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Stanbic Bank
Stanbic Bank
Stanbic Bank
Stanbic Bank

Four youths teams win Shs35m each for innovation

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The Up Accelerate programme has today selected four winning young start-up teams which will be supported with US$10,000 (about Shs35m) to develop their promising ideas into transformative solutions to tackle persistent sexual and reproductive health bottlenecks in Uganda.

Up Accelerate is a UK Aid-funded program launched last November, and seeks to empower young micro-entrepreneurs to turn their business ideas into healthcare start-ups that address persistent sexual and reproductive health challenges. The initiative is implemented by Outbox in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and supported by the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology and National Guidance.

A total of sixty-two (62) teams submitted their solutions to the program and following public voting and shortlisting by an expert panel of judges, ten (10) semi-finalists were invited to present their solutions at today’s pitch day event.

(Seated left to right ) The panel of judges , Mr. Peter Kahiigi, Dr. John Charles Okiria, Ms. Neema Iyer, Ms. Arigye Maraba Munyangabo, Mr. Nevin James Bradford, Dowson Kalemba and Outbox Team Leader, Richard Zulu (standing extreme right) pose for a picture with the four (4) innovative teams (standing) who won in the Up Accelerate Program Cycle one.

The four (4) winning teams, selected by a panel of 7 independent judges, are: Snap HMIS –a mobile application that helps hospital data clerks compile health management information system (HMIS) reports accurately and in real time;  Teheca – a mobile app that enables one to find the closest and most qualified caretaker that best suits their care needs from a pool of qualified caretakers; Drug Dash – an information system to help health centres and distribution centers manage essential medicines and health supplies (EMHS) stock levels through analytical dashboards that support quick decision making and,  IDrain –an improved chest drainage system which removes the pleural effusion contents of mothers.

The selected finalist teams will be supported with business development and mentorship, and also receive undergo intensive mentorship for a period of four (4) months to turn their ideas into sustainable, market ready products or services.

The solutions presented included among others an alternative insurance scheme for deprived pregnant women to access healthcare services, a new IT-based data collection solution to improve quality of health records at facility level, and a health commodity dashboard to enable civil society organizations analyze health commodity data to support decision-making.

“We were impressed by the response and level of engagement of young people despite the complexity of the problem areas within which we wanted them to propose solutions. The amount of conversation, feedback and effort exhibited during the application period is testimony to the demand of programmes like Up Accelerate among the young people in Uganda,” said Richard Zulu, Outbox Team leader.

He added: “We applaud the finalist teams and assure them of our total support throughout the upcoming four months. We have lined up a team of experts to train and nurture them as innovative models to address sexual and reproductive health challenges in Uganda.”

A representative of the selection panel, Dr. John Okiria, applauded the innovative thinking demonstrated by all the solutions presented at the pitch event. “Ï congratulate all the innovators and must say it was a task to make a selection because they were all good ideas. The panel of judges that I was a part of made informed and impartial judgement because of the expertise we all hold. Some of the key factors we considered to make the selection of the 4 winning teams were how feasible the innovation was; how easy it would be incorporated in the current system; and was it a ready-to-be consumed product for the target market,” he said.

Speaking at the function Miranda Tabifor, the acting UNFPA Representative said: “UNFPA is proud to support this initiative to empower young people by giving them the information, tools, and platforms for collaboration to become even more influential, productive actors in society.”

According to the Ugandan Bureau of Statistics, over 26 million people in the country are below the age of 30 years; thus little can be achieved if the potential of young people is not harnessed.


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