of the European Union (EU), the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), with implementation from the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) (E4D program). Running the acceleration and growth program components of WE4A is the Swiss Association for Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets (SAFEEM), a member of the Seedstars Group.

WE4A Program is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its core objective is to support women entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa, enabling them to flourish and contribute to employment creation in their communities through enhanced business capacities, access to formal financial services, and integration into local and regional value chains.

European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, in a press statement, said the European Union is proud to support the Women Entrepreneurship for Africa (WE4A) program as part of the EU-Africa: Global Gateway Investment Package.

“Empowering women and supporting small businesses is at the heart of the EU efforts,” said Jutta Urpilainen. “Women entrepreneurs help build prosperity, create new jobs, and contribute to a more equal, sustainable society.”

The WE4A program is playing a role in closing the existing gender gaps in the labor markets, especially in terms of the quality of jobs. WE4A will ignite structural changes, as women who become successful entrepreneurs serve as role models in their societies and encourage other women and girls to pursue their choice of career.

“The acceleration and growth programs show how the enormous potential of growth-oriented, women-owned businesses can be better harnessed for employment and prosperity on the African continent,” Elmar Kerck, GIZ Team Leader at WE4A said. “SAFEEM has proven to be a highly professional implementation partner, providing needs-based training and mentoring to the selected women entrepreneurs and guiding them towards investment readiness.”

The benefits of the WE4A program can be observed in the resulting 88% of the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) recording a positive change in their One Metric That Matters (OMTM), 91% of the companies reaching their individual KPIs, and 165 additional jobs created in the companies, 69 of which are attributed directly to the program (on top of the 1,126 jobs supported initially at the beginning).

Notably, the 30 women-led startups receiving the funding are from Ethiopia (1), Ghana (3), Kenya (4), Mauritius (2), Malawi (1), Nigeria (14), Rwanda (2), and Uganda (3) — Nigeria stood with the highest numbers of startups selected.