UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, in collaboration with Outbox, a local business incubator, today launched a health-based innovation accelerator dubbed ‘Up Accelerate.’
This innovative program is part of a regional initiative by UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Office, with funding from UKAID.
Up Accelerate seeks to explore new and engaging ways to tackle pressing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) challenges in Uganda while promoting social entrepreneurship among young people.
“To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and further UNFPA’s mandate, we need to test new approaches and improve on those already in use. Innovation and the active engagement of young people in our work can be catalyzers of significant change, and help achieve the demographic dividend in Uganda,” said Ms. Miranda Tabifor, UNFPA Representative a.i.
The demographic dividend can be reaped if Uganda simultaneously prioritizes enhancing the quality of its human capital, empowering of women and their partners to reduce fertility, and reforming the economy to increase productivity and create jobs.
Up Accelerate calls on young people to realize their desire to learn about and contribute to the challenges faced by the country in regards to improving access to, and the planning, availability and quality of SRH information, services and programmes.
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 favorable environment to thrive in business and private life, and to make informed and safe decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health.
“Working with UNFPA as an institutional partner contributes to our mission of building innovative infrastructure that leads to development of inclusive communities. It is these kinds of unusual productive partnerships that create an enabling environment where young entrepreneurs can learn about problems worth solving and leverage industry networks to quickly go to market,” said Richard Zulu, Founder of Outbox.
The UNFPA – Outbox – Up Accelerate project is set to run from November 2016 through to October 2017. Eight youth-led innovations will be picked to join the two acceleration cycles.
These entail two months of training, mentoring and assistance for fine-tuning their solutions and business models, and two months of support in going to market, for which training, mentorship and seed funding of up to USD 10,000 will be provided based on achievement of pre-agreed business milestones. Interested participants can apply at Up Accelerate.