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Ugandan Startup, Jalule Among Winners of the AfricavsVirus Challenge

The 20 winners of the AfricavsVirus Challenge, announced by the African Development Bank in an event that was held virtually on Friday the 18th.

A Ugandan startup, Jalule is among the top twenty (20) startups that have emerged as winners of the AfricavsVirus Challenge selected by the African Development Bank (AfDB). They will receive a grant of up to USD$20,000 (approx. UGX72.9 million) as well as access to business development and other in-kind services.

The top 20 winners including Jalule were announced at a virtual event held on Friday last week having been shortlisted from hundreds of applicants who pitched ideas for innovative solutions to the health and economic challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 20 were chosen according to the relevance and impact of each solution, proposed implementation and the qualifications of team members.

The winning solutions, including a distance learning device from Cameroon, digital business training from Uganda, color-coded soap from Nigeria and digitally-encoded health records in Senegal, are designed to tackle education, economic and health challenges arising from the pandemic.

“Joining AfricavsVirus was an opportunity to work with a global team to find solutions that were unique to the African perspective. Since the challenge we have been able to gain additional support from government stakeholders and start conversations on the need for more public-private partnerships,” Tizzita Tefera who is among the winners said. Tefera’s team, Maisha Technology, has developed a solution that uses affordable drones to deliver COVID-19 test kits to rural health centers in Ethiopia.

Jalule is enhancing the capacity of local businesses to leverage digital skills, tools and networks to remain operational even in such emergencies. The solution includes a communication package to help businesses keep in touch with clients, make new customers and hence increasing sales. Jalule does this by designing content and relevant content for each target customer segment to help build their brand. In addition, also offers a short digital skills toolkit for clients to help them learn how to use tools like zoom for meetings, WhatsApp Business, how to work remotely, receiving online orders among others.

The Jalule platform is intended to profile local businesses that provide online solutions.

The challenge is reported to have received more than 25,000 participants from globally, pitched their ideas during a 72-hour ideation at the bank’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab hosted in partnership with the Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund in April. And 20 were selected as finalists.

“The AfricavsVirus Challenge highlighted a diverse capacity for creativity and innovation. It is a direct reflection of how young people are creating tangible opportunities despite facing the adversity of quickly changing and unprecedented times,” Ms. Martha T.M. Phiri, the Bank’s Director of Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development said during the virtual event.

The challenge is part of the bank’s continent-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic that includes an up to USD$10 billion COVID-19 Response Facility to help countries tackle the health and economic impacts of the crisis.

The initiative was funded by the bank’s fund for African Private Sector Assistance, Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-donor Trust Funds (YEI MDTF) and received direct support from the government of Switzerland and the European Commission through the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab (IEL). Both YEI MDTF and IEL are programs of the African Development Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy, which aims to create 25 million direct and indirect jobs over the next decade and uplift the lives of 50 million young people.

The winners and their respective countries.

  1. AbegYa (Cameroon).
  2. Acadasuite (Nigeria).
  3. Ada Selli Passeport Santé Senvitale (Senegal).
  4. Affordable RE (Nigeria).
  5. BD Waste (Ghana).
  6. Diginue Technology (Nigeria).
  7. Drcloud (Nigeria).
  8. ECOGEN (Malawi).
  9. Enarmour3D (Kenya).
  10. Fahs (Algeria).
  11. Fundi App (Tanzania).
  12. Jalule (Uganda).
  13. L’earnerApp (Kenya).
  14. LyfPlus Limited (Tanzania).
  15. Lync Systems (Malawi).
  16. Maisha Technology (Ethiopia).
  17. OHMNI (Cameroon).
  18. SAFETYassured (Nigeria).
  19. S-Band Face Shields (Nigeria).
  20. Uzima Health (Kenya).

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