Ritah Mbabazi: Empowering Communities Through Innovative Entrepreneurship
By Brenda Odhiambo
Ritah Mbabazi is a Mastercard Foundation Scholar at USIU-Africa and is in her third year of pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Finance. Beyond her academic pursuits, Ritah is also a treasurer for the Student Association Cabinet, an ambassador for the Mastercard Foundation Baobab platform, and an ambassador for the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship. As the Founder of Mbabazi Cassava Crisps, Ritah is also a visionary entrepreneur looking to make a difference in the community.
At the heart of Ritah's entrepreneurial vision is a mission to transform cassava, the second major staple food in Uganda, her home country, into crisps. The abundance of cassava production in the country led her toward finding a solution that not only addresses food wastage but also empowers women in her community. Her venture involves purchasing cassava from local women, providing them with the skills to make crisps, thereby creating economic opportunities and reducing food wastage.
Ritah's journey toward becoming a Fellowship finalist was one of resilience and dedication.
“Balancing the demands of the Fellowship with my academic responsibilities required determination and sacrifice. While many participants dropped out during the first phase, I remained persistent, driven by the belief in the potential impact of my idea,” she says.
Ritah believes that her entrepreneurial endeavour could be a catalyst for positive change. She sees her business employing over 100 people from her community and beyond. Beyond job creation, she aims to contribute to the reduction of cassava wastage in Uganda and empower women by imparting valuable skills in the production of cassava crisps.
Ritah has some words of advice for those aspiring to apply for the Fellowship:
“Seize the opportunity and apply [for] the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship. The Fellowship will give you access to invaluable coaching, resources, and an opportunity to network with other aspiring entrepreneurs. You must be determined, goal-oriented and ambitious to be able to navigate the Fellowship successfully,” she shares.
Ritah envisions herself becoming an inspiration to the girlchild in her community, creating employment opportunities for numerous individuals in Uganda, and expanding her business to other regions with additional funding from various organizations. Her participation in the Fellowship has equipped her with essential business and entrepreneurship skills, particularly in pitching her ideas convincingly to potential funding organizations. She hopes to use these skills to create positive change in the community through innovative entrepreneurship.
About the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship
The Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship is an 8- month program designed to cultivate exceptional entrepreneurial skillsets and mindsets. It empowers emerging leaders to drive both social and financial impact through their ventures. The Fellowship is committed to nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit in African students and recent graduates, fostering innovation, and creating a positive change in the world. Applications for the Fellowship are ongoing, and can be accessed here.
The application deadline for the 2024 program year is Monday, December 4, 2023.