NISSP incubates showcase their projects during the 2019 ICT Innovation Katale:
RAN Innovation lab in partnership with United Social Ventures and with support from the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance hosted an ICT Innovation Katale on Friday July 5th 2019 at Hotel Africana. RAN has been nurturing a cohort of ICT driven innovation projects under the National ICT Initiatives Support Programme (NIISP). Over a three-month long incubation program, selected teams were supported to develop, experiment and test their prototype solutions. Through field immersion and empathy research the teams worked on aligning their proposed solutions to the expressed needs of their end-users. The ICT Innovation Katale was organized to showcase these projects to a multi-sectoral audience of distinguished guests. The event took place in two parts; (i) A morning segment which was a closed event where invited guests were informed of the activities and achievements of the program at RAN and heard from the innovators. (ii) An afternoon segment that permitted the general public to interface with these ICT innovations among others and vote for their favorite innovation from the ‘Katale’ exhibitors.
The event was presided over by the Permanent Secretary; Mr Vincent Bagiire who represented the Minister of ICT & NG. In his remarks he applauded the great work done by RAN lab. He noted that the solutions pitched were fascinating and spoke to some of the challenges we face as a country. He re-affirmed the Ministry’s support and to continue the mission of creating an enabling environment that facilitates the consumption of these locally developed ICT solutions that spur development.
From RAN’s point of view, we note that some solutions were onboarded at the idea stage and the innovators had developed prototypes. Some of the projects were also able to pivot quickly and refine their solutions which we believe was a great achievement for these teams.
During the event attendees also listened to a panel discussion with representation from RAN, United Social Ventures, the Ministry of ICT cohort of entrepreneurs, a representative from Open Capital Advisors who spoke on behalf of the investment community and the Commissioner from the Ministry. The plenary discussed in some detail the needs of early start-ups from their different perspectives and what it would take to create an enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship in Uganda. The first half of event was crowned with lightning pitches by the entrepreneurs themselves.
In the afternoon the formal event transitioned into a vibrant exhibition attracting the masses and living up to its name – ‘Katale’. Guests at the exhibition were also given the opportunity to nominate their favourite ICT project for the “People’s Choice Award”. The Exhibition also had other projects from the RAN innovation portfolio like; Wekebere, BV Kit, Safe Bangle, Mama Ope, OLY Cash among many projects.
At the end of this busy market day, the ‘Career Aid’ project emerged as the winner of the ‘People’s choice award’ and walked away with a cash prize to support them in the prototyping phase of their concept. The event generally attracted over 200 guests including the participants who came in to vote for their preferred project.
The entrepreneurs had an opportunity to engage with stakeholders and potential partners. They valued the opportunity, it provided them with a platform to engage with partners that could potentially support them to realize their ideas and take them to the market.