Leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company, SGS has committed Shs 20 million towards supporting the Boundless Minds school-to-work transition mentorship and training programs in Uganda.
Boundless Minds, a Kampala-based career mentorship social enterprise, uses project-based learning, community service/volunteer placement and mentorship as pathways to entrepreneurship, employability and social justice learning.
The Shs 20 million financial commitment was handed over on Tuesday by SGS Country Manager, Christophe Dubois to the Boundless Minds CEO, Benjamin Rukwengye.
Rukwengye said in a statement that the partnership will facilitate the training and mentorship of 100 young people including 50 university students and 50 Senior Six graduates to enable them to start enterprises and community projects as well as find job placements and mentorship.
“Our target is to train, place and mentor 1000 young people in the next 5 years and cause up 3000 jobs in that period,” Rukwengye said.
“Partners like SGS Uganda Limited enable our job/volunteer placements and entrepreneurship acceleration processes,” he added.
He further described the partnership as “a major show of faith and commitment to entrepreneurs” in Uganda whom he said “continue to create employment opportunities for millions of young people in and out of school”.
Uganda has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in Sub-Saharan Africa (around 18 percent for youth aged 15-24, and 16 percent for youth aged 18-30) and youth are disproportionately affected by high un- and under-employment, making up over 80 percent of the total unemployed in Uganda.
According to Rukwengye, the support by SGS is a great deal since Ugandan corporate companies rarely invest that much money in startups.
“I am immensely grateful to SGS for investing in our vision and model. It means everything,” he said.
Christophe Dubois, Country Manager told this website that the partnership was driven by the fact that it involves an aspect of respect for rights and interests of local communities.
“SGS’ community policy underscores our respect for the rights and interests of local communities. To further these objectives, we aim to help build capacity within non-profit agencies through financial, in-kind and volunteer contributions on an annual basis,” he said.
“This year, SGS is contributing 20 million UGX towards their mentorship and training programs that will mentor and train 100 students (50 each),” Dubois said.
The SGS Country Manager mentioned that research shows that young people, with the right policies, mentorship, learning and networks can create opportunities for themselves and others.
“SGS is investing in ensuring that Boundless Minds continues with this work,” he added.