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Youth enterprise growth: evidence from Youth Forward in Uganda

Research reports

Written by Susan Njambi-Szlapka, Karishma Banga

Image credit:Farmers use bikes and boda boda transport to reach the banana market and sell their produce in Uganda, 2019. Photo credit MehmetO / Shutterstock.com

This research asks ‘how can youth businesses be supported in their growth?’ Using evidence from Uganda and the agricultural sector, the report learns how young people build business resilience and diversify their enterprises, even through Covid-19.

Digital ag-platforms and mobile technologies (and ICTs) are found to be crucial enablers of youth MSME growth. So are aspirations.

The national lockdown in Uganda during Covid-19 has affected businesses in the agricultural sector. Youth in particular face a range of supply-side disruptions, including exacerbating problems related to availability of transport, inputs, accessing physical trainings and topping up mobile phones.

This ODI research report aims to bring a more nuanced understanding of the drivers of business growth and economic resilience in young entrepreneurs in Uganda, using the agricultural sector as a case study.

This report is published by the Youth Forward Learning Partnership, supported by the Mastercard Foundation and led by ODI’s Digital Societies programme with Participatory Development Associates in Ghana and partners in Uganda. Youth Forward supports young people in Ghana and Uganda to get jobs, grow their businesses and access finance to expand opportunities available to them. The Learning Partnership works to develop an evidence-informed understanding of the needs of young people and how the initiative can best meet those needs.

Authors: Karishma Banga, Susan Njambi-Szlapka and Sanyu Phiona