KAMPALA – Dahabshiil is partnering with the US Embassy Kampala for a youth entrepreneurship hackathon that will be held in Kampala from 8th-10th January.The event, which is termed +256 Rising, is designed to unlock talent, creativity and innovation potential amongst Ugandan youths in order to help create jobs and reduce unemployment. Teams will ideate and develop concepts; work with mentors from places like Silicon Valley; build prototypes; test, iterate, and refine these prototypes to pitch their business ideas to a judging panel, live audience and online crowd. The winning team will receive USD$5,000 of seed funding and six months of mentorship and training at a start-up incubator in Kampala.
As one of Africa’s leading financial services businesses, Dahabshiil has long been an advocate of social entrepreneurship as a driver of economic growth, particularly in East Africa. Its corporate social responsibility initiative, MicroDahab MFI was established as a subsidiary of Dahabshiil Group in July 2014 to alleviate poverty and generate entrepreneurship opportunities across the Somali region. To date, MicroDahab has invested a gross financing of over $1 million to create new employment opportunities.
Abdirashid Duale, CEO of Dahabshiil Group, said: “We believe in the power of entrepreneurship to dramatically change the socioeconomic landscape in Africa. Youth entrepreneurs, in particular will be key drivers of innovation and future economic growth.
“Similar to Dahabshiil, many of these entrepreneurs have overcome hurdles and challenges and are now making a difference in their communities. We have worked with a range of cross-sector startups across Africa and are proud to be supporting youth entrepreneurs in Uganda.”
77% of Uganda’s population are under 30 years of age, while there are 7,310,386 youth from the ages of 15–24 years of age living in Uganda. Uganda aims to put women and young people at the heart of its economic transformation – a key policy topic amongst current presidential candidates. Nearly 80% of people in Uganda and across African countries work in the informal sector. As a result, many of the 11 million youth entering Africa’s labour market every year are tasked with creating their own jobs or face unemployment.
With an estimated 200 million people aged between 15 and 24 across the continent, Africa has the youngest population in the world. However, young people account for 60% of all African unemployed, according to the World Bank. African governments are confronting youth unemployment in many different ways.
The US Government is prioritising entrepreneurship as an engine of economic growth and stability in Africa and other regions, as reflected by the proliferation of new programmes and initiatives, including President Obama’s Young African Leadership Initiative and the next Global Entrepreneurship Summit to be held in Silicon Valley.
A spokesman from the U.S. Mission in Kampala, said: “The hackathon represents part of the Mission’s ongoing efforts and key goal of increasing economic opportunities for Ugandans across the country. In addition, the U.S. Mission supports this program to spur local technology and start-up industries that can in turn create jobs, especially for youth.”
+256 Rising is being organised by social impact organisation Affinis Labs and supported by the Ugandan Muslim Youth Development Forum; alumni from President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative; Generation Change; Angels Initiative; and Maya Launchpad.
Quintan Wiktorowicz, co-founder and managing partner of Affinis Labs, added: “We hope this will be the first of many special events in Africa designed to help unlock the economic potential of youth. For every rising entrepreneur, there are thousands of other youth with the potential to build businesses, create jobs, and help their communities. The challenges are great, but the potential is greater.”
Dahabshiil Group is a multinational branded conglomerate which includes the largest African money transfer network, a mobile money provider and bank.