Google last week launched a new social media service called Shoelace on its Area 120 experimental projects platform. Shoelace aims to keep users “in…
“The launchpad for new ideas” is how Ugandan incubator Outbox is labelled as it has shown significant growth over the past few years.
Established in 2012, Outbox is one of the leading incubators in Uganda. It not only offers incubation and workshops on a variety of subjects, but also a co-working space. Outbox has tried out an programme for women, which proved successful.
“Our mission is to provide the entrepreneurship, innovation and technology infrastructure that supports African entrepreneurs,” says founder, Richard Zulu, in a press release to Ventureburn.
In just four years, Outbox has housed 13 startups, raised over US$1-million in funding, and created 80 jobs. It has also seen over 7000 participants pass through its doors for in-house workshops.
Zulu founded the organisation and brought with him over six years of experience in the startup tech ecosystem and was also a Google Student Ambassador.
“It is estimated that more than 40,000 young people graduate from Ugandan Universities each year. Yet the market can provide only 8000 jobs. We strongly believe that the use of technology in various disciplines presents a great opportunity to alleviate Uganda’s youth unemployment problem,” he continues.
As mentioned earlier, one of the most interesting aspects of Outbox is its experiential Women Passion Programme (WOPA). This one-year initiative looked to equip women of all ages with human-centred design, lean startup methodology, leadership skills, and web programming. Out of the 75 girls trained, 15 received one-on-one mentorship from an unnamed global software firm, four received employment soon after its conclusion.
“One of my biggest dreams is having a large number of girls join the tech community and I’m delighted to be a part the Women Passion Program. The Women Passion Program has not only equipped me with technical and business skills, but also changed the way I view life,” says software developer Emily Karungi, a participant of WOPA.
Safeboda is looking to change the taxi industry in Uganda. Even though the country has a market of motorcycle-based taxis, this startup is looking to unify them and provide additional training to its drivers. Customers are able to either hail a Safeboda motorcycle taxi and book one via their mobile app. At present, the company have over 1000 motorcycle taxis in Uganda.
On the other hand, Ensibuuko is a vastly different kind of tech startup. This company focuses on cloud-based management software for financial services, a far cry from delivering passengers. It supports over 80 savings cooperatives across the country and is working with one of the largest banks in the country to double the number of cooperatives reached.
It has also managed to raise over US$500 000 in investment and has won awards such as East African ICT4Ag hackathon, Sankalp Forum, and Unilever Sustainable Living.
“Outbox ensured that we did not burn out of resources, by introducing us to potential funding partners that enabled us to build a product, test the product, build our team and gain traction. Outbox helped us find our first funding at a very critical time,” says COO of Ensibuuko, Gerald Otim.
Outbox also hosts regular events, such as web development bootcamps and market research.