African Entrepreneurship Award team comprised of the Head of Investor Relations, BMCE Bank of Africa, and Award Manager, African Entrepreneurship Award visited the RAN Innovation Lab on Thursday, February 23rd 2017 following the launch of the second edition of the challenge on February 17th 2017 to publicize this new opportunity and explore a longer term partnership with the lab. The Team which is based in Morocco last visited RAN lab in October 2016 while evaluating the Fruiti Cycle project after getting shortlisted for the final round to receive a grant.

The main intention for this meeting was to discuss how best to maintain a volunteer network of mentors for the online, virtual regional mentoring since some Ugandan entrepreneurs have emerged as winners each year. The second issue was to explore the Ugandan Angel investing and Startup investment community so as to source funds and alongside their $1M investment which is a good strategic opportunity for RAN to be part of these initial conversations and eventually part of this innovation fund that could benefit some of the lab’s innovators and entrepreneurs.

One of the successful beneficiaries for this award is Joyce Kyalema, the CEO and founder of Josmak International Limited, a female Ugandan entrepreneur who won $150K to begin manufacturing pumpkin products. The main product they are focusing on is Pumpkin value addition to solve the problem of malnutrition in children by creating a wide variety of pumpkin food derivatives with long shelf-lives, great flavor and high nutritional value

The African Entrepreneurship Award, powered by BMCE Bank of Africa, offers a mentoring journey for business ideas that can impact and improve lives in Africa. The goal of the Award is to inspire African entrepreneurs living in Africa and abroad to develop businesses across the African continent, creating jobs that improve lives.  The Award partners with entrepreneurs, business leaders and leading academics from Africa, Asia, America, UK and Europe. These partners are mentors who provide coaching to African entrepreneurs at every step of this journey. The journey includes USD1 million investment across three categories: Education, the Environment and Uncharted areas that have never been done before in Africa.
Evaluation of submitted ideas is done in three rounds seasoned with practical mentoring. This includes Regional mentors that advise on regional issues and decide which ideas are most needed in the region. It also includes Pan-African mentors who advise on how to get an idea beyond borders for Pan African impact and Global Partners who advise on how to build a sustainable and scalable business.

The RAN Team also had the privilege to meet the local country hosts at Bank of Africa – Uganda who included Mr. Arthur Isiko, Managing Director of the Bank and had a productive discussion on opportunities that exist especially for small and medium enterprises that RAN entrepreneurs could tap into. This opened a new door for RAN to start a conversation with this Bank that will culminate into a partnership.

The second call for 2017 beneficiaries is still open and closes on April 28th 2017