At least three Startups- Pata Sente, Famunera and Backspace Ivy emerged winners in the digital innovation challenge, each taking home over Shs74 million as support from UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) Uganda to run pilot study on their latest solutions.
The three were announced on Friday in Kampala during the grand finale of the Digital Innovation Challenge 2020.
The challenge started last year in August when Startup Uganda launched its first Digital Innovation competition specifically looking for the latest innovation in particular sectors to solve specific issues close to the hearts of the challenge’s anchor partners.
In one month when the call was open, over 150 startups applied and the number was reduced by the Startup Uganda team under each challenge track, which then qualified for the boot camp stage.
Three groups were shortlisted each having 3 teams, under Financial Health for MSMEs, there was Kanzu Code, Pata Sente and Chap Chap, in this group Pata Sente emerged as a winner. Group two was Last Mile Distribution Networks and under it, there was Agricycle, Famunera and Cabral Tech, where Famunera emerged as a winner.
Group 3 was Digital Literacy and under it, there was Digital Woman, ZOORA and Backspace Ivy.
While congratulating the winners Chris Lukolyo from UNCDF, urged them to work with their colleagues for better results.
“Many times ideas stop at stages of presentation and bringing up them together under startup Uganda and UNCDF has supported these innovations Hubs to create a community where they can learn from each other where there is an environment of mentorship,” Mr Lukolyo said.
“Our major program is leaving no one in the digital era however while the rest of us use tech to improve our lifestyles and wellbeing, there those who are in deep areas and they are left behind and refuges are some of those communities, so the focus on those underserved communities is to ensure that we built a digital an inclusive economy, these include women and immigrants.”
All the anchor partners that participated in the challenge were selected because of the relevance of the issues they were trying to solve, especially in today’s global pandemic climate. For Financial Sector Deepening Uganda, the issue of financial health for MSMEs arose with the economic effects of COVID-19 which exposed the financial fragility of individuals and businesses.
The anchor partners under Leveraging Last Mile Distribution, Mobipay and Ensibuuko have under their belt, the last-mile distribution network of over 500 Digital Community Entrepreneurs (DCEs) in Northern Uganda and West Nile.
The network is currently distributing products like solar, airtime, mobile money and more to rural communities and is seen as a distribution asset that can be leveraged by various innovators to avail digital and non-digital products and services to last-mile customers and vice-versa. Their participation in the challenge was to add more viable product and service offerings to this last-mile network.
The Danish Refugee Council, the anchor partner under Digital Literacy, was looking for solutions to fast-track large-scale community-based training on digital literacy. There has been an increase in the use of cash-based transfers to support refugees and their host communities rather than in-kind aid. These transfers now also include mobile money.
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