Selection Uganda

ICCO Cooperation

ICCO Cooperation is a decentralized development organization with its regional Central, Eastern and Southern Africa office in Kampala and a supportive global office in Utrecht. ICCO focuses on four areas: Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship, Inclusive Finance, New Technologies and Climate Resilient Agro-Food Systems. The organization gives special attention to women, youth and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Truvalu, ICCO Terrafina and Fair & Sustainable are part of the ICCO Group.  

The Problem

The unemployment rate in Kampala is 21%, the majority being youth. Unemployment of young women is twice the level of unemployment of young men. The employed population is mainly self-employed (76%), rather out of necessity than opportunity. Only 21% have a salaried job. Underemployment in terms of skills, time engagement or wage is widespread (Uganda Scoping Report).

Decent work opportunities
Labour market supply and demand factors are two main barriers that hamper Ugandan youth to access decent work opportunities. This is no different in the catering sector on which this project focuses. The main supply-side barriers are the educational and skills mismatch and lack of social capital. The Ugandan school system is still geared toward public sector employment, although job opportunities are limited there. Private sector employment and entrepreneurship receive less attention. Government and private institutions offer courses in catering and hospitality, but their curriculums fail to foster sufficiently the technical and soft skills required in the catering and hospitality sector. Most of the graduates lack soft skills including problem-solving, communication, critical thinking, creativity, interpersonal, and entrepreneurial skills. Additionally, disadvantaged youth often cannot afford the school fees. 

The demand-side barriers to youth employment and work opportunities include the negative perception of youth by employers. Restaurant and hotel managers in Uganda are generally sceptical about hiring young people due to a perceived lack of expertise and professional and personal maturity. At the same time, they are reluctant to invest in training young people when they could hire more experienced older workers. Also, training is perceived to lead to higher salary demands and staff leaving to the competition instead of leading to increased quantity and quality of business, especially in the informal and SME sector. This hinders their ability to get entry-level jobs and build skills and experience.

The Solution

Create decent employment and entrepreneurship in modern food catering for 890 youth in Kampala, Uganda.

Reduces the gap

Emmere (‘food’ in Luganda) reduces the gap between private demand for skilled labor and particular groups of youth.

These groups of youth are low-skilled, self-employed youth in ‘survival enterprises’, or fresh from school, or low-skilled youth employed in indecent jobs in and around Kampala. 50% will be women. Responsible, customer-oriented staff with concrete technical skills, autonomously working in facilities of the private companies are essential for the companies’ business success.

Capital Kitchen and Pink Cloud

The project will enhance and create 890 youth jobs in 36 months. These will consist of 490 cooks, 100 youth entrepreneurs, and 300 motorbike food delivery drivers.

The cooks will be working in the kitchen facilities of Capital Kitchen and Pink Cloud and the youth entrepreneurs will be self-employed in the catering sector with or without support in the promotion and sale of their products on the Pink Cloud online ordering platforms.

About 82% of the employment opportunities are new; the other 18% will be improved, and 40 jobs will be created for PWD (30 female). 

The youth will obtain skills from which they can benefit inside or outside the companies. They benefit directly from the win-win situation by partnering with the companies or within the network. They will have a reasonable negotiation position vis a vis the companies because of their newly acquired skills and increased employability.

The two companies will scale up and create more jobs by project end with the help of well-trained ‘Emmere’ youth who can train and coach other youth, and the trainers who will remain with the companies. Moreover, the young entrepreneurs will be supported to set up and grow their businesses and employ other youth by project end.

The business advantages for companies of the Emmere training school will be socialized with the wider catering sector through attractive social events like cooking competitions and graduation ceremonies. Together with the sector, a sustainable model and business plan for the future of the school will be developed.


Emmere aims to create and improve jobs for 890 youth (18-35 years, >50% women,  40 PWD) in the modern catering sector in Kampala by pairing low-skilled youth to the concrete demand for skilled labour by two private sector actors. The two companies expressed the need for additional training and coaching to successfully incorporate disadvantaged youth in their businesses and in the private sector at large. Based on the project’s in-company success with youth training, Emmere will involve the wider catering sector to develop a sustainable model for a sector-wide training institute.

Capital Kitchen
Capital Kitchen runs a gastronomy training for youth who are either absorbed at Capital Kitchen and in its network of restaurants or supported to start their own business. It currently employs 70 youth (40 women, 30 men) and plans to open four outlets in 2020 and 2021  that will provide jobs to 100 more youth.

Pink Cloud
Pink Cloud is a delivery-only restaurant for 20 restaurants in Kampala, for which the orders pass via their website and app. Orders are home-delivered by Pink Tie. The company plans to expand with seven fully equipped kitchen facilities by the end of 2021. The 40 employees currently employed by Pink Cloud are all women.

Pink Tie
Pink Tie is a leading logistics provider in Kampala (est. 2016) enabling restaurants to increase brand awareness, interact with customers, and manage deliveries more efficiently and effectively. Pink Tie employs over 51 people, of which 94 percent youth (all men).