Saturday October 14 2017

Entrepreneurs need funding to explore various possibilities

The iDrain is a low cost innovation that drains

The iDrain is a low cost innovation that drains excess fluid out of the lungs. Photo by Edgar R. Batte 

By Edgar R. Batte

The demands of the current job market have pushed a number of young people into innovations
Majority have not been successful yet those who have, have flown the entrepreneurship flag so high at events such as Up Accelerate Programme that was conducted last Friday in Kampala. Such events have rightly been good avenues for young Ugandans through which they showcase innovations that have the potential to change the world.
DigiHealth is one such incuba-tion hubs where a number of innovations such as a low-cost chest drainage system to remove excess fluid accumulations in the lungs called iDrain and a mobile and web solution to support collection and real-time data analy-sis during health outreaches, have been created.
During the presentation the group exhibited its innovations private sector members, development partners, academia and young people.
Other innovations included the Mobile Scan Solutions (mscan), a low-cost mobile ultrasound device to support health workers diagnose the progress of pregnancy in low-resource settings and EcoSmart Pads, an environmentally sustainable, affordable sanitary pads for women and girls from low-income backgrounds.
William Lubega, a co-founder of the Medical Concierge Group and one of the judges at the event, highlighted the fact that such innovations act as examples to young Ugandans as well as “contributing to growth and coming up with new, more effective ways of doing things”.
The programme, according to Richard Zulu, a team leader at Outbox, provides young startups with the unique opportunity to tap into a diverse network of individuals and institutions across Uganda. Since 2016, the Up Accelerate programme has reached more than one million young Ugandans through online and offline platforms and supported seven teams, 26 entrepreneurs to develop their ideas in the area of sexual and reproductive health into market-ready products.
The programme is supported by United Nations Population Fund in partnership with Outbox, a local business incubator.
Extra support is received from the UK Aid for International Development and endorsed by the Ministry of Information, Communications Technology.
Through the programme young innovators are provided with seed funding, business training, mentorship and technical guidance to turn their innovations and ideas into reality.
The event provided the young entrepreneurs with the opportunity to rise follow-on funding and explore new partnerships that can enable their products access the market.

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Up Accelerate is a one-year initiative implemented by Outbox in partnership with UNFPA and funding from UKAID. It seeks to support young entrepreneurs between 18 and 30 years that are tackling challenges in sexual and reproductive health in Uganda by providing them with mentorship, seed funding of up-to $10,000 per team, business training and technical guidance.
The Up Accelerate initiative has been developed with support from the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, aligns with national priorities, and contributes to Vision 2040.
In the first call for applications, 62 submissions were received from teams of young innovators across the country. Out of those, Outbox short-listed 22 for public voting and evaluation by an expert panel of judges.
In the second call for applications, 51 submissions.

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