KAMPALA, January 29, 2024 – The inaugural Coop360˚ Innovation Award attracted 38 applicants, even though only 25 applicants [cooperatives] made it to the regional pitch events expected to kick off from February 19 to March 15, 2024, across the country, according to Jane Amuge Okello, the Operations Director at The Uhuru Institute and Social Development [TUI], a social business enterprise that supports the growth of cooperatives in the country.
On September 20, 2023, TUI and partners including Bank of Uganda, Liberty Assurance, NTV Uganda, Goldstone Consulting, and Busara Centre for Behavioural Economics launched the inaugural Coop360° Innovations Award under the theme “Cultivate, Invent, Impact”.
The 25 successful cooperatives that will now be visited by the TUI team and partners before they pitch their projects in towns like Kampala, Lira, Kabale, Mbale, and Kapchorwa, met all the creteria set for them to participate in the awards competition, according to Amuge.
“After verification, only 25 cooperatives met the selection criteria, and will be the ones that will be visited and invited to the regional pitch events from where the finalists will be picked for the grand finale expected to happen on March 20, 2024,” said Amuge.
Amuge said on Monday at the TUI offices in Naguru, Kampala that the verification was based on whether a cooperative has a valid registration certificate from the Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives; evidence that the cooperative has held the Annual General Meeting [AGM] for the last financial year; existence of a fully functional board, supervisory, and vetting committees; institutional capital size of at least Shs 10 million; evidence of making at least Shs 20mln in annual turnover in the previous year; and commitment by the board and management to fully participate in the Innovations awards.
According to Amuge, applicants [cooperatives selected] came from the districts of Ngora, Lira, Kanungu, Kabale, Kapchorwa, Manafwa, Kole, Kampala, Nebbi, Bududa, Mbale, Pallisa, Alebtong, Kween, Bukomansimbi, Oyam and Dokolo.
“The prestigious award will identify, document, evaluate, amplify and reward cooperatives which have invented and adapted solutions that are enhancing membership value, stabilising and leapfrogging their businesses and communities towards competitiveness and sustainable resilience,” Amuge said while updating TUI staff on the progress so far made and the tasks that lie ahead for the different teams involved in the organisation of the event.
According to her, the award was launched to; cultivate and nudge the appreciation and application of the cooperative identity, competitiveness, and sustainable resilience in all cooperative initiatives, reward innovation and competitiveness as drivers of cooperative-powered sustainable development, and enable and grow Business to Business linkages amongst the cooperatives, TUI, partners and the business community.
The 2024 Innovation Award will impact cooperatives across Uganda with existing innovations in the following thematic areas suggested by the organisers:
Cooperative Member Development for Improved Quality of Life: Here cooperatives have to enable members to meet their welfare needs including but not limited to healthcare, housing, psychosocial support, entertainment, and sports amongst others for sustainable development.
Amuge says 17 cooperatives were selected to compete under this category. Some of the participating cooperatives include Anyapo Awei Multipurpose Cooperative Society [Alebtong], Kibinge Coffee Farmers Cooperative Society Limited [Bukomansimbi], Tingey Constituency Produce Dealers SACCO [Kapchorwa], Kampala Central Journalists SACCO [Kampala], URA Staff SACCO [Kampala],
Others are; Lira Diocese MultiPurpose Cooperative Society Limited [Lira], Bwindi Coffee Growers Cooperative Society Limited [Kanungu], Namanyonyi Vision Group [Mbale], Ngora District Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative [Ngora], and Mer Ber “A” Cooperative Society Limited [Nebbi].
Climate Smart Cooperative Business Models for Development: According to Amuge, the growing climate crisis world over requires that every cooperative designs and adopts business models that address production, hygiene, construction and environmental conservation needs for a sustainably resilient future.
Seven cooperatives were selected to pitch their projects under this category; Acwec Omio Cooperative Society [Lira], Akalo Producers Cooperative Society Limited [Lira], Mushana App Staff Youth Cooperative Savings [Kampala], Wagagai Coffee Farmers SACCO [Kapchorwa], Mengya Integrated Farmers Cooperative Society Limited [Kween], Bushika Integrated Area Cooperative Enterprise Limited [Bududa], and Butta Farmers Cooperative Society Limited [Manafwa].
Leveraging Science and Technology for Business Efficiency and Competitiveness: In the world of business today, it is said, science and technology in communications, production, manufacturing, marketing increase productivity, incomes, simplify work and improve the quality of life of the business persons.
Uganda Central Cooperative Financial Services Limited is the only one that appears in this category.
Marketing and Communications: It was noted that the art of telling the cooperative’s and members’ story through branding, and adverts, is critical for collaboration, market acquisition and expansion, customer relationship management, and a great public relation.
Meanwhile, Amuge has appreciated cooperatives that tendered in their applications to participate the in the competition.
“Considering this is the inaugural Coop360˚ Innovations award, TUI is humbled to receive this level of interest from cooperatives and the partners that have chosen to walk this journey with us. We continue to pick very useful lessons in the design and execution which will be critical in enabling TUI and partners do better in the next edition. For example, early planning and resource mobilisation is pertinent to the campaigns success. We congratulate all the cooperatives that participated and made it to the first stage of the competition. We anticipate a fun parked next 6 weeks and look forward to the grand finale,” she said.
Overall Winner- Shs 20 million
- Tourist weekend for 15 persons
- Mentorship and coaching for 3 months
First Runner Up – Shs 10mln
- ICT appliances e.g. computers, printers, and routers, valued at Shs 5,000,000 each
- Mentorship and coaching for 3 months
Second Runner Up – Shs 5mln
- Mentorship & coaching for 3 months
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