VENTURES AFRICA – Ugandan billionaire businessman Ashish J. Thakkar, under the auspices of the Mara foundation, a non-profit enterprise of Mara Group, today announced the formation and launch of a venture capital firm – Mara Launch Uganda Fund to support the needs of today’s entrepreneurs.
Mara Launch Uganda Fund, totalling UGX 100 million ($41,000), which will be scaled up to UGX 1 billion ($407,000), would be made available for investments in diverse sectors, including IT solutions, Tourism Services, Agriculture & Agro processing and Manufacturing amongst others. The fund would be used to invest in startups at seed, venture and growth stages, with investments done on a case by case basis.
According to a statement by the Foundation, two other projects will complement the Mara Launch Uganda Fund. The first, a mentorship programme Entrepreneur Launch Pad and the second a business incubator, Mara Launch Pad.
The Entrepreneur Launch Pad, is a meeting point of business leaders and young entrepreneurs, for mentoring. Business leaders will be available to guide young entrepreneurs on business decisions, useful for their start-ups, while the Mara Launch Pad is a base for growing business, an innovation and enterprise centre for young businesses, useful as a professional office space, at a token, for them – these will be important for visibility and credibility of these individuals.
The foundation draws on Mara Group Founder Ashish J. Thakkar’s extensive experience as a successful entrepreneur and company builder to create a new, modern venture capital firm designed to support the needs of entrepreneurs. Having started his business at the age of 15, Thakkar’s accrued experience will prove vital young entrepreneurs overcome challenges.
According to the billionaire businessman, all work is geared towards creating an ecosystem of support for young entrepreneurs. Thakkar believes that the approach “will be instrumental in boosting economic development and solving the challenging issue of youth unemployment in Africa”.
He also said the “Funding has been the missing link, but with Mara Launch Uganda Fund now launched, we complete the ecosystem for supporting young entrepreneurs – after all, young people are our future” .
The fund have an investment committee, created to enable the fund achieve its objectives, it comprises the Mara Group CEO, and a few other entreprenueurs who understand what it takes to move from an idea to a commercial enterprise.
The Mara Group, which is a young, dynamic company, has grown into a globally recognised firm with over 4,000 employees and having operations in 17 African countries in 15 years, under the management of Ashish. The Ugandan billionaire was also recently listed as one of the ten young African millionaires to watch.