One of the alternative sources of finance for Uganda is the Mara Launch fund. For many Ugandans, particularly those starting out in business with only a concept, this is a good place to start.
Target: Start ups and early stage businesses
Sector focus: All
Amounts provided: UGX 5,000,000- UGX 10,000,000
Funding type: Venture capital
Means, rather than providing a loan, the fund takes a % of shares in the company
Model can be repeated across Africa;
Profitable business within 3-5 years (exit period for fund);
search online for “Mara Launch Fund”
Tel: +256(0)414 233 700/800
Who is behind the fund?
Ashish J. Thakkar; CEO,Mara Group;
Alex Rezida, Partner at Nangwala, Rezida & Co. advocates; and
Peter Mukiza, Managing Partner in Uganda for Quantum capital.
What is the process like?
1. Submit business plan should include information consistent with the key criteria for the fund.
2. Introductory meeting. If the fund likes the plan, the investor will meet the fund team.
3. Due means the fund “verifies” the information presented in the plan.
4. Term sheet. Document spelling out the basic terms and conditions.
My view/tips for success in accessing the funds for your business
1. Team:Venture capital funds like Mara know that a great team will develop and implement the idea successfully. If you have no internal capacity, have a professional join you so that your plan includes a strong team.
2. Executive summary. Investors are busy people and so your summary, usually one page, should have one aim in mind: “Make them eager to turn the pages”. In order to do this, ensure that your executive summary captures key aspects of the document including the team, the amount required, the process, the activities to date and other information that provides a “snapshot” of your concept.
3. Repeatable model. The fund is looking for good business ideas that will transform Africa. Can the business model be repeatable not only in Uganda but perhaps Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania?
4. Understand the fund and persons behind it. A core part of a successful business relationship is whether the two parties “connect”. Investors are people and they usually invest if they like the person behind it.
In July, I met Nigel Ball, director of an affiliated entity. He is a very likeable, straight talking professional. I can therefore expect that the rest of the team will be of this nature.
Otherwise, best of luck.
Inachee is not an agent or connected to this entity, it is an independent thought leadership and advisory firm. The information provided is based on our research and experience. Whilst we have taken steps to ensure the accuracy of the information presented here, there can be no guarantee that it will remain accurate.