FOUR YOUNG START-UP TEAMS WIN $10,000 EACH TO DEVELOP INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TO IMPROVE SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH IN UGANDA
Kampala; January 17, 2017 — The Up Accelerate programme selected today four (4) winning young start-up teams which will be supported to develop their promising ideas into transformative solutions to tackle persistent sexual and reproductive health bottlenecks in Uganda.
“We were impressed by the response and level of engagement of young people despite the complexity of the problem areas within which we wanted them to propose solutions. The amount of conversation, feedback and effort exhibited during the application period is testimony to the demand of programmes like Up Accelerate among the young people in Uganda,” said Richard Zulu, Outbox Team Lead.
Increasingly, entrepreneurship, self-employment, start-ups and other creative solutions are being recognized as avenues to address existing youth unemployment issues and to enable young Ugandans to participate in the social and economic growth of Uganda. According to the Ugandan Bureau of Statistics, over 26 million people in the country are below the age of 30 years; thus little can be achieved if the potential of young people is not harnessed.
Up Accelerate, a UK Aid-funded program launched last November, seeks to empower young micro-entrepreneurs to turn their business ideas into healthcare start-ups that address persistent sexual and reproductive health challenges. The initiative is implemented by Outbox in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and supported by the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology and National Guidance.
Investing in a healthier and more educated population and enabling young people to access opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship, will provide young Ugandans with a favourable environment to thrive in business and private life, and to make informed and safe decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health.
A total of sixty-two (62) teams submitted their solutions to the program. Following public voting and shortlisting by an expert panel of judges, ten (10) semi-finalists were invited to present their solutions at today’s pitch day event.
The solutions presented included among others an alternative insurance scheme for deprived pregnant women to access healthcare services, a new IT-based data collection solution to improve quality of health records at facility level, and a health commodity dashboard to enable civil society organizations analyze health commodity data to support decision-making.
The four (4) winning teams, selected by a panel of 7 independent judges, are as follows:
· Snap HMIS –a mobile application that helps hospital data clerks compile health management information system (HMIS) reports accurately and in real time
· Teheca –is a mobile app that enables one to find the closest and most qualified caretaker that best suits their care needs from a pool of qualified caretakers.
· Drug Dash — an information system to help health centres and distribution centers manage essential medicines and health supplies (EMHS) stock levels through analytical dashboards that support quick decision making.
· IDrain — is an improved chest drainage system which removes the pleural effusion contents of mothers.
Speaking on behalf of the selection panel, Dr. John Okiria applauded the innovative thinking demonstrated by all the solutions presented at the pitch event: “Ï congratulate all the innovators and must say it was a task to make a selection because they were all good ideas. The panel of judges that I was a part of made informed and impartial judgement because of the expertise we all hold. Some of the key factors we considered to make the selection of the 4 winning teams were how feasible the innovation was; how easy it would be incorporated in the current system; and was it a ready-to-be consumed product for the target market”
The four (4) selected finalist teams will be supported with business development and mentorship, receive $10,000 USD in seed funding per team, and undergo intensive mentorship for a period of four (4) months to turn their ideas into sustainable, market ready products or services.
“UNFPA is proud to support this initiative to empower young people by giving them the information, tools, and platforms for collaboration to become even more influential, productive actors in society,” said Ms. Miranda Tabifor, UNFPA Representative, a.i.
“We applaud the finalist teams and assure them of our total support throughout the upcoming four months. We have lined up a team of experts to train and nurture them as innovative models to address sexual and reproductive health challenges in Uganda,” said Richard Zulu.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every child is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
Currently, UNFPA is implementing its 8th Government of Uganda — UNFPA Country Programme (2016–2020) in alignment with national priorities, as outlined in the National Vision 2014, National Development Plan II (2015/16–2019/20), and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (2016–2020). UNFPA does this in partnership with the Government, development partners, private sector and other key stakeholders. Visit https://uganda.unfpa.org/ for more information.
About Outbox Hub
Launched in 2012, Outbox is a hybrid incubator, innovation lab and co-working space that specializes in supporting African entrepreneurs interested in using technology to build high-growth businesses with mentorship, training and co-working space. Outbox is built on the principles of sustainability, solving real problems, collaboration, openness and transparency, commitment and personal excellence. The incubator has so far transformed the lives of over 7,000 youth in the country through entrepreneurial mentorship and training. Outbox startups have raised more than $1M in funding support while creating more than eighty jobs. Visit www.outbox.co.ug for more information.
Prossy Jonker Nakanjako
National Program Specialist, Communications, Resource Mobilization and Partnerships, UNFPA