Uwezo Fund is an avenue for incubating enterprises, catalysing innovation, promoting industry, creating employment and growing the economy.
To date, the fund has disbursed Kshs5.35 billion to all the 290 constituencies and so far 32,405 groups of 19,690 women, 11,802 youth and 735 PWDs have accessed Kshs3.3 billion of these funds.
Of concern has been the low uptake amongst the youth of the Uwezo Funds. In Mwingi Central Constituency, for instance, Uwezo cheques totaling Kshs6,285,000 million were issued to 92 groups comprising 79 women’s groups getting a total of Kshs5.3 million, but only 13 are youth groups getting Kshs985,000. The trend/pattern has also is replicated in many other constituencies around the country.
Constituency training sessions are held regularly to create awareness on the Uwezo Fund and build the capacity of committees and enable the fund to monitor the progress of implementation the Fund. The topics covered include:
- The general overview of the Public Finance Management (Uwezo Fund) Regulations, 2014;
- Functions of Constituency Uwezo Fund Management Committees; and
- Vetting Criteria of potential Uwezo Fund Beneficiaries and Uwezo Fund Application form.
The Uwezo Fund seeks to expand access to finances in promotion of youth, women, and persons living with disability businesses and enterprises at constituency level for economic growth towards the realisation of the goals of Vision 2010
The Fund is a National Government programme targeting Youth, Women and Disabled persons in each constituency by providing access to grants and interest free loans, as well as, Mentorship opportunities to enable them to take advantage of the 30 per cent government procurement preference for youth, women and persons living with disabilities.
Youth Enterprise Development Fund
The Youth Enterprise Development Fund has disbursed Kshs11.1 billion to 263,000 youth enterprises across the country through the Constituency Youth Enterprise Scheme (C-YES) loans and the Easy Youth Enterprise Scheme (E-YES) loans for individual group members.
Projects funded through the YEDF include poultry incubators, green houses for youth in the county keen on agribusiness, individual business expansion loans, youth-owned enterprises and youth contractors, local purchase and service orders (LPO/LSO) financing.
The fund has recently created a special business support facility for youth in the entertainment industry, giving loans of up to Kshs25 million to fund pre-production, production and post-production costs of film-making.
The Government has ring-fenced access to capital with the creation of ready market for products and services generated by target beneficiaries by earmarking over Kshs200 billion worth of Government procurement opportunities for youth, women and PWDs.
In 2015 alone, 4,250 youth, women and PWD owned companies have been awarded more Kshs9.2 billion worth of Government tenders.
Both YEDF and WEF are currently financing beneficiaries of Government tenders with Youth Fund financing young entrepreneurs who win tenders up to Kshs25 million and Women Fund giving up to Kshs2 million to businesswomen.