By Edwin Muhumuza
Uganda Development Bank in conjunction with Resilient Africa Network have signed an agreement to finance business start-ups. Under the program code named, the UDB i-Growth Accelerator 2017, the move is intended to ensure that innovations are supported up to the level of commercialization and hence stimulating the culture of innovation in Uganda.
The Chief Executive Officer, Uganda Development Bank, Patricia Ojangole, notes that since Agriculture and Manufacturing are the key sectors of the economy, such a move will go a long way to ensure, their growth and potential to spur economic growth. ‘We know that there are people who have developed innovative solutions that can address some of these challenges and what this program is about is to identify such people and partner with them in progressing the innovative solutions that they have identified’, she said. Uganda is one of the most entrepreneurial nation in the world however many die within the first year of inception.
According to Nathan Tumuhame from the Resilient African Network –an organization that operated in four regions of Africa bringing together the academia, students and staff, says that, ‘many people have nice innovative ideas, and when schools and universities train students, they come up with ideas, but they only stop in class and only taken as examination material.‘to move those ideas beyond the classroom is our aim’, according to Tumuhame. He adds that UDB has come at a time of sustainable development goals and thereby helping establish a ‘silicon valley’ in Uganda and lure some Ugandan back home.
According to Dorothy Akello, the Director for Innovations,the potential for innovation in agriculture is high and so we are going to support innovators until the level of commercialization. ‘We are also interested in nurturing and stimulating a culture of innovation’ There has been growth in the bank’s capital with the support of government as a shareholder with more growth expected over the next 4-5 years in regard to capitalization and so far shs.50 million has been availed for the program.