The National ICT Innovation Hub-Nakawa bustled with intense activity from Wednesday, November 22nd, to Friday, November 24th, 2023.
The highly anticipated Uganda Innovation Week 2023, organized by Startup Uganda in collaboration with numerous partners, gathered thousands of young entrepreneurs within Uganda’s entrepreneurial networks.
This grand event revolved around the theme “Adapt or Be Left Behind: Opportunities for the Ugandan Entrepreneur in the Digital Economy.”
With a multitude of young innovators, funders, and stakeholders, the event brimmed with masterclass panel discussions featuring experts from the Ministry of Trade, Industries and Cooperatives (MTIC), Ministry of ICT & National Guidance, young entrepreneurs, and development partners such as Housing Finance Bank, NSSF, UNDP, Uganda Development Bank, among many others.
The event delved into crucial issues confronting entrepreneurs in the digital ecosystem, addressing topics like how entrepreneurs can position themselves for available opportunities.
It also encompassed fostering beneficial partnerships between the public and private sectors, leveraging the digital economy, and identifying sectors where development partners are directing resources to bolster economic growth.
Richard Zulu, the indomitable leader at Startup Uganda, expressed profound concern about Uganda’s limited number of venture capitalists despite being among the top destinations for venture capital investments in Africa. “As a country, we still have work to do to attract venture capital deals,” remarked Zulu during his speech.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, Ms. Aminah Zawedde, pledged the government’s commitment under the Ministry to alleviate the significant challenges faced by entrepreneurs and startups by creating a conducive environment for them.
“As a government, we aim to reduce the prices of digital enhancement tools like laptops and smartphones, as well as the cost of internet access. However, while the government supports you, it’s essential that your products maintain high quality and can compete globally. A strong partnership is built on trust, so if the government has put faith in purchasing your products, please ensure not to disappoint us. That’s why events like this exist—to showcase and acquire new skills,” stressed Zawedde, emphasizing the government’s dedication to the innovation sector.
She urged innovators to develop products of international standards. Her statements highlighted the government’s commitment to fostering an environment where innovation and the digital economy take precedence, igniting Uganda’s economic transformation.
Moreover, the Ministry of Trade, Industries, and Cooperatives, in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), will launch the Entrepreneurship Support and Startup Ecosystem Strengthening Advisory Project in February 2024.
This project’s aim is to fortify the ecosystem to drive startup growth, attracting various public and private development partners who will support Uganda’s innovation sector.
Day 3: Uganda Innovation Week | Adapt or be left behind https://t.co/IZ2kVfPEwK
— Uganda Innovation Week (@uiw_official) November 24, 2023
The event concluded by awarding winners of the Uganda Innovation Week from different universities, where students showcased their projects during the pitching event organized by StartHub and Housing Finance Bank. Four winners received checks of three million and one million Uganda shillings to materialize their ideas.