Startups in Uganda – different kind of hunger
But how do you get those extra ingredients of creativity? So you read different books, you network. But and important part of productive networking is - don’t be afraid to share the idea or vision you have. You never know who can add those extras inside. Yes – ideas can be stolen but vision and execution can not. And don’t just speak to people who you think are creative minds. Some of the best ideas I’ve actually gotten are are from developers themselves. In the end startups are a community and what you put in, you WILL get back double. So one of the problems I see here is that the first step has been taken – people are working in one room. But they keep to themselves. How do you know the person sitting 10 meters from you doesn’t have a brilliant input to you startup?
Also another problem I see is why most local startups can’t go global? It’s because of the ingredient called mobile money. What is this? Basically it’s your wallet. What you do is that you upload some money on your mobile and you can use it to pay for a wide range of services and hard goods. I have understood this nifty little thing came to be is because people don’t like banks here. And everybody in Africa uses this instead of credit cards. So when I first came here and started getting to know the local startups, most said that their service is used with mobile money. Of course my first reaction was raising one of my eyebrows and asking “Mobile money??”. So over time I learned to point out to people that if you are thinking of only using mobile money then this means you can’t go global, because most of the rest of the world uses their VISA-s and MasterCard-s.
So what I would say is that there are some obstacles to overcome, but the opportunity is here. Startup-minded people are hungry to prove themselves. There are great startups to be cooked.
Blogpost by: Helen Kokk (Kokk in English translation Cook)
Garage48 designer/mentor & volunteer in Uganda during April-July 2014
Garage48 Uganda Volunteer project is partly funded through Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs by means of Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid.