Kampala Innovation Week, slated to take place from 22 t0 26 November, will be dedicated to digital transformation, job creation and economic sustainability in light of innovation. This was revealed by the Vice-Chair of Startup Uganda, Jean Kukunda, during the launch.
Start-Up Uganda along with its partners will grant young innovators an opportunity to pitch. The event will be hosted as a hybrid (primarily virtual) under the theme, Harnessing The Power Of Innovation & Entrepreneurship For Uganda’s Digital Transformation & 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 Start-Up Uganda Awards 2021 that will recognise trailblazing tech innovations that have created solutions for Ugandan challenges. The categories for nomination include education, agriculture, health, technology and communication. Winners will be given a cash prize. Nominations close end of October. Nominees will be unveiled during Innovation Week.
The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) Digital Lead in Uganda, Chris Lukolyo, said the country has witnessed growth in its innovation culture. Start-Up Uganda is an association of innovation and entrepreneurship support organisations working towards strengthening the start-up support ecosystem and sector.
Interested participants will have their focus on the role of innovators and entrepreneurs in achieving Uganda’s development ambitions. They will also be required to 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 innovation challenges must take place. “We need to tell the story of Uganda’s innovation journey and I believe this is part of Kampala Innovation Week. According to a recent report, 93 per cent 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.”
Ndahiro added, “And because of hardship, this is why innovators are called upon to develop relevant solutions that are accessible by the majority. This is also to get innovators who understand the local challenges and join them to 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. 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 Programmes Officer Kas Uganda 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.