BY AMBROSE GAHENE
Kampala Innovation week, slated to take place from November 22-26 will be dedicated to digital transformation, job creation, and economic sustainability in light of innovation. This was revealed by the vice-chairperson of startup Uganda, Jean Kukunda, during the launch of Kampala Innovation week (KIW) on Tuesday.
The startup Uganda, with its partners have come up with an initiative where young innovators will be given an opportunity to pitch and showcase their potential to investors to acquire capital to stimulate their enterprises.
The event will be hosted as a hybrid (primarily virtual) under the theme, “Harnessing the power of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Uganda’s digital transformation and job creation”.
The innovation week will bring together innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, government stakeholders, and development partners to discuss wins, misses, and opportunities for growth in the innovation space.
“It is a crucial time for the innovation space in Uganda. Our responses to the effects of the pandemic especially within the sectors of agriculture, education, and health are going to be great determinants of the economic trajectory in years to come.
Making sure that spaces like Kampala innovation week are kept alive is a critical part of this development,” she said.
Kukunda officially opened nominations for Star up Uganda Awards 2021 that will recognize trailblazing tech innovations that have created solutions for Ugandan challenges. The categories for nomination include; education, agriculture, health, technology, and communication.
She said that the winners will be given a cash prize and the nomination will close at the end of October. Nominees will be unveiled during the innovation week.
The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) digital lead in Uganda, Chris Lukolyo said that the country has witnessed a growth in the innovation culture.
Startup Uganda is an association of innovation and entrepreneurship support organizations working towards strengthening the startup support ecosystem and sector.
Interested participants will have their focus on the role of innovators and entrepreneurs in achieving Uganda’s development ambitions, expound on how innovation and entrepreneurship can be harnessed for job creation-
Richard Ndahiro, the Inclusive Digital economy expert from UNCDF also noted that in order to bridge the huge gap regarding access to digital in Uganda, such innovations challenges must take place.
“We need to tell the story of Uganda’s innovation journey and I believe this is part of the Kampala Innovation Week.
“According to a recent report, 93 percent of the people that are not connected come from developing countries and Uganda is inclusive, so there is a huge desire of being able to connect to other communities and we can do this by going digital through innovation.”
Mr. Ndahiro added, “And because of hardship, this is why innovators are called upon to develop relevant solutions that are accessible by the majority with their means. This is also to get innovators who understand the local challenges and also to join them to the local markets since innovation is a key pillar. There is an urgent need for digital transformation in our country.”
Bart Cornille, a Digital for Development Expert said, “Uganda has a unique digital ecosystem in Africa that is why different partners are coming in Africa especially in Uganda and I think many people need to learn about this unique system that is why we need to participate in this innovation week.”
Opolot L’akwang, the Programs Officer Kas Uganda, also a new partner onboard welcomed the week and said innovation is a source of long-term global economic growth and improvement in the quality of life.
“We must actively promote innovation and be open to change. The Kampala Innovation Week 2021 is an opportunity and platform to re-imagine the digital future of Uganda and its role in a globalized world. We are looking to nurture these brilliant and groundbreaking ideas,” he said.
Meanwhile, participants will be showcasing their digital innovations and they will be nominated under various categories which include Start-up of the year in; Education, Agriculture, Health, Technology, Communication, and many others.