KAMPALA, November 8, 2023 – Standard Chartered Bank Uganda in partnership with their NGO partners Cordaid Uganda, and Youth Business International [YBI] launched the Business Resilient Matching Grant Programme as they celebrated Purple Tuesday.
Purple Tuesday is a global social movement that advocates for the improvement of the customer experience for disabled people and their families. The bank is celebrating this initiative with month long initiatives and decided to light up their Speke Road head office building in purple to boldly recommit to go beyond banking to improve the customer experience for persons with disabilities by increasing their accessibility at their bank premises and in their operations.
As part of the celebrations, the bank took persons with disabilities from the districts of Lira, Nebbi and Zombo through a session on digital banking and cyber security before launching the Business Resilient Matching Grant Programme at a press conference.
During the press conference, the Minister of State for Disability Affairs, Helen Grace Asamo handed over a cheque of Shs170 million to Cordaid on behalf of Futuremakers programme by Standard Chartered. The grant will be awarded to 100 selected entrepreneurs with disabilities based on the evaluation of their immediate business needs as presented in their respective business plans.
The Grants for persons with disabilities in the districts of Lira, Nebbi and Zombo are meant to help them revive their businesses from economic shocks, support their business growth, create market and employment opportunities, and help them gain sustainable incomes.
Sanjay Rughani, the CEO, Standard Chartered Bank welcomed the guests and said; “As a society we need to reflect upon and embrace the necessary principles, practices and changes needed to be more inclusive, towards individuals with disabilities. As Standard Chartered Bank, we strive to be a disability confident organisation with a focus on removing barriers and increasing accessibility to ensure that all employees, clients and those in our wider communities are supported to be their best.”
He added: “As we celebrate Purple Tuesday today, we are proud to make a difference in so many lives through our Education, Employability and Entrepreneurship programmes where we equip, train and offer life skills, capacity building as well as grants and financing to micro & small businesses owned by persons with disability.”
During the launch, John Mwesigye, the Chief Technology and Operations Officer and Disability Pillar lead at Standard Chartered Bank Uganda said: “As a Bank, we are committed to lifting the participation by transforming the lives of the youths especially women and people living with disabilities from low-income households and promote greater economic inclusion for them through our Futuremakers programmes.”
He added: We are therefore proud to support young entrepreneurs to revive, strengthen and build strong and resilient businesses through our Youth in Agribusiness programme. Our EmployABLE programme also helps to create job-ready PWDs by providing them with knowledge and skills, soft-skills training, career mentoring and job placements. The skills prepare PWDs to find jobs through work readiness and vocational training.”
Rose Namutebi Project Coordinator, Highflyers Uganda Office at Cordaid Uganda while speaking at the launch said;“Cordaid understands that entrepreneurs are the backbone of local economies, playing a vital role in creating jobs, stimulating innovation, and fostering economic stability. We also understand the plight and challenges faced by Persons with Disability and that is why as Cordaid we work with several partners and government to implement programmes that alleviate the challenges of various youth in the agricultural sector.
She added: The situation is even more dire for the vulnerable youth who face many barriers to employment due to number of issues like disability, gender, insufficient skills, low education attainment, culture attitudes or limited opportunities in the job market. Women and PWDs are at major risk of poverty, yet research shows that homes where PWDs live are often headed by women. It is also sad to note that even when persons with disabilities do have the necessary qualifications, they still struggle to find employment. This is due to discriminatory attitudes towards PWDs and most workspaces not being inclusive. We hope that this business resilience matching grant will improve the welfare and businesses of the beneficiaries.”
While handing over the grant award cheque, the Minister Asamo commended the Bank and its partners for this initiative stating, “On half of the Government of Uganda, I wish to heartily thank Standard Chartered Bank Uganda, the Standard Chartered Foundation and Cordaid Uganda for supporting Government efforts by investing in entrepreneurs with disabilities. As Government we will continue to put several measures in place and offer various support to youth in various communities to assist them navigate the various challenges they experience and empower them to create sustainable income generating activities.”
The Youth in Agribusiness project works with 700 beneficiaries. 152 of these are persons living with disability, and out these, 53 are visually impaired.
The project prioritises persons with disability because they often face significant obstacles that impede their growth, such as limited access to financial resources and a lack of supportive infrastructure. The Business Resilient Matching Grant Programme aims to address these challenges head-on, providing entrepreneurs with the necessary support to overcome barriers and thrive in uncertain times.
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