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Fighting for Uganda's tech startups

Fighting for Uganda's tech startups

Founders of Ugandan part-business incubator part-co-working space Outbox, established in 2012, say the tech business development initiative has housed 13 resident startups, raised over US$1m and created 80 jobs - evidence it suggests of making strides in the country.

Outbox was founded in 2012 to offer fledgling African tech entrepreneurs support in the form of workspace, mentorship, and training programs.

In its four years of operation, and leveraging the partnership of Seacom and Google, the accelerator has channelled over 7,000 participants through in-house workshops.

Outbox founder and tech specialist Richard Zulu says. "Our mission is to provide the entrepreneurship, innovation and technology infrastructure that supports African entrepreneurs It is estimated that more than 40,000 young people graduate from Ugandan Universities each year. Yet the market can provide only 8,000 jobs. We strongly believe that the use of technology in various disciplines presents a great opportunity to alleviate Uganda's youth unemployment problem."

According to Zulu three of the organisation's most successful projects include incubating start-ups Ensibuuko and Safeboda, and initiating the Women Passion Program (WOPA).

Outbox says Ensibuuko offers a cloud based management software for savings and credit cooperative societies (SACCOS), embedded with mobile money capabilities to improve financial record keeping, build operational efficiency and cut costs.

"Ensibuuko currently supports +80 savings cooperatives across Uganda. It has already raised $500k worth of investment, and is currently working with one of Uganda's largest banks to double the number of cooperatives reached. Ensibuuko has won multiple awards, including the East African ICT4Ag hackathon, Sankalp Forum, and Unilever Sustainable Living," reads a statement from the organisation.

"SafeBoda is a community of professional, trained motorcycle (boda-boda) taxi drivers, offering a safer experience to passengers. Users can easily hail a SafeBoda in the street or conveniently book one via a mobile app. Safeboda currently serves +1,000 motorcycle taxis in Uganda," Outbox explains.

The Women Passion Program (WOPA) was a one-year experiential program to equip women and girls with skills in human-centred design, lean startup methodology, web programming & leadership. 75 girls were trained, 15 girls received one-to-one mentorship from a global software consultancy firm, and 4 girls secured employment soon after the program

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