Ugandan youth entrepreneurs receive strategic investment from Dahabshiil

By mahlokoane percy ngwato

Dahabshiil has provided seed capital to two innovative start-ups founded by young entrepreneurs in Uganda as part of a programme co-sponsored by the US Embassy in Kampala.

Dahabshiil has invested in GSM-based agriculture market solution, MoBFIT (Mobile Business Financial Information Tool) which allows farmers to pre-sell their produce to buyers before harvest. MoBFIT is an agricultural supply chain management software that will directly connect rural farmers to buyers in the market at a low cost via SMS technology.

It aims to broaden the market for grass-root farmers, reduce the cost of marketing farm produce and the dependence on middlemen. MoBFIT was the winner of the hackathon during which six teams competed in an intense race-against-the-clock to develop business propositions to meet key market needs and create jobs.

Due to the strong calibre of ideas presented at the hackathon, Dahabshiil also agreed a further investment to support second placed initiative, Yaka Ko, an emergency power credit service to help clients enjoy uninterrupted power usage.

In addition, local startup incubator GoBigHub offered free mentoring to all of the hackathon participants through its partners Bytelex, Azems Value Add, and Strategy Consults – meaning all of the teams will receive support to turn their business ideas to reality.

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Dahabshiil CEO, Abdirashid Duale said: “Both MoBFIT and Yaka Ko, alongside many of the other business ideas presented at the hackathon, are an incredible demonstration of the power of young people to drive social and economic change.

“We hope that this event is seen as an illustration of what can be achieved through coordinated partnerships between the public and private sector. Dahabshiil is very proud to have collaborated with the US Government as part of +256 Rising, in the run up to the next Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Silicon Valley later this year.

“I have been inspired by President Obama and his vision to support entrepreneurship in Africa and throughout the world. His commitment is reflected by his personal participation in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya last year.”

US Embassy Chargé Trish Mahoney, said: “This hackathon represents part of the U.S. Mission’s ongoing efforts and key goal of increasing economic opportunities for Ugandans across the country.

“Programmes like this hackathon should help Uganda improve the quality of entrepreneurship and promote its sustainability, so that new businesses lead to new jobs. Entrepreneurship brings down barriers between communities and cultures, and builds bridges that help us take on common challenges together.”

Quintan Wiktorowicz, Managing Partner of social impact organization, Affinis Labs, which planned the hackathon, said: “The event was designed to unlock talent, creativity and innovation amongst Ugandan youths in order to help create jobs and reduce unemployment. We feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with these talented young entrepreneurs.”

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