BY AMBROSE GAHENE
Garage48 and Estonia Centre for International Development in partnership with The Innovation Village on Wednesday organized a two-day workshop themed: “Empowering the Start-up Community (ESC) to discuss ways in which ecosystem builders can be revitalized to support innovators and entrepreneurs’ needs within East Africa.
Empowering Start-up Community workshop is part of the European Union (EU): Africa Journey program aimed at boosting the local start-up ecosystem and strengthening networking and collaboration ties between the start-up hubs and entrepreneurial support organizations locally and in neighbouring countries. Speaking at the event in Kampala, Arthur Mukembo, the Lead FutureLab Studio at Innovation Village noted the start-up ecosystem needs collaboration to scale.
He said: “The ESC workshop will provide our local entrepreneurs with the platform to network with their counterparts in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda, understand their strength, leverage on the available opportunities and strengthen our collaboration with key players in the East Africa Entrepreneurial Support Organizations.”
He said the growth challenges mapped out by entrepreneurs at the early and later stage during the workshop, is intended to develop a Best Practice Manual on tackling these issues and a resource guide on the opportunities, funding and investment sources and give recommendations on how to support them during these impending moments.
“We want to see how you can enable Ugandan startups to expand into each of your markets as well. Ultimately, we are stronger together and have a great opportunity in the East African Community, Africa Continental Free Trade Area” Mukembo emphasized.
Mukembo concluded that; The Innovation Village, through FutureLab continues to partner with Enterprise and Entrepreneur Support Organizations with the purpose to connect innovators and tech-enabled start-ups to available opportunities, tools and capital needed to solidify their business to be profitable, attract investment and move beyond early-stage adopters.
Joao Rei, Host and Mentor at Garage 48 said: “By engaging more start-up communities across Africa, we will be able to create cross-border connections and form a team of think tanks who understand Africa’s start-up most pressing challenges and using their experience, we can create solutions with utmost impact to the ecosystem”
Rei added: “Today, we are discussing startups, the problems they face in the East African region, and how we as a community of supporters of the ecosystem can help them. Building a startup starts with the idea and I have realized that within the African context, and sometimes we do not want to tell people about the idea. As an ecosystem, we must find a way of helping the startups to loosen up regarding this. This rigidity doesn’t help our ecosystem.”