How JumpStart Africa is connecting people and empowering communities through the provision of financial services
In Uganda, many people live in poverty and struggle to earn a living. They face challenges such as a lack of access to assets and productive resources, exposure to gender violence, unpaid work and forced early marriages. These factors limit their ability to fully participate in activities that bring about empowerment and economic growth.
One of the biggest barriers they face is the lack of access to formal bank loans. They cannot get credit because they lack permanent employment and security to offer as collateral. They also face higher constraints in accessing start-up and growth funds.
This is where JumpStart Africa comes in. JumpStart Africa is a social enterprise that uses micro-finance to catalyze economic growth, expand financial inclusion and alleviate poverty in underserved communities in Uganda. Operating since 2016, the focus has been on arguably the most vulnerable yet important members of society: Women and Youth.
Through its unique business model, JumpStart Africa provides micro-credit services to women and youth, creating thousands of income opportunities for the most vulnerable members of the community. JumpStart Africa serves its micro-finance clients through solidarity groups, which allow it to maintain personal relationships and trust with clients while reaching deeper into the bottom of the economic pyramid.
JumpStart Africa’s vision is to sustain the livelihoods of women and youth through business. Its mission is to connect people and empower communities through the provision of financial services (increasing access to capital/ affordability and flexibility). Its purpose statement is to uphold the dignity of the human person through investment.
JumpStart Africa has enabled bottom-up growth in slums and areas around Kampala, such as Nateete. offering access to small loans and other financial services that low-income people otherwise would not have, JumpStart Africa has helped many entrepreneurs start or expand their small businesses, such as shops, salons, tailoring, catering, farming and more.
These small businesses not only generate income for the entrepreneurs and their families but also create employment for others, stimulate local markets, improve living standards and contribute to social development. Below is one of the success stories of JumpStart Africa.
Nambasa Nalwoga is a single mother who lives in Nateete, a suburb of Kampala, Uganda. In 2019, she started a small business selling beverages from a stall near mechanical garages in Nateete. She had no other source of income, and she was determined to make her business a success.
Nambasa faced many challenges in the early days of her business. She had limited capital, so she could only buy a small amount of stock at a time. This meant that she often ran out of drinks before the end of the day, and she lost potential customers. She also faced competition from other vendors who sold similar products at lower prices.
Nambasa heard about JumpStart Africa, a microfinance organization that provides loans to small businesses. She decided to apply for a loan, and she was approved for 300,000 shillings (about $80). She used the loan to buy more drinks from beverage manufacturing companies at wholesale prices. This allowed her to increase her stock from two crates to six crates per day, and she was able to offer a variety of products to her customers.
Nambasa also bought a fridge with the support of a Micro-loan from JumpStart Africa. The fridge helped her to keep her drinks cold and fresh without spending money on ice blocks or charcoal stoves. The fridge also attracted more customers who preferred cold drinks.
As a result of her loans from JumpStart Africa, Nambasa’s income has increased and she uses her income to pay rent for her stall, school fees for her son, and other household expenses. She is also now able to save money every week.
Nambasa is grateful to JumpStart Africa for giving her an opportunity to improve her economic situation and achieve her dreams. She says JumpStart Africa has not only given her a loan but also trained her on how to manage her business better, how to keep records of her sales and expenses, and how to budget and plan for the future.
JumpStart Africa has also given Nambasa a sense of belonging and empowerment connecting her with other women who share similar challenges and aspirations. She says they support each other emotionally and financially through their solidarity group meetings. She says they also learn from each other’s experiences and best practices.
Nambasa is proud of herself for being able to provide for her daughter and herself without depending on anyone else. She says she hopes that one day she will be able to build a house of her own and send her daughter to university.
Nambasa’s story is just one example of how JumpStart Africa is unlocking opportunities, empowering lives and transforming small businesses in underserved communities of Kampala. providing micro-loans and other financial services, JumpStart Africa is not only giving people a chance to improve their economic situation but also a chance to achieve their dreams and aspirations.
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