KAMPALA – NINJA Accelerator Uganda is a program run by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in partnership with The Innovation Village, Hive Collab, and Outbox to support high-growth-stage startups earning revenue of approximately $50,000 and are ready for the next level of growth.
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report 2019/2020 (https://www.gemconsortium.org/report/gem-2019-2020-global-report), Uganda is ranked one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world.
However, many Ugandan startups do not make it to the growth stage because of limited investment opportunities, relevant skills-set gap, stiff competition, and the absence of incentives such as tax breaks.
The collaborators of the NINJA Accelerator Program have therefore advised qualifying start-ups to apply ‘NOW’ at https://ninjajica.co.ug/ for the program which will run for three months starting July 30th till August 22 and the five startups that qualify will be given up to US$18,000 proof of concept funding.
Speaking at the launch, UCHIYAMA Takayuki, the Chief Representative at JICA Uganda Office said, the Uganda startup ecosystem has potential for growth because of the aggressive and determined nature of entrepreneurs.
“By the end of August, we anticipate having 200 applications from eligible startups who will be subjected to a critical three levels assessment. The top five startups will qualify for the program that will start on September 13. These will go through the training and mentorship provided by Hive Collab, The Innovation Village, and Outbox.” Takayuki added.
Barbara Mutabazi, the Co-founder and Managing Director of Hive Collab said, Uganda has a very nascent ICT and startup ecosystem which presents a lot of opportunities for the recovery of not just the economy but the people at the grassroots.
According to Japheth Kawanguzi, Team Lead at The Innovation Village, “With the many startups still struggling to recover from the impact of the two lockdowns. The ecosystem has been tasked to deploy any means necessary to survive and move to recovery where time and resources have been lost. How well we adapt will determine how well we recover. We have an opportunity to reconfigure ourselves to an ongoing new reality to extend the reach of our products and services to the people who need them most.”
The NINJA Accelerator Uganda Program is intended to grow, shape and transform Uganda’s start-up ecosystem and address key challenges including the provision of investment opportunities, shaping business models and value proposition to gain market traction, and finding unique solutions using technology.
Read about the requirements for the grant here CKILCK; https://grahadetails.com/2021/08/jica-launches-the-next-innovation-with-japan-ninja-accelerator-uganda-program/