When people start on a business idea, they typically go and work out of a co-working space so they can be amongst like-minded individuals, and also get support in starting their venture.
The first of these hubs in Uganda was called Hive Colab, and I speak with Gilbert, the programme manager about his view of the interesting businesses coming out of the space.
He really has his finger on the pulse of innovative companies being created in Uganda, and we speak about plenty, including how and why Hive Colab are looking to attract the top university graduates in the country, the exorbitant cost of internet access, and how he sees opportunities for the government to help promote what they are doing.
Here are the key quotes:
“Hive Colab is a tech innovation hub and coworking space”
We’re the first of our kind in the country (started in 2010) and we’re all about using tech to help the development of the country
“We have 27 start ups in the hub”
With 25 more coming in by the end of the year, mostly from universities
“University students have final year projects which could be start ups”
But currently they leave it and instead go out job hunting. Hive Colab want to change this by encouraging more to start their own company
“… but most just want the grades”
Students are researching innovative areas in health and education, but just to get a good grade to then get a job in a bank
“GPS for chickens probably won’t work”
This is a type of project which might get good grades, but wouldn’t be a viable business. Ugandans are still trying to adopt GPS systems for their cars.
“Most help is needed with start up road maps”
We come in and help start ups with the business development bit and ensuring they are designing it for the right clientele.
“Hive Colab gives training, space, mentors, and reliable internet”
We offer a whole package. Our mentors keep monitoring the progress of the businesses and also link them up with potential investors.
“Hive is not the only option”
There are other hubs that offer services like Hive Colab in and around the city (links at bottom).
“One start up offers malaria testing on smart phone”
Another successful start up was a company called Done Deal that did group offer deals that got bought out.
“There’s a big opportunity in the governance and justice system”
A lot to do with citizen engagement and to get leaders to be accountable. It could be around removing the vices in government.
“Demand for health innovations will always be there”
There are some things which always have demand for ideas. Also education and agriculture.
“More university students will come to Hive”
Once they understand the value that Hive Colab comes, we can help most so long as they have an interest in tech.
“It’s likely that Kenyan start ups will come too”
It won’t just be homegrown companies that thrive here, we are very open for good ideas to start here as well.
“Ugandans are very welcoming people”
They try out everything that comes their way. If you give value for money and support, they will use your product and catch up fast.
“Our internet bill is $1,000 per month”
It’s really high. Also rent and other costs are meaning that it’s difficult for us to stay in operation.
“We don’t have support from government”
In Rwanda hubs like kLab have much more help. If we get more help, we can provide a better service.
**Note: you can listen to interview with the head of kLab here.**
Other innovation hubs in Uganda
Start ups in Uganda
Matibabu (malaria testing with no skin prick)
Done Deal (Groupon)
Yoza (Laundry service)
Mdundo (music service from Kenya)
Social media follows etc.
Facebook: Hive Colab