The Innovation Village has extended its ecosystem by opening a new hub in Mbarara becoming their 3rd new location since the beginning of the year 2020. The hub is located at the former Country Taste Opposite Rwizi Arch Hotel Rwebikona. The launch comes at the time Mbarara has been recognized as a city.
The two other locations where they (The Innovation Village) extended to are Gulu, and Jinja with its main hub in Kampala.
Opening the new hubs in Gulu, Jinja, and Mbarara was Innovation Village plan since the year begun. The Innovation Village in Jan. 2020 announced it will spend USD$12 million (approx. UGX44 billion) through their initiative ‘Game Changers Road Show’ — to set up new hubs in three towns. And according to CK Japheth; the hub’s CEO and Founder, “is to create an equal opportunity for youth entrepreneurs across Uganda — and not only focusing in Kampala.”
“We’ve been stationed in Kampala for 5 years. This new venture will see us start a new era in doing more for Ugandan youth entrepreneurs across Uganda,” Japheth told reporters at the official launch in January.
The plan to open the three hubs was to be executed in three months from the time of the announcement in January starting with Gulu, then Jinja, concluding with Mbarara. Due to the outbreak of the pandemic Coronavirus (COVID-19) where the H.E. President Museveni declared nation lockdown, the works were brought to a standstill.
The Innovation Village is building a dynamic community of entrepreneurs that can solve problems that communities are facing today. With the hub’s support l, entrepreneurs can build their own businesses in return creating job opportunities.
Uganda being among the top 5 countries with the youngest population in the world, and a 90% business failure rate, it is time to reimagine what work looks like for most young Ugandans. Whereas the youth are the future, it is important to take into consideration their plight as they search for employment opportunities. This should largely be the reason The Innovation Village is benchmarking on their dreams and ideas.
“The Innovation Village is a promise to entrepreneurs. Our motivation is the potential that Ugandans have to contribute solutions to the problems challenging their country,” said Japheth at the Mbarara hub opening ceremony.
“In Mbarara, we have set up a community where women and young entrepreneurs can come to network, connect and meet each other, and our mandate is to ensure that entrepreneurs realize their potential, work through their ideas until they scale into sustainable businesses.” he added.
“Entrepreneurs do not know how to create sustainable businesses around what they do. The Innovation Village will help them sieve through their dreams until they settle for a good idea, that can grow and scale into other regions in the country”.
The Innovation Village seeks to partner with entrepreneurs that are not just technology enabled, but contribute to different sectors like farming, arts and crafts, agriculture to name but a few.
The Innovation Hub chose the three towns Gulu, Jinja, and Mbarara to cover the North, East, and West respectively.
Mbarara town is a gateway to western parts of Uganda and Great Lakes region countries of Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo.
Innovation Village’s Game Changers Road Show is a five year plan program looking at skilling over 230,000 youth entrepreneurs. In addition, create over 300,000 direct jobs and 70,000 indirect jobs.