Equity Bank Uganda has launched the Equity Leaders Program (ELP) by admitting its first cohort of 123 top performing scholars from the 43 Districts where the Bank has a branch presence.
The launch of the Equity Leaders Program, a mentorship and leadership development program, plays a significant role in extending Equity Bank Uganda’s social impact contribution through the scaling up of various programs that are already under implementation through Equity Group Foundation (EGF), the Group’s social impact engine.
The scholars, selected based on the 2021 Senior 6 Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) results released by the Uganda National Examination Board, have concluded a one-week induction process and will proceed to join Equity Bank for a 3-6 months paid internship program where each scholar will get a monthly stipend and will experience on-the-job training and mentorship within various departments.
(TOP: Equity Bank Uganda Head of HR Juliet Muheirwe; Equity Bank Uganda MD Samuel Kirubi; Ugandan Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development Betty Amongi; Equity Bank Uganda Executive Director of Operations Anthony Kituuka; Equity Group Foundation Senior Manager Education & Leadership Development Margaret Muhoro; and Equity Bank Uganda Executive Director for Public Sector & Social Investments Elizabeth Kasedde, alongside other guests take a picture with the first cohort of 123 Equity Leaders Program scholars from Uganda who shall be proceeding to join the Bank for a Paid Internship Program).
Speaking during the launch of the program, Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Betty Amongi said: “As Government, we are excited to see that a local corporate brand has ventured into empowering the youth by giving them an opportunity to experience the corporate world and rub shoulders with top-class executives who will not only positively influence them into leadership roles but who have also dedicated a significant amount of their time to train and guide them. This is a significant day for us as a country because it is a mirror reflection that our youth will play a primary role in inspiring a future leadership that is keen on excellence and also giving back to the community.”
The Equity Leaders Program has been designed uniquely and will also offer the scholars an opportunity to apply for admission and full financial aid at global universities through admission into the College Counselling Program. A program that runs for 3 months and is aimed at exposing them to the global universities’ admission process and how to adapt to a new education system. This will allow them to join other scholars in top institutions such as Harvard, Stanford and Yale among others across various continents in the world.
Also speaking at the launch, Equity Bank Uganda MD Samuel Kirubi said: “Standing here brings me great joy because many years ago in 1998, I was in the same position as our 123 scholars seated with us today. What started out as a simple mentorship and leadership program has contributed significantly to my success today and to who I am. Equity Bank is excited to continue impacting lives and livelihoods by empowering the top performing boy and girl from every District by giving them an opportunity to discover their potential.”
Kirubi further added: “These scholars will get exposure to the corporate world even before joining university to pursue their higher education and dream careers. By taking part in the Paid Internship Program, they get exposure at a young age and they will learn multiple life skills including personal branding and presentation, saving and investment and how to navigate the corporate world. The stipend they earn will also play a significant role in uplifting their economic status and that of their families and to us, this is why ELP is impactful.”
About 700 ELP scholars have been admitted to leading global universities such as MIT, Yale, Columbia among others and have secured employment and senior roles in top multinational and global companies including Vice President at Bain Capital, Director of Government Affairs at Astra Zeneca, Senior Consultant at Boston Consulting Group, Software Engineer at Bloomberg with a large number taking senior leadership positions within the region and the continent.
Commenting on the launch, Equity Group MD and CEO and Equity Group Foundation Executive Chairman Dr. James Mwangi said: “Equity Group has recognized the importance of investing in human capital. Through ELP, we have mentored close to 7,000 young scholars in Kenya and have nurtured them through paid internship work experience, coaching and mentorship while supporting their transition to the best local and global universities as we prepare them to enter the world of work.”
“With today’s launch, ELP now becomes operational in four of Equity Group’s subsidiaries including Kenya, Rwanda and DRC making it a regional program that will play an important role in integrating the East African region through the sharing of ideas and resources, building a network of young professionals and creating an alumni network of young and budding innovators who are likely to solve the region’s socio-economic challenges,” added Dr. Mwangi.
Equity Bank Uganda began its operations in 2008 and is regulated by Bank of Uganda. The Bank has its Head Office in Kampala and a network of 43 branches, 5,152 Equiduuka agents, 6,048 merchants and 48 ATMs spread across the country and serving over 1.2 million customers.
Equity Bank Uganda is a subsidiary of Equity Group Holdings, a financial services company listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange, Uganda Securities Exchange, and Rwanda Stock Exchange. In addition to Equity Bank Uganda, the Group has banking subsidiaries in, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, DRC, South Sudan and a Commercial Representative Office in Ethiopia; with additional non-banking subsidiaries engaged in the provision of investment banking, custodial, insurance agency, philanthropy, consulting, and infrastructure services.
Equity Group is the largest bank in the region with assets of $12 billion. It is also the largest bank in terms of deposits, with a market capitalisation of $2 billion and a customer base of over 15 million. The group has 337 branches, 56,772 agents, 32,269 merchants, 697 ATMs and has widely adopted digital banking channels.
The Equity Leaders Program was founded in 1998 and has scaled up over time to benefit 17,140 scholars in both Kenya and Uganda. The paid internship component of the Equity Leaders Program admits the top performing boy and girl in the secondary level final exams from each District in Uganda where Equity Bank has a branch. The program aims at empowering young academically gifted scholars by supporting their access to education in public universities in Kenya and around the globe, as well as equipping them with leadership skills.
The paid internship runs for the 3-6 months between secondary school completion and the beginning of university. In Kenya, 6,713 scholars have benefitted from internships at Equity Bank prior to joining local or global universities. Of these, 688 scholars have secured admissions and scholarships in top global universities.