Fortune Favors the Bold: Employing Uganda's Rural Youth to Help Agrobusiness' Compete for Low-Cost Financing

We train and employ rural youth to provide agro-enterprises with business development services to become competitive for low-cost financing.

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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Amarin Financial Group

Year founded

2014

Initiative stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $10k - $50k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 1,000 - 5,000

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Rural development

Headquarters location: Country

  • Uganda

Headquarters location: City

Kampala

Location(s) of impact

Uganda: Kampala, Gulu, Lira, Mbale, Kamuli, Bugiri, Sironko, Kapchorwa, Bushenyi, Kamwenge, Ibanda, Kasese, Masaka, Mityana, Kiryandongo and Masindi.

Website

http://www.amarinfinancial.com

Facebook URL

Amarin Financial Group

Twitter URL

AmarinFinancial

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

75% of Uganda’s 10,000 agroprocessors & traders (APTs)—the majority of which are rural--are informal. With no formal registration nor audited financial records, APTs are ineligible for local or foreign financing and most grants. Moreover, Ugandan banks' average 25% loan interest price tag deters APTs from ever formalizing, stagnating the growth of many agro-value chains. In parallel, 87% of Uganda's 2017 diploma graduates are unemployed. Amarin's holistic solution addresses all three of these issues simultaneously.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Amarin's solution addresses three issues. The first is agrobusinesses' ineligibility for growth finance because they are neither formally registered nor track personal and business expenses separately. The second is the high cost of local financing. The third is high unemployment among diploma-holding youth who abandon rural careers due to economic stagnation of agriculture. Phase 1 of Amarin's solution is to provide free financial literacy education sessions to 800 rural agro-businesses in year one to identify 120 target clients (they need growth financing but first need to formalize operations). Phase 2 is to train and employ over 30 youth to provide these clients with formalization, financial management, and business development services (FFBDS). Phase 3 is to launch an online bidding platform in year 2 where investors will compete to finance Amarin's investment-ready, vetted clients whose risk we have helped to lower.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

Via our incubation in USAID/Chemonics, Amarin has trained over 2500 individual farmers and 500 agrobusinesses, e.g., cooperatives and APTs, in both financial literacy and best financial management practices thus helping them operate their farms as businesses. Through continued mentorship and bookkeeping services, Amarin has helped twenty of these agrobusinesses to become investment ready by writing our clients' business plans, performing market research, preparing their financial statements and linking them banks with whom we have built relationships. Examples of our impact include developing financial record keeping systems for four Area Cooperative Enterprises that enabled them to get loans from the Uganda Development Bank. We are currently writing business plans for five traders to qualify for UGX 1.2 billion in loans. Finally, we are finalizing our financial analysis of a client that will enable them to secure USD 1.5million in debt to purchase this season's maize crop for milling.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

Amarin’s proposed solution consists of two product segments: 1.) formalization, financial management and business development services (FFBDS) directly to rural APT clients and 2.) facilitation of an online bidding platform where banks and investors will compete to offer the best financing options to our vetted APTs. We will earn 5% commission on every successfully closed bid. This fee will offset the cost of platform subscriptions sold to our agrobusiness clients. Currently 100% of our opex is covered by earned income. However, CSV's CHF400,000 would enable us to scale: covering 50% of opex associated with providing FFBDS services to the 200+ clients we want to vet before launching our bidding site. We would match this 50% with debt financing and breakeven in no more than 18 months.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Amarin feels our product's holistic nature is its most innovative aspect: enabling businesses to compete in the formal economy while creating jobs for youth. It is cross-cutting in a siloed industry. Amarin's second innovation is our online bidding platform. It will feature our investment ready clients' business models and financial documents for a fixed bidding time. Investors will compete to offer the best deals. To even the playing field, businesses will then be able to select the best offer.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

In February 2014, after finishing an economics degree, Ms. Asinde failed to get immediate employment in my field of study. So she volunteered as a trainer with Concern for Children and Women Empowerment facilitating participatory community development through dialogues on gender, reproductive health, and children's rights. She also was an administrative assistant for a group of experts that trained police, doctors, lawyers, and judges how to handle sexual harassment and violence cases more sensitively and appropriately. This work showed her how proper management of personal finance enabled domestic violence victims to leave their partners and start anew. Using her economics degree and experience, she opened a business in 2015 focused on personal financial management. She expanded to business finance and other services in rural areas in 2016 which directly informed this solution's design.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Social media

Attachments (1)

Amarin Profile.docx

A three page profile describing the full scope of services Amarin Financial Group provides.

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