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UDB awards winners of the 2017 I- Growth Accelerator Program Competition

Last year, Uganda Development Bank Limited (UDB) in partnership with the Resilient Africa Network (RAN Lab) rolled out the UDB i-Growth Accelerator Program focusing on supporting commercialization of local start-ups and stimulating a culture of innovation in Uganda so as to make a remarkable contribution to the country’s social economic development.

The theme for 2017; ‘Towards a Smart and Sustainable Agricultural and Manufacturing Sector’, was targeting local start-up enterprises in Agricultural and manufacturing sectors that need support to grow and expand.

The call was open to individuals, youth groups, community based organisations, vocational institutes, students, young entrepreneurs amongst others who proposed brilliantly creative projects in relation to the theme.

The application process that was done online and the whole exercise finally closed on January 25th, 2018.

A total of 430 projects were submitted and 25 of them have had an opportunity to showcase their project work at the Exhibition event that run from 10: 00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Hotel Africana.

Three winners whose projects have been considered the most innovative and inventive have been announced at the Award ceremony that has the Minister of Finance, Hon. Matia Kasaija in distinguished attendance as the Guest of Honour.

“I believe that for a smarter and sustainable agricultural and manufacturing sector, farmers must possess the right mix of science, economics, entrepreneurship, and environmental awareness to meet the challenges of the future,”  Hon. Matia Kasaijasaid in his speech at the event.

The top winner, Guide Leisure Farm of Orgapesticide innovation takes home the first prize of UGX 25 million, the first runner -up, Hybrid silage and hay machine and the second runner- up, Solar irrigation win UGX  15 million and UGX 5 million respectively.

In addition to the grand prizes, teams will also receive; Technical support, Mentorship and Business Coaching, linkages to local, regional and international expertise and contacts, financial support to develop and pilot the solution towards scaling as well as linkages to potential investors and financiers.

  1. PROJECT TWENTY SIX- Orgapesticide bolstering organic farming

The project has been in existence for 2 years and aimed to reduce the use of environmentally hazardous pesticides. The project produces and markets organic fertilizers from pepper, garlic and hydrogen from earthworms. Currently the project is able to produce

500 liters of pesticide per week and this is quickly sold to the farmers.

  1. PROJECT ONE- Hybrid Hay and Silage Machine

In Uganda, it is a common practice for farmers to go out with their animals in search of land for grazing. This search is often made more challenging during the dry season. Hay and silage once produced can be kept for up to 5-years and can in turn enable farmers to feed their animals through periods of scarcity. Many of the hay and silage production machines in Uganda are imported and costly.

The members of this team therefore came together to develop an affordable, locally produced hybrid hay and silage machine that could be locally maintained. The project has been in existence for nearly two years and has been tested on the teams’ farm in Mukono. Unlike its competitors on the market, the machine combines hay and silage production, eliminating the need for two separate machines. Tests have confirmed that the machines can 18-21 tones of hay or silage over a period of 10 hours using just 24 liters of diesel. The machine is therefore not only cost effective but has the potential to increase the productivity of farms across the country.

  1. PROJECT TWENTY ONE- Locally Made Low Cost Solar

Irrigation Pump

They have been in existence for 1 year

Problem: Scarcity of low cost irrigation systems in Uganda.

Solution: the pump is manufactured from locally sourced materials and uses solar renewable energy. It comes with a sprinkler mechanism that is also locally fabricated. The set is priced at UGX 600,000.

Impact: The team has piloted the project with three farmers who have reported positively about its functionality.

  1. PROJECT NINE- Bank at Hause Forex X-change

This team identified poor packaging of agricultural produce as one of the major challenges in the agricultural sector. They therefore came up with their project- a solution that uses 3 ply bags to keep produce for longer periods and enable the produce to earn better. The team further works to link farms to whole seller to increase their revenues

  1. PROJECT FIFTEEN- EcoSmart Pads

This project has been in existence for 8 months. The project utilizes sugar cane fibre

/residue to produce eco-friendly sanitary pads and thereby minimizes agricultural waste.

Since starting it has on boarded 420 women and girls to realize the success of the project and has improved the livelihoods of over 100 graduates who are adopting different works along the chain of production. The project has also indirectly impacted the productivity of adolescent girls and women, offering them low-cost pads to use during their menstrual cycle.

  1. PROJECT TEN- Kadas

This project was founded by four students who were seeking an opportunity to make impactful efforts to their society. They together came up with a mobile application that helps farmers in rural areas gain knowledge and access to appropriate markets, in a language of their convenience. The platform also includes support for farmers to access affordable loans. The project was named kadas after a slang term that means ‘above the rest’- they promise to be ‘above’ their competition.

  1. PROJECT ELEVEN- Sparky Dryer

This project was founded by two recent graduates of mechanical engineering who were inspired by the background of their families being majorly dependent on agriculture and yet facing the challenge of extra produce rotting every season. They decided to develop a product to improve storage of agricultural produce. They based their product on locally used methods of drying but making improvements to provide a faster and more hygienic drying. The sparky dryer is now 10X and 5X faster than traditional sun drying and the existing solar dryers respectively.

  1. PROJECT TWO- Oribags

This project has been in existence for 8 years. The concept was birthed at a time when there was a lot of debate over the regulation of plastic bags (buvera). These plastic bags are often discarded, blocking drainage systems and burnt, resulting in pollution of the environment. After identifying a solution to this problem, the founder approached an agricultural research institute to test her solution, environmentally friendly paper products processed from bio-waste, agricultural fibres and other forms of waste like cotton waste, offcuts from shopping malls, among others.

To date, Oribags has 30 gorgeous designs of gift boxes and paper bags that are available in 40 stores across the country including mega standard, capital shoppers. Oribags has also collaborated with farmer groups from whom they collect waste and whom they have trained in waste management and helped establish other revenue streams through the sale of this waste.

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