Aiducation International commenced its programs for the year by holding its first ever Start-Up Academy in Uganda. The Start-Up Academy, a collaboration between Aiducation International and JA Uganda with funding from the Swiss Re Foundation, is an entrepreneurship education camp that is fostering the creation of a new generation of African entrepreneurs. The program engages brilliant tertiary students from disadvantaged backgrounds in a five-day residential camp designed to develop an understanding of business and entrepreneurship. It also encourages creative thinking and problem solving which are valuable in today’s competitive global market.
The inaugural Start-Up Academy in Uganda took place from 13th to 17th January, 2020 at the Nob View Hotel, Ntinda in the city of Kampala. It engaged 44 students from all over Uganda. Participants were taught about, coached and mentored through the business creation and management process by volunteers from Swiss Re International and the local business community, over the course of the week. They worked in teams, under the guidance of the volunteers, to come up with business ideas, assign roles, make financial projections and build out their business models. On the final day, they had the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges, to demonstrate their business acumen and understanding of what they have been taught.
Uganda was recently ranked as the world’s most entrepreneurial country by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), recording the highest youth entrepreneurs, with 55.6 percent of the youth population involved in new or established businesses. This shows that many young people in Uganda are interested in becoming entrepreneurs and with the right kind of support, they can propel Uganda’s economy through job creation not only for themselves but for others in their communities.
The African business landscape presents a wealth of opportunities for those who dare to explore them. In Africa, even more than elsewhere in the world, the need for entrepreneurs is critical. Africa is enjoying the highest rate of enterprise creation globally. According to the African Economic Outlook report, no less than 22% of Africa’s working-age population is starting new businesses, which is a higher rate than any other region in the world. Despite this positive trend there are still gaps to be filled in terms of the capacity and mindset of our entrepreneurs. The barrier for them is the lack of entrepreneurial skills development. The Start-Up Academy responds to this need.
Written by: Sena Goka
Edited by: Alexandra Spälti