Startup Uganda has officially launched 2023 Uganda Innovation Week (UIW) which will take place from the 22nd to the 24th of November at the National ICT Innovation Hub under the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance.
The primary focus of the event this year is to network and build partnerships, with the team at Startup Uganda, making deliberate efforts to ensure entrepreneurs in attendance are connected to potential partners, investors, and clients.
Beyond the insightful panel discussions and exhibitions that have become a hallmark at UIW, this year’s event promises innovative additions.
For the first time, UIW will feature an Investor Lounge in partnership with the East Africa Venture Capital Association (EAVCA), providing entrepreneurs with the opportunity for one-on-one engagements with potential investors and clients throughout the event.
In addition, there will be business-to-business deal rooms where corporations will highlight various collaboration opportunities for digital innovators. Masterclasses, organized in partnership with Design without Borders (DWB), will add an edutainment dimension to the sessions.
UIW will also host business clinics focused on helping entrepreneurs seamlessly integrate digital elements into their ventures, covering topics such as online payments, digital marketplace integration, and access to online forms of credit.
While addressing the press, Ms. Doris Odit Acheng, Country Coordinator of the EAVCA Uganda Chapter said, venture capital funding in East Africa is the catalyst for innovation, economic growth, and empowering local entrepreneurs to realize their aspirations.
“It is not merely an investment in businesses; it is an investment in the future prosperity of the entire region,” said Acheng. “Through our partnership with the 2023 UIW, we aim to bridge the gap for early-stage startups in Uganda, connecting them with investors who align with their vision.”
Under the theme “Adapt or Be Left Behind: The Digital Economy and the Opportunities it Presents for the Ugandan Entrepreneur”, entrepreneurs will be able to showcase and engage along three main tracks:
- Ignite & Innovate — What are the big opportunities for entrepreneurs in the digital economy?
UIW will explore the boundless opportunities that the digital economy affords entrepreneurs. With corporate and development partners directing funding support to build the digital economy, participants will delve into the strategies and pathways for startups, MSMEs, and entrepreneurs to effectively tap into these prospects. It will also spotlight sectors that are harnessing digital innovation to drive growth and can benefit from new innovation.
- Scale & Succeed — How can entrepreneurs better integrate digital tech into their business models?
UIW will focus on the strategic development of new technologies and the integration of existing ones by MSMEs and startups. Entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to benefit from business clinics focused on addressing key drivers influencing the digital economy.
- Discussion topics include; digital transformation, licensing & democratizing digital infrastructure, universal adoption of affordable digital services, and the development of digital skills and human capital.
- Connect & Collaborate — How can we foster the growth of the digital economy through public & private sector partnerships?
A well-developed value chain and ecosystem can propel the digital economy forward, driving economic growth and creating a conducive environment for entrepreneurship and innovation. UIW will focus on fostering collaboration and partnerships among stakeholders, promoting innovation, knowledge sharing, and resource allocation to drive ecosystem growth.
Richard Zulu, Chairperson of Startup Uganda in his remarks said, “Entrepreneurs who embrace technology and innovation are the architects of our digital future, shaping new opportunities and redefining industries.”
Zulu noted that while fintech and agritech have been at the forefront of digital business models in Uganda, there is ample room to explore beyond these sectors. “The digital economy has the potential to revolutionize various industries, including healthcare, education, transportation, manufacturing, energy, the creative industries and more,” he said. “It is this potential we want to begin to harness at this year’s event.”
Startup Uganda has partnered with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), the Youth Startup Academy (YSAU), DWB, EAVCA, and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) to organize the 2023 Uganda Innovation Week.
Startup Uganda is still calling for more partners to come on board and be part of the event — stating that partnerships are open to innovators as well, especially those able to deliver the business clinics.