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Up Accelerate is a one-year initiative implemented by Outbox in partnership with UNFPA and funding from UKAID. It seeks to support young entrepreneurs aged 18 - 30 years that are tackling challenges in sexual and reproductive health in Uganda by providing them with mentorship and seed funding of up-to $10,000 per team and business development training.
The Up Accelerate initiative was developed with support from the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance and launched in November 2016 to run until October 2017. The program seeks to support up-to eight (8) startup companies develop their solutions into market ready, scalable and sustainable businesses. Four teams were selected to participate in the first Up Accelerate incubation process. Due to the success of the first initiative, Outbox launched the next call for applications to the second cycle (II). This process involved the identification of opportunity areas the innovators should address, the sourcing and recruitment of applicants through activities that included marketing, boot camps and pitching.
The College of Computing and IS hosted the 4-hour workshop on Monday 10th April 2017. The boot camp was led Mr. Solomon Opio (Capacity Development Lead, Outbox) who introduced himself and laid out the objectives and expectations of the boot camp to the participants.
Some of the objectives of boot camp included:
- Sensitizing and mobilizing young entrepreneurs on the Up Accelerate program process;
- Enabling participants, understand the challenges from the perspective of the end beneficiaries and stakeholders, so that they can act upon them through concept generation.
- Some of the expectations of the Bootcamp included:
- Participants developing an understanding of the challenge areas from the perspective of various stakeholders and end beneficiaries;
- Participants identifying opportunities for change in relation to the challenges identified.
Also shared with the participants were the Up Accelerate Cycle II Challenges whereby a challenge is an area that will have a significant change or impact on the Uganda Health care system. For example;
- How might we improve demand and access to essential maternal health medicines and supplies in Uganda?
- How might we improve the use of data in health care planning, monitoring and delivering?
Concluding the workshop, a debrief on lessons learned and a survey were given to each participant to be able to allow the facilitator’s get feedback about the program.
Makerere University is an implementation partner of the EDULINK II project entitled “Deploying Interactive Online Networking Platform for Improving Quality and Relevance of African University Graduates to Labor Markets”. The EDULINK project member institutions include; Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Kenya), Egerton University (Kenya), RUFORUM (Uganda), and Makerere University (Uganda). The main objective of the project is to see how technology can be used to track graduate supervision and examination and as a result, the project partners developed a Graduate Network Platform.
The College of Computing and IS hosted the team from the EDULINK II Project on the 11th and 12th April 2017. The team from Kenya comprised of Dr. James O. Owuoche PhD., (Project Lead, Egerton University), Mr. Nicholas Kimolo, (Associate Partner, Futuristic Ltd), and Mr. Emmanuel Muthui (Software Developer, Futuristic Ltd.).
The team was welcomed by the Principal, Prof. Constant Okello-Obura who was happy to receive and host them on behalf of Makerere University. During the meeting, the Principal was given an update on the status of the project and the implementation strategies for its future deployment at Makerere University. He also pledged his and the College’s support towards ensuring the project’s success.
The main purpose of the visit by the project team from Kenya was to demonstrate the developed Online Graduate Mentoring and Supervision System (i-OGMSS) to key stakeholders. The stakeholders included representatives from the graduate students, supervisors (Senior lecturers and Heads of Departments), and administrators (Directorate of ICT Services, Directorate of Research & Graduate Training etc.) of Makerere University.
The EDULink team received positive feedback about the system specially on how the system will ease and simplify the work of the stakeholders and in closing Dr. E. Mwebaze (Senior Lecturer) appreciated the system that the team from Kenya developed and thanked them for making the trip to Uganda.
Refer to the attached report and links for additional details on the workshop and i-OGMSS system.
On the 20th March 2017 the College hosted Mr. Paul Maritz (Former VP of Microsoft and CEO of VMWare). He got a tour of School of Computing and IT (SCIT) facilities (i.e. lecture rooms, computer labs etc.) and visited ongoing projects e.g. WIMEA-ICT project, Software Systems Center (SSC), Artificial Intelligence (AI) Lab, Microsoft Incubation Lab etc.
He also had the opportunity to meet with College Management (Principal, Deans, HODs & Heads of units) who gave a general presentation about the College (past, present, and future). The research and teaching carried out at the College was also discussed as well as future possible collaborations.
Mr. Maritz ended his visit by viewing undergraduate student’s projects, meeting with other key researchers at College and exchanging current ICT trends with several key tech personnel from the industry e.g. Outbox, Yo! (U) Ltd. etc.
The Software Systems Center (SSC) has organized several series of interactions with key IT/Software industry leaders. The aim of the presentations (series) is to provide a platform where research meets industry. In these presentations the guests discuss challenges, progress and status on pressing Software/IT industry issues. The researchers identify research gaps and partner with the industry to address these gaps.
The guests are carefully selected based on exposure and practical experiences. The first presentation was by Mr. Vijay Kamumuru - Managing Director of Sybyl Ltd (formerly Computer Point LTD) one of the pioneer IT/Software companies in Uganda. and took place on 10th March 2017.
The Software Systems Center (formerly Software Engineering Research Group) is research outfit that seeks to conduct empirical/practical research & innovations in the areas of software engineering and related disciplines. Empirical research is based on actual industry practice and therefore SSC has strong and continues to build strong industry partnerships of mutual interest.
If you want to improve your understanding of IT/Software Industry, find practical research problems in IT/Software, identify industry partners in IT/Software or something related to software/IT/Research and industry find SSC at CoCIS, Block B, Level 3 for more details.