“Uganda’s development will grow faster if today’s graduates embrace impact entrepreneurial skills that have a lasting benefit on transforming society through wealth creation,” Professor John Maviri, the vice chancellor of Uganda Martyrs University says.
Impact entrepreneurship implies that individuals create sustainable businesses while addressing the needs of society.
Maviiri says it is through impact entrepreneurs that Uganda can address the growing problem of unemployment in the country.
It is estimated that every year a total of 400,000 youths are released into the job market after graduating to a market that has only 90,000 jobs.
“I urge graduates to learn how to create jobs for themselves. There are abundant opportunities out there that you can carefully tap into to make a decent living.The job market is becoming narrower each day.It therefore requires one to have skills that are in line with government’s plans of well creation,” adds Maviiri.
He made the remarks on Wednesday 29 July 2015 during the launch of a new educational course on impact entrepreneurship at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel in Kampala.
The 15 month masters course at Uganda Martyrs University in collaboration with the Catholic University of Milan, Italy aims at promoting Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Development.
He says the National Council of Higher Education has already approved the course in line with government’s efforts of wealth creation.
The course was initially being piloted in 4 other African countries such as Kenya, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast, according to Luca Colombo, East Africa Manager for the Catholic University of Milan.
He says plans are under way to expand the program to the different parts of Africa so as to create and share experiences of different entrepreneur in Africa that can create resilience in tailoring businesses that address community needs.
Fr. Edward Ssemwogerere, the project leader says impact entrepreneurs with the best tailored ideas that address the needs of communities will be offered scholarships to gain practical skills in business.
He says there are also special packages for people with disabilities to enable them reach their full potential.
The course in 2012 received the first non-American Ashoka Innovation Award. Ashoka is a global association of the world’s leading entrepreneurs.
It helps them both get started and succeed over their long lifetime causing large scale and very much needed pattern of change.
Clare Wavamunno, one of the fellows with ASHOKA says social entrepreneurship has the potential to change patterns across the world through innovative solutions to community problems.
Wavamunno’s model idea advocates for children with disabilities to be integrated into the education system with their peers so that they are not quarantined in special schools. She says disabled children have the potential to excel in life just as normal children.
“Putting children with special learning needs in the same environment with children with normal learning abilities allows interaction and this provides special attention to the former. We don’t need to discriminate against them otherwise they loose the natural gifted talents,” she says.
She revealed that ASHOKA fellows work in over 70 countries around the world in every area of human need, adding that this has in most cases enabled communities to be self reliant.
While giving his closing remarks at the end of the conference, Robert Kabushenga, the Vision Group CEO advised graduates to look beyond pursuing a degree.
“The knowledge you acquire is school should be integrated to help people in the communities do business and generate wealth for this country. Be able to create an impact to society by applying your knowledge appropriately. Each of us has their own unique qualities in us despite our levels of education,” Kabushenga said.
He elaborated to participants how some communities around the world through especially organized women groups have been able to transform the welfare of their people. He urged them to always learn new ideas through innovation from others in order to appropriately use them for their benefit and that of the community.
He thanked the management of Uganda Martyrs University producing graduates who meet ethical standards that today’s employer requires.