MTN Uganda Paves the Way for Women Entrepreneurs with MTN@25 AWE Project

02 October 2023
  • MTN Uganda launches the “MTN@25 Advancing Women Entrepreneurs” (AWE) project, inviting women entrepreneurs to join its supply chain.
  • The MTN@25 AWE project aligns with MTN Uganda’s commitment to gender equality, youth empowerment, and inclusivity in the technology sector.
  • Women entrepreneurs specializing in IT, network services, digital solutions, facility management, and commercial products and services are encouraged to apply.
  • The initiative aims to empower women entrepreneurs, promote diversity, and strengthen Uganda’s technology sector while fostering opportunities for all.

MTN Uganda, a leading telecommunications and digital solutions provider, extends a warm invitation to women entrepreneurs across the nation to participate in the groundbreaking “MTN@25 Advancing Women Entrepreneurs” (AWE), an inspiring collaborative endeavor in partnership with MTN Mobile Money (MOMO), The American Tower Corporation (ATC), UN Women, The Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), DFCU Bank, Innovation Village, NSSF Hi Innovators and Outbox. This initiative underscores MTN Uganda’s unwavering commitment to fostering a more inclusive and connected society, echoing our belief in the power of collaboration and the MTN annual theme of “Together, we are Unstoppable.”

The AWE project aspires to usher in a new era of improved business ownership, enriched diversity, and enhanced equality in the supply chain. It seeks to champion women’s participation and commendable contributions to the thriving tech industry.

At the launch, Sylvia Mulinge, MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer aptly stated, “As part of our commitment to this cause, we are determined to increase the local spend on women entrepreneurs participating in the top spend categories in the telecom industry and build an inclusive market-oriented platform that supports and attracts women entrepreneurs.”

On average, women-owned microenterprises in Uganda generate 30 percent lower profits than their male counterparts (World Bank 2019). Lower levels of innovation, lower use of capital and labor, and sector-based sex segregation are all factors associated with women entrepreneurs’ poorer business outcomes relative to men in Uganda. Moreover, women enterprise owners in Uganda also use 41 percent fewer hours of labor, have 50 percent less capital, and are 37 percent less likely to have introduced a new product over the previous 12 months compared with men.

Sylvia Mulinge, MTN CEO, also stated, “The AWE project aligns with our core values and strategic vision, which is to create opportunities for everyone, regardless of gender or background. The goal of the AWE project is ambitious yet achievable. Our vision is to have 250 women suppliers by 2025, with the aim of onboarding 50 women by the end of this year.  MTN Uganda will be investing $4 million (UGX 15,029,428,000) into this project because we recognize that women entrepreneurs possess immense potential, and by inviting them to join our supply chain, we intend to empower them, promote diversity, and fortify the technology sector in Uganda. This initiative serves as a testament to our commitment to a more inclusive and equitable future.”

The AWE project represents a cornerstone of MTN Uganda’s sustainability approach, marked by a resolute focus on gender equality, unwavering support for women in business, and the empowerment of the youth, ensuring that opportunities are accessible to all, including individuals with disabilities.

MTN Uganda is proud to collaborate with a consortium of strategic partners to drive the Advancing Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) project. MTN and MTN Mobile Money (MOMO) will oversee the EOI process, ensure women’s participation in RFPs, and offer comprehensive training and financial support. The American Tower Corporation (ATC) will provide business opportunities and assist in candidate selection, while UN Women will raise awareness and strengthen partnerships. The Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), DFCU Bank, and Innovation Village will promote entrepreneurship, provide mentorship, and offer financial support. NSSF Hi Innovators will offer brand support and financing. Together, we aim to increase women’s participation in the telecom supply chain, support financial sustenance, and create a more inclusive marketplace, with a goal of onboarding 50 women by the end of the year and 250 women suppliers by 2025.

Eligibility Criteria for MTN AWE Expression of Interest (EOI):

To participate in the AWE initiative, women entrepreneurs are encouraged to meet the following criteria:

  1. Ownership: Your business must exhibit at least 50% ownership by women, either wholly or through a majority shareholding.
  2. Business Type: We wholeheartedly encourage applications from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), youth entrepreneurs aged 23-35, associations owned by women, and businesses/associations owned by women with disabilities.
  3. Annual Revenue: The applying company should demonstrate an annual revenue of a minimum of UGX 60 million.
  4. Registration: Your company must be locally registered and have been in operation for at least one year.
  5. Tax Compliance: Applicants are required to possess a valid tax compliance certificate.
  6. Active Business Operations: Your applying company should boast actively managed and women-led operations.

MTN Uganda enthusiastically welcomes Expressions of Interest (EOI) from women entrepreneurs spanning the following categories:

  1. IT Equipment and Related Services: Companies offering IT hardware, software, and related solutions.
  2. Network Services: Businesses providing network infrastructure, maintenance, and support services.
  3. Digital Services: Companies involved in digital marketing, content creation, and other digital solutions.
  4. Facility Management Services: Enterprises offering facility management and maintenance services.
  5. Commercial Products and Services: Businesses supplying various commercial products and services.

Women entrepreneurs who meet the eligibility criteria are encouraged to visit the following website: Once there, please accept the terms and conditions and follow the provided instructions to apply for the program before 31st October 2023.

Adekemi Ndielli, UN Women Uganda’s Deputy Country Representative, said, “Empowering women is our DNA as UN Women Uganda, and our partnership with MTN Uganda is a magic bullet to bridge the gap and contributes to SDG 5, which has targets & indicators for all the other goals. Bringing UN Women into this MTN AWE program means you will have access to these women, as there is a level of trust between them & us.”

Charles M. Mudiwa, Managing Director, DFCU Bank Uganda, stated, “DFCU has embarked on a dedicated journey to support women entrepreneurs since 2007. Our guiding principle has been the recognition that many women exert tremendous effort, yet opportunities for them to secure financing were scarce. Over the years, this commitment has yielded exponential growth. Internally, we express our sincere gratitude to MTN and all our valued partners who have played an instrumental role in making this endeavor possible.”

Alex Rumanyika, Head of Strategy at NSSF, mentioned, “The Fund, through the Hi-Innovator Programme, has joined MTN Uganda for their Advancing Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) project aimed at empowering and supporting enterprising women in starting, growing, and sustaining their businesses. This initiative aligns with the Fund’s effort to support early-stage Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs) with patient capital, technical assistance, and linkages to markets and affordable financing to make them competitive and investment-ready through Hi-Innovator.”

Arthur Mukembo, Lead FutureLab Studio, said, “At Innovation Village, we foster an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs to adopt tech and tech-enabled solutions to enable them to solidify their business value proposition, validate an investable market, and move beyond early adopters to accelerate the growth of their enterprise. We seek ways to double down to leverage technology to create more opportunities for women businesses to benefit from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.”

Stephen Asiimwe, Chief Executive Officer of Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), commended Sylvia and her team for their visionary initiative. He stated, “This is not just a simple beginning; it’s the inception of a movement, a catalyst for change that is gaining momentum with every passing moment. As we take these first steps, let us all remember that revolutions are built on the passion, resilience, and commitment of individuals who dare to dream and act. Together, we can turn the tides and create a brighter future for all.”

Dorothy Kabgambe Ssemanda, Chief Executive Officer of ATC Uganda, explained, “Currently, more than 90% of our annual high spend on engineering projects is executed by suppliers which are not women-owned or operated. This is a narrative we are here to change, a shift we are dedicated to leading. We have taken a solid step in this direction by ring-fencing a proportion of contracts exclusively for AWE candidates. We acknowledge the high working capital requirements, and we are here to navigate these waters together. To ensure the success and growth of AWE candidates, ATC will offer robust technical training and field assistance, covering a broad spectrum from onboarding to customized training tailored for unique challenges. Our support does not end post-award. We will continue to provide field-based assistance, monitor progress, and award additional work based on improvements and performance.”

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About MTN Uganda

MTN Uganda is a leading telecoms company in Uganda with a primary objective of carrying on the business of a national operator of a telecommunications network pursuant to the National Telecommunications Operator (NTO) licence granted by the Uganda Telecommunications Commission (UCC). Among our offerings are network services, digital and financial technology services, interconnect and roaming, sale of mobile devices, and MTN Mobile Money (conducted through subsidiary MTN Mobile Money Uganda Limited). MTN has a presence in all 134 districts of Uganda. Services are delivered through a network of over 164,000 MoMo agents, 268,0000 MoMo merchants, 200 service stores and 13 main distributors. For the period ended 31 March 2023, MTN Uganda had 17.8 million subscribers, 11 million MoMo users, and 6.7 million active data users. Visit us at or follow us on and for assistance.

About the MTN Group

Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a leading emerging market operator with a clear vision to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world to our 240 million customers in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. We are inspired by our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern, connected life. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code “MTN.” We are pursuing our Ambition 2021 strategy, focusing on growth in data, fintech, and digital businesses.

For more information, please contact:

MTN Uganda Press Office:

Rhona Arinaitwe: or 0772 123 067

Prisca Baike:  or 0782 654 083

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