Role Played By Innovation Hubs In The Growth Of Technology And Ugandan Startups

By  Joanitah Asiimire and Lyn Tukei

The government of Uganda has named developing Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) among its priority interventions to achieve national development. In an effort to grow local technologies that meet the needs of Ugandans, innovation hubs have been established and facilitated as a key ingredient in the country’s search for technology prowess.

A report by GREAT Insights Magazine, (2016) listed Uganda as the 8th as far as Africa’s growing tech hubs and smart cities are concerned. Lyn Tukei and Joanitah Asiimire  explore below the progress of technology hubs in Uganda and their role in the TECH ECO-SYSTEM of the country.

In  a 2017 GSMA report, there are 16 innovation hubs in Uganda and 442 in Africa. These are mainly located in Uganda’s capital, Kampala.

 

These innovation hubs provide affordable collaborative work spaces and act as an incubation hub for innovators, leverage a series of hackathons,   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.

These hubs were founded in different years as shown in a graph below;

Innovation hubs also known as incubation hubs have played a critical role in harboring innovations that start off as an idea and grow into a practical solution. We looked at how some of the “TOP HUBS” in Uganda have contributed to the boost of technology through the innovations that they have incubated;

Here Is Why And How Outbox Was Started;

Here Is Why And How The Innovation Village Was Started;

Hive Colab, the first innovation hub in Uganda is in existence because of the diverse funding from partnerships. Listen to what Hive Colab is up to as Joy Mbabazi, the communication officer narrates;

Numerous innovations have evolved from the support and assistance given by  innovation hubs among which include; Bakulu and Sukuma Online by Hive colab,  Pimaa and  Up Accelerate by Outbox,  Sellio, & Kola Studios by Innovation Village 

Founded in 2014,  Safe boda  strives to give riders and passengers the safest travel experience on a motorbike in and around Kampala. Safe Boda was incubated by Outbox when it was still an idea.

Safe Boda’s Co-founder and director Ricky Rapa Thomson narrates the story behind this successful start-up below;

Safe Boda is popular today and has been widely received by the locals. Here is how it works;

Not only is Safe Boda solving a transport problem but it has also given  boda boda riders a life, it has made them professional. We managed to capture a Safe Boda rider’s experience and love for his his job below;

Xente.tech is another innovation startup at the Innovation Village. It is an e-commerce and digital wallet application with many ways to pay up for anything.

The innovation has a number of users, with over 5000 customers. A user explains why he uses the Xente app and it’s benefits below;

READ below what problems Ensibuuko from Outbox and Vouch Digital from Innovation Village are solving in the power point presentation

2ambale is an online clothing store in Uganda that was incubated by Hive Colab. Stephen Mutungi the CEO of 2ambale explains more about 2ambale here;

A 2ambale customer explains how it has worked out for him;

Toogood.ug is another innovation from Hive Colab. It helps  one buy services in Uganda at an 80% discount price. Alex Senoga, it’s  founder highlights more about Toogood.com in an audio below;

Here is a customer story of how Toogood.ug works

Benefits Derived From Operating An Incubation/Innovation Hub

Outbox;

Innovation Village;

There are also a number of partnerships and sponsorships that have continuously  helped out the innovation hubs in Uganda as shown below;

All has not been smooth for the Innovation hubs, they too face a number of challenges as shared in the audios below;

Outbox;

Innovation Village;

Hive Colab;

FUTURE PROSPECTS & THE WAY FORWARD

What does the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance have to say?

The government of Uganda through the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance has played a key role in supporting innovation hubs and startups.

The Ministry also works with an agency: National Information technology Authority, Uganda NITA (U) alongside the National ICT Initiatives Support Programme, NIISP.

READ the presentation below to learn more about the Minstry of ICT and National Guidance’s works;

https://prezi.com/view/HVA1I9jSFACAJ2FFF9np/

We can still say that there’s still so much in store for the hubs, startups, and technology growth in general from what the hub administrators have in plan for the future of these innovation hubs below;

Outbox;

Hive Colab;

Innovation Village;

Ugandans can only hope technology hubs improve and play a bigger role in producing and nurturing developers of technologies that can spur the country’s development.

 

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