Makerere University, through its innovation hub, has launched a campaign to support youth entrepreneurs with disabilities, aiming to enhance their self-sustainability. The initiative, developed by the Makerere University Innovation Hub, focuses on creating a platform for young persons with disabilities in business to share experiences and views. Cathy Akiror Mbidde, the acting manager of the hub, revealed that the project, funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering from the UK, initially targeted 50 youths but selected 15 engaged in crafts tailoring, liquid soap production, bakery, and shoe making.
Mbidde explained that the project’s goal is to link these young entrepreneurs to stakeholders who can support and improve their businesses. Various partners, including the TUNAWEZA Foundation, NUDIPU, the gender ministry, UNDP, and young African works, have joined the campaign. Mbidde highlighted the challenges faced by many youth with disabilities in securing employment due to discrimination, making the initiative a vital effort to support those who have initiated businesses.
During the commemoration of the International Day for Disability at Makerere University, the initiative was celebrated for its impact. One beneficiary, Hajara Nabukalu, a disabled widow and mother of three, shared her journey and expressed gratitude for the support received. She emphasized the pivotal role played by the Makerere project in transforming her small business and providing essential support for her family.
Prof. Peter Turyakira, Head of the Department of Marketing and Management, emphasized the importance of corporate social responsibility and the need to exploit the talents of individuals with disabilities. Prof. Godfrey Akileng, the Dean School of Business, highlighted the university’s commitment to celebrating and supporting disabled individuals in entrepreneurship, emphasizing the university’s contribution to Hajara Nabukalu’s business and well-being. The campaign aligns with the belief that disability does not equate to inability and seeks to empower individuals to live better lives through entrepreneurship and innovation.