Startup Uganda on Friday, 22nd 2021 organized the 2021 edition of the Startup Innovation Challenge at Design hub Kampala that brought together a total of 9 different startups spread across 3 main sectors to pitch for a chance to pilot their ideas in the next 6 months for a proper market fit.
This first challenge was launched in August 2020 in partnership with UNCDF Uganda and saw the nine teams selected teams underwent an accelerator program with respective partner hubs across Kampala.
The issues under the challenge included:
- Financial Health for MSMEs with Financial Sector Deepening Uganda (FSDU) as an anchor partner. Startups that competed in this category were Kanzu Code, Pata Sente, and Chap Chap.
- Leveraging Last Mile Distribution Networks with Mobipay and Ensibuuko as anchor partners. Agricycle, Famunera, and Cabral Tech were the Startups in this domain.
- Digital Literacy with Danish Refugee Council as an anchor partner. Startups that competed in this category were Digital Woman, ZOORA, and Backspace Ivy.
Winners from each category will get a chance to move to the last stage of the innovation challenge where they will work with each anchor partner for six months to pilot their businesses in the various areas to find a perfect market fit for their various products and services.
As an added bonus to moving to the last stage, all startups that won in each category were awarded prize money of $20,000 from UNCDF.
A Brief Bio About the Startups that Won
- Patasente were the winners from the category of Financial Health for MSMEs.
Pata Sente is a fintech startup that specializes in helping customers buy goods on credit and pay later through a web or mobile application interface. The startup allows businesses to pay suppliers in cash as they wait for a payment from their customers who may delay paying them due to bureaucracy.
They will be working with anchor partner FSDU to test out their idea and product to gain traction and find a market fit.
2. Backspace Ivy took the digital literacy track and will be taking their solution to the pilot phase with support from the anchor partners and Startup Uganda.
The product was a simple shared learning device to improve digital literacy for refugee camps and hard-to-reach remote villages where internet connectivity is low.
Backspace Ivy designed an internet-free video viewing solution. The device can be used for training which can go for up to 1 hour.
3. The last winner from the category of last-mile distribution networks was Famunera.
Famunera is a virtual marketplace that allows farmers to buy high-quality farm inputs and have them delivered to their doorstep or farm location across Uganda. The startup uses an eCommerce website, call center, and mobile USSD code *284# options from which customers can access and buy genuine farm inputs.
Startups that didn’t win from each group will also get a chance to work with the anchor partners attached in each category to fine-tune their ideas for a period of time to make it a successful innovation.
Startup Uganda believes that just because a Startup didn’t end up bagging the prize money or winning in it’s category it shouldn’t be left to hustle around or look for another innovation challenge to compete in. Instead they have designed special packages like a free field trainings from the anchor partners to see that the various startups at least throw a paint on the wall to see what sticks around or not.