Wednesday September 16 2015

Ugandan entrepreneurs eye Shs2b for growth

Twelve contestants will have a shot at representing Kenya at the Seedstars World start-up challenge in Geneva on February, 2016.

Start-up contestants pose with Seedstars World and Stanbic Bank Uganda officials after being announced winners of the challenge. Twelve contestants will have a shot at representing Kenya at the Seedstars World start-up challenge in Geneva on February, 2016. PHOTO | COURTESY | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ISMAIL MUSA LADU

Kampala. An online logistic company run by four young Ugandans, has a chance to walk away with about Shs2 billion after shrugging off competition from 11 other companies, all vying to represent the country at the grand pitching finale to be held in Geneva, Switzerland early next year.
The online shipping company, Intership Uganda, was founded by Bony Iga, Maxima Nsimenta, Nielsimms Sangho and Jeff Muze, all under 30 and professionals in their areas of specialisation.

“We get your order for anything in Europe or elsewhere and we will deliver it to you within a week. We will take all the trouble on your behalf but make sure you get your exact order in good time,” said Mr Iga, who is also in charge of the South Sudan operations, said in an interview in Kampala after they were declared the winners of the Seedstars start-up competition.
He continued: “Africa is behind in terms of this service. We came together and raised about $2,000 (about Shs7m) each and ventured into this business about seven months ago with the view to close that gap.”

Middlemen for SMEs
In another interview, Mr Sangho, the co-founder and chief executive officer, said: “There have been gaps in meeting the needs of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and individuals who need to ship goods into the country.
He added: “It is on that basis that we developed a solution that will enable us act as a middleman for SMEs and individuals who want anything abroad.”
The company currently has warehouses in UK and US.
On the opportunity to compete in Geneva, Mr Sangho said their company was elated to have the opportunity to compete with some of the best minds in the world and will use the opportunity to pick new ideas to grow and improve his business. Currently the company is worth about Shs50m.

The good news, however, is that the prospects are looking good as they prepare to put their best foot forward to try to win the $500,000 (about Shs2b) at the Seedstar World competition for start-ups enterprises. Seedstars World is a global seed-stage start-up competition for emerging markets and fast-growing start-ups.
“Eleven start-ups were invited to compete and the regional winner, Intership Ug, pitch, was selected the best start-up in Uganda. Intership Ug will be going to Switzerland in February 2016 for the final pitching round, potentially winning the $500,000 equity investment,” read a statement issued over the weekend by the local organisers here.
In the second position was Wizarts Media whose idea was around making it easy for the numerous radios around the country to get news, and Safe Boda, came up third after pitching an app that helps users pick safe bodaboda riders.

Other competitors and their ideas

Exact and Clear. Pitched an innovative software product which can produce voice output after scanning printed text on objects like papers.
Yoza. Pitched a location based laundry service app that connects people who offer laundry services with people looking to do their dirty laundry.
Commonsense app. An app that challenges the user by asking common sense questions and awarding points for correct answers.

The points can be used to win tangible rewards.
SafeBoda. Provides a safe, secure and convenient motorcycle taxi experience in Africa.
Yaakaa Digital Network. A new media platform (social network) for students and trainers in university, tertiary institutions, high schools and more.
Roundbob. Intends to increase travel by Africans through increasing content availability and supporting this by negating the cost challenge.
Krobits. Trendingshow is a mobile platform for individuals to directly connect to their TV shows by providing programme lineups of local TV stations.

Health Portal Uganda. HPU offers specialists and practices the ability to fill their open appointment slots, increasing utilisation and revenue.
Wizarts Media. PMLive.Today is an online portal that provides radio stations across Uganda especially those in rural parts with adaily news digest.
Tikiti App. An app that brings the convenience of finding, booking and paying for tickets and services on everyone’s smartphone.

iladu@ug.nationmedia.com

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