We need to challenge ourselves. In the Startup Ecosystem in Uganda, it is time we delivered ventures that can be scaled and be a permanent presence in the world on a daily basis. This kind of thinking and desire is what will go a long way in solving the unemployment scourge in the country.
The biggest employers in the Private sector in Uganda are not necessarily Ugandan companies. In fact, the world over, the biggest employers are more and more ICT based conglomerates. This tells us that an open niche like ICT can be leveraged by startups in Uganda to create valuable products.
ICT blends in very many fields. It is not rigid to itself. People in all sectors of life need the enabler that is ICT.
What We See so far
When you attend Startup competitions, there is so much to learn and we have so much to do. I think it is laudable that someone can take some time and courage to build a prototype and follow through their idea to the level of boldly presenting it before people for vetting. This should be encouraged. The quality of the pitches however is still very low. We need coaching, both for the judges and for the competitors.
Time has come however that we need to leave this stage to high schoolers and put on some maturity. We need to start thinking on a regional and global level. We need that discipline. I look forward to the day where people will be wowed by ideas showcased at startup competitions in Uganda because of the thought that has gone through and the impact that they are deemed to create. It is time.
But there is Good News
There is potential for this to be done. In the past, we have showcased one or two startups that address a need in a larger geographical area than just Uganda. We showcased a startup in Education that if they put their act together, they would be able to provide solutions to very many African countries in what they have elected to solve: Parent Engagement in Education.
We also showcased a startup that cuts through the niches of Agriculture, Climate, Industry and Energy by using biomass to revolutionize rural communities. This can be scaled across the country and could potentially solve the rural-urban migration if well handled.
Going Forward: Thinking Global
In order to cross the borders with our products, we have to consciously and intentionally build them for the world. We are moving in a fast paced society. There are multi Billion Dollar enterprises in the world that never existed just 10 years ago.
We have come from far, and it is time we started showcasing products and startups that are solving problems across the borders and even across the continent. If we start approaching our businesses from that angle, our thinking, working, delivering and execution will shift to be world class in an instant.
We ought to get seriously uncomfortable with the state of affairs, because frankly, we can do more.