By Najib Mulema
Uganda is brimming with a rising new generation of bold, creative, thinking innovators and entrepreneurs, who are inventing and developing new technologies that are solving challenges, simplifying lifestyles and transforming communities.
And this would have not been possible if innovators lacked platforms such as the Kampala Innovation Village to scale up their ideas.
The Innovation Village is an incubation hub that attracts ideas that are scalable and disruptive.
The destination of start-up businesses is based in Ntinda, a city suburb in Nakawa Division and it has been in existence since 2015.
Geogette Ndabukiye, the hub’s sales and marketing officer says they deliberately grow innovation by putting in place a platform where people come up with great ideas that challenge assumption, ignite thoughts and question the status quo.
“At Innovation Village we deliberately grow innovation by putting in place a platform for people to come up with great ideas that challenge assumption, ignite thoughts and question the status quo,” said Ms. Ndabukiye, adding, “Through entrepreneurship and innovation, we seek to assume major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities,”
Ms.Ndabukiye revealed that the hub has five labs that focus on specific innovations that influence several sectors.
The labs include; Health Lab, Agribusiness Lab, Fintech Lab, Media Lab and Edtech lab.
On the issue of developers coming out with ideas but without a business acumen, Ms. Ndabukiye disclosed that they offer training sessions to developers through hosting experienced people who engage them on how best they can groom their innovations into business.
“We usually organize over three training sessions in a week to engage innovators on how they can transform their ideas into business,” she said.
Through their SOLVE Department, Ms. Ndabukiye says recently they managed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U) which will develop a talent pool of local software developers that government will tap into to facilitate development of solutions and hence creating jobs for majority youth in the country.
So far Innovation Village works with over 30 companies to create ideas that could be accelerated into prototypes.
Apparently, a team of young innovators at the Village are in a process of launching a start-up known as ‘Patiye’ a localized crowd funding platform that lets users easily create fundraising campaigns and using mobile money for payments.