A user is pictured launching the safe boda app on an android smartphone. (Photo Courtesy: Safe Boda)
A user is pictured launching the safe boda app on an android smartphone. (Photo Courtesy: Safe Boda)

When it comes to innovations and startups in Uganda, in my opinion, I have to say that at least Uganda has been represented well globally, with “some” funding from the government.

Two startups from Uganda; a Solar power low-income populations provider Barefoot Power and motorcycle-taxi network SafeBoda are representing the country at this year’s SPRING; an accelerator working with growth-oriented businesses on innovations that can transform the lives of poor and vulnerable girls aged 10 – 19 years living across East Africa and South Asia.

17 other startups; 6 from Kenya, 4 from Tanzania, 4 from Rwanda, 2 from Ethiopia, and Sustainable beekeeping network Honey Care Africa which operates across the region will be joining with the 2 from Uganda in this competition.

The first ever SPRING bootcamp was held in Nairobi in 2015, the same year the program was launched, and in 2016, the second program was held in Asia, and finally this year comes back to Nairobi – making it the 3rd annual event.

How the startups were selected
From November 2016 to March 2017, the SPRING team reviewed applications they received and only those that met with their criteria were interviewed for a place in the SPRING cohort. Barefoot Power and Safe Boda being apart of them.

The Timeline for the program
The first boot camp kicked off in May with the selected participants meeting for two weeks where every participant at least leaves with a clear prototype for a Girl-focused product, service or business model, while in the next four months (from May to September) will be spent on research and development, including testing with users, as well as further design workshops in their target country.

End of September, the cohort will meet again to refine their prototypes, develop business models, and create brand and digital assets with SPRING to help bring prototype innovations to market. We start to look at investment readiness and opportunities in more detail.

And for the final stage of the cohort which will be early next year in February, the firm will celebrate accomplishments and plan post-cohort activities to support businesses in refining prototypes and sharing learning.

The full list of startups participating in this year’s SPRING:

From Kenya

  1. Cherehani Kenya.
  2. Ecofuels Kenya.
  3. GravityLight.
  4. Illuminum Greenhouses.
  5. Mode.
  6. Paygo.

From Tanzania

  1. ACTT.
  2. Microhealth Initiative.
  3. Totohealth Tanzania.
  4. Ubongo.

From Rwanda

  1. Academic Bridge.
  2. Babyl.
  3. Kasha.
  4. Resonate.

From Uganda

  1. Barefoot Power.
  2. SafeBoda.

From Ethiopia

  1. Accelerated.
  2. HelloDoctor.

Cut’s across all regions:
Honey Care Africa.

Editor’s Note: You can download the Safe Boda app from Google Play Store.