When you think about tech startups and entrepreneurship, what comes to mind? For the vast majority of people, the answer is the Silicon Valley area that’s become known worldwide as a hotbed for innovation and high-value companies.
Starting a tech business in such an ambiance with established business infrastructure, a talented resource pool, and a flourishing marketplace provides a clear head start compared to other locations.
That said, Ugandans aren’t sitting back. They are equally applying themselves by coming up with ideas and solutions that better and uplift in the technological, energy, finance, scientific, social, and economic and health spaces. Entities like the Innovation Hub, Outbox, and Design Hub are engineering fresh and robust start-ups and going ahead to attract seed capital for R&D and staff recruitment.
These innovation hubs(startups) provide affordable collaborative workspaces and act as an incubation hub for innovators, implement boot camps for individuals and entrepreneurs with limited or no experience, develop technology solutions that enable organizations to accelerate social impact, hold technology talks and events, and collaborate with one another, among others.
It is no wonder Uganda continuous to grow with leaps and bounds as a hub for entrepreneurship especially in light of the mushroom start-ups harbored across the Innovation Village, Outbox, and Design Hub.
The government through the ministry of ICT has so far identified startups that will receive seed capital that will transform their ideas into marketable solutions. In addition to providing funding, ICT Minister Hon Frank Tumwebaze said that the government will be the first client when the 12 products come onto the market.
“I have both been convinced that your solutions can provide can solve problems and indeed sustain themselves in the market. I can now proudly report to the whole country that Ugandans have solutions of their own on the domestic market. If we can take these to the regional and international markets then we shall have fully liberated our country from being a net importer of IT solutions as well other industry-based functionalities,” Hon Tumwebaze elaborated.
The seed funding is under the national ICT initiatives support program (NIISP) and part of the Sh13billion meant for the ICT hub in Nakawa. NIISP is mandated to construct ICT hubs that will offer work-spaces to young innovators in their primary stages and provide direct financial support to individual innovators and private hubs, that have solutions ready to go to market.
It takes time to build meaningful businesses and an even longer time to build meaningful businesses in markets that lack infrastructure—like where we operate. With patience, businesses in these markets have an opportunity not only to make money but also to do so while creating social and environmental value on a very large scale.