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60 Innovations to Get ICT Ministry Funding

Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda is today Wednesday expected to preside over the awarding ceremony of innovations which will receive funding from the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance.

“A total of 60 innovations will be supported in 2019 compared to 12 supported in 2018,” said ICT Minister Frank Tumwebaze.

The Ministry said the awards are seen as a recognition of the many Ugandans leveraging Technology so as to make economic and social transformation of society and Uganda.

Officials say the focus remains innovations offering solutions to local problems.

Today’s event will be held at the ICT Ministry in Kampala.

The amount of money earmarked for the selected innovations is yet to be revealed but it’s estimated in billions of shillings.

The National ICT Initiatives Support Program (NIISP) was created to spur innovation and facilitating development of software applications for purposes of creating employment, contributing to the reduction of the net import of ICT products and services and increasing the development of local content.

The first call for proposals was made in 2017 and 40 innovations were shortlisted out of the 349 applications submitted.

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Twelve (12) Innovations made it to the final list and were supported with startup capital.

These were; AIMS, Dero, PRISMS, EnerGrow, M-Farmer, Blood up, Xente, KiCare, Ocular, 6th Sense, Wulira, Munu Technologies.

Success stories

Out the 12 startups supported in the first call, 5 of them have developed mature ICT products.

These include; AIMS (Academic Information Management System), Wulira App used to assess hearing loss, PRISMS for newborn care, M-Farmer to enhance farm management and Xente payments gateway.

Xente used the support it received to widen product depth. It now has 12 product categories from 4 product categories.

The Ministry says three innovations supported have developed product prototypes and are in the process of fine tuning their product for the market. These include Blood up, ENERGRO and Wulira App.

The support given was also to help them penetrate new markets.

Four of the innovations supported have penetrated the market in Uganda and beyond.

Xente used the support given to increase customer base, increase distribution channels to 3 from 1, and access national, regional and continent wide markets.

As a result, Xente now operates in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and South Africa.

The AIMS system has penetrated local market in Uganda and Universities are using their product. PRISMS, M-Farmer have also penetrated the local market.

The ICT Ministry said PRISMS is employing 7 people while M-Farmer has created 33 jobs.

Before Makerere University took up AIMS, it was already using an academic information management system developed outside Uganda.

PRISMS App for new born care has been rolled out in 4 health facilities, namely; Lyantonde Hospital, Bwizibwera HCIV, Rakai hospital, Kalisizo hospital, Kiwangala HCIV and Lwengo HCIV.

“These successes demonstrate the relevancy of the NIISP program in fostering innovation to create jobs, reduce net imports of ICT products, increase export earnings from ICT products, and cause socio-economic transformation,” said the Ministry.

The selected innovations will not only receive finance to develop their product to maturity, working space at the National Technology hub and linkages to useful networks within and outside Uganda but also specialized training.

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