In May this year, we reported ten (10) startup and social entrepreneurial teams that emerged as finalists for the second call for applications of the Up Accelerate Program – pitching their startup ideas to a panel of independent judges; Mr. Alfred Wise; Country Director of Living Goods in Uganda, Ms. Susan Ajok; Executive Director of Straight Talk Foundation, and Mr. Lawrence Were, were four (4) teams were selected; Ecosmart Pads, DigiHealth, Mscan, and iDrain secured their places at the Demo Day that took place on Thursday 5th, October 2017.
The four teams were each given a business and technical training, USD$10,000 (roughly 36,100,000 UGX) each in Seed Funding, and mentor-ship for four months to build their products and deploy them in the market before the demo day where only one team emerge as the overall winners.
For those unaware about the challenge, Up Accelerate is a health-based innovation accelerator that was launched last year in November focused on empowering youth to address sexual and reproductive health bottlenecks. It’s a one year initiative implemented by tech and incubation hub; Outbox in partnership with UNFPA Uganda, and funding from UKAID to support young entrepreneurs aged between 18 to 30 years that are tackling challenges in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in Uganda. Notably, the initiative was also developed with support from the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, aligns with national priorities, and contribute to vision 2040.
The program was scheduled to end this month, where the four finalists had to showcase their progress and prototypes on their products from the four month grace period that they were given.
The overall winners; DigiHealth – tackled the problem of manual patient data collection that is currently being used in most clinics and hospitals especially in the rural areas. The team developed a web-based platform and a mobile application that will digitizes the manual data collection for the users most especially the medical professionals who conduct outreaches – so that the data collected can be accurate, secure, and can be easily transferable from one hospital to another in one way or the other.
On the other hand, Ecosmart pads, came up with reusable sanitary pads that are made from sugarcane bagasse so that they can tackle the problem of women and girls from low income backgrounds that can not afford to by sanitary pads, and also restoring to the use of unhealthy and/or rudimentary methods when managing their menstruation.
Mscan developed a solution that address the problem of inadequate ultrasound services of expecting mothers. Their solution is an ultrasonic probe and software that supports ultrasound scanning most especially in low resource areas.
iDrain came up with an improved chest drainge system that removes the pleura accumulation in patients especially the new mothers. The team sought to solve the growing problem of hospitals in rural areas that are using water bottles to drain pleura effusions.