Tuesday April 23 2013

Reaping IT and enterprise rewards

Ssebunya listens to a colleague at the camp in India recently.

Ssebunya listens to a colleague at the camp in India recently. COURTESY PHOTO. 

By FREDRIC MUSISI

Every passing day, Uganda’s entrepreneurship abilities continue to shine beyond its boundaries, indicating that the future can only be better.

More Ugandans are not only testing their entrepreneurial abilities but continue to excel in foreign countries.
Last year, a new business empowerment initiative; IndiaAfrica: A Shared Future was established as a pet projects that seeks to engage the youth in India and Africa through contests, fellowships, collaborative projects, internships, events and cultural exchanges.

The initiative, which is a brain child of the IdeaWorks Design and Strategy Pvt Limited, is a channel through which the youth can help in the development of India and Africa.
Thus among its inaugural 2013 young visionaries from India and Africa was a Ugandan; John Mark Ssebunnya (29 years) of HiPipo.com team.

The journey to winning the IndiaAfrica Young Visionary Fellowship started in 2012, when Ssebunnya and HiPipo.com participated in the IndiaAfrica Business Venture Contest.
The contest attracted participates from across India and Africa.

“In June 2012, the HiPipo.com team submitted a business plan for MyEMDoctor, our digital healthcare content and services project to the IndiaAfrica Business Venture contest. Of all the entries from Africa and India, ours went through the vetting systems appearing among the top nine selected entries,” Ssebunnya explains the journey to the top
“It was after this success in Nigeria, that I gathered more confidence, which forced me to apply for the Young Visionary Fellowship, for which each shortlisted winner grant of $10,000.”

The Young Visionaries Fellowship had an extensive vetting process, which included a stage for proposing a collaborative project between India and Africa,” Ssebunnya explains.
The fellowship grant of $10,000 for every winner involves a two-week business boot camp in India that equips participants with management skills in order to further their business growth.

Ssebunya’s success did not come on a silver plate. The computer science engineer and consultant in information systems, web, mobile and information security, has for the past five years been actively involved in digital content creation and growth.
Together with Innocent Kawooya, they founded HiPipo (U) Limited (www.HiPipo.com), one of the leading digital media websites in East Africa, which creates, distributes and promotes Uganda’s online content.

Apart from facilitating me at the boot camp and training, I have reinvested part of the grant into HiPipo.com in order to give it more momentum.

The continued ICT growth in Africa and Uganda in particular, presents a number of opportunities that need to boost growth in both local and international online content.
“I and my team strongly believe that Africa’s ICT millionaires are likely to be those engaged in the creation of local digital content creation.”

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Making Strides

  • Launch pad. Ssebunya has used HiPipo.com as a launch pad, submitting the MyEMDoctor business plan in 2012 for the IndiaAfrica Business Venture contest.
  • Building online content. HiPipo (U) Limited (HiPipo.com) is a private limited company based in Uganda owned by a team of young entrepreneurs. The company focuses on the creative and cultural industries mainly using internet applications to distribute and promote Uganda’s online content.
  • Product varieties. Ssebunya in collaboration with a group of young entrepreneurs manages HiPipo (U) Limited.
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