Back home in my safe little European bubble, I'm still recovering from the trip, all the work I did there and, sadly, the side effects of my malaria tablets!
Uganda is one of the poorest countries in the world, but also one that's full of hope. The latest figures indicate that the country is finally moving away from abject poverty and that the economic gains are primarily being driven by agriculture. As many of our Bluseeds entrepreneurs are involved in that field it's a great sign that the work we are doing is well-aligned with the country's most pressing needs; to create within its individual communities a prosperous and balanced microeconomic environment.
We've Come a Long Way
It's been three years since we began our work in Uganda. And I can see that, along with other local initiatives in the fields of health care, family planning, hygiene, housing and so on, that Bluseeds, in enabling individuals to start a business in their own community, adds an important additional element in the development of sustainable communities.
Over the last two weeks, I had the chance to meet with, and speak with, a lot of NGOs. Many of these groups and individuals are committed to providing education and skills training, but I had an important question for them; what happens after the time and money has been invested in training, the courses are over and the students sent 'out into the world'?
Unfortunately, it seems that all too often these people go back to their old lives and that the training and education they received is, to a certain extent, wasted. This is where I believe Bluseeds can help. For example, we are in serious discussions with Plan Uganda, an organisation that provides skills training to youth. We envision being able to identify entrepreneurs from among their students and provide the kickstart investment they need to start their own business rather than having to navigate a difficult open job market alone.
Restoring Dignity and Hope to the Most Vulnerable
Although the taboos that surround HIV have very much faded in Europe and the US that is not the case in Uganda. There they are very much still considered outcasts and don't get the chance to try to become successful at all. So, in line with our motto - dignity and hope - Bluseeds hopes to launch a pilot program that focuses on the needs of these people as well. As you can see, we are building a wide base in order to try and impact and assist as many people - and communities - as we can.
Where are we at, as Bluseeds, today? As you might know are we are already a registered company in England and Wales and are navigating the process to become a registered charity. And all being well, that should be official by the end of November this year and we can begin fundraising in earnest.
At that time, we will begin publishing the stories of our entrepreneurs and giving you, the public, the opportunity to invest directly in one of them or to support us as an organisation as a whole. The board, myself included, will continue to work on an unpaid, volunteer basis which will help keep admin costs to a minimum and we'll be maintaining - and even strengthening - our commitment to complete transparency.
In addition, I’m happy and humbled to announce that we have already the funding together to start-up Tanzania in January next year. And that's not all. Our roadmap for next year also includes Eastern Africa, Moldova (Europe) and Brazil. Bluseeds will be growing!
So, until next time, please feel free to get in touch with us. Leave a comment below or drop us an email, we'd love to hear from you.