Science week to offer matchmaking between investors , Ugandan innovators, says Minister Musenero

The Minister for Science and Technology, Dr. Monica Musenero has said that the  ongoing National Science Week at Kololo ceremonial  grounds will offer matchmaking between investors and Ugandan innovators.

This year’s science week under the theme , “Tusimbudde ( we have taken off ) that opened on November 6 will up to 11.

“This year’s science week is meant to show how innovation or science and technology builds our nation and how  scientists and innovators come up with ideas. They transform those ideas into what you see as we call them prototypes or young ideas. Those ideas needed to be matured and eventually they must end up as an entity which has something to sell. It has it must transform into a business now usually well government is able to support ideas from the beginning,” Dr.Musenero said.

“You don't sit around and wait for government to keep appropriating some money that takes too long and most of your ideas will die. So this year, we are focused on bringing many of the ideas which have grown, which can now be articulated well, to present them to investors.”

The Science and Technology Minister explained that to ensure this, more than 70 investors have been attracted from allover the world to attend this year’s science week so as they can see Ugandan innovations, they can invest in.

Allays fears

In the past, there have been fears among innovators about the role of investors, with many accusing investors of seeking to take over their ideas

However, the minister allayed these fears.

They don't come to take your idea. Some people think that when an investor comes, they take your idea. No. It is like when you have planted a tree, but it is growing very slowly. Then somebody comes with a watering can with some nutrients and gifts that tree and it grows very fast, very big, and then you all benefit. So, they are they don't come to take our ideas. They come to help our ideas grow mature,” Dr. Musenero said.

She explained that whereas in the past government has been helping innovators with ideas and startups put them up to standard, now is the time for them to be invested into.

According to Musenero, the science week will also have an investors’ summit for all investors to come together and see what Uganda has to offer in terms of science and innovation so they can see where they can invest.

According to Kunmi Demuren, a co-founder and partner at GreenHouse Capital, one of the largest technology investors in Africa, the science week will be yet another opportunity to see if there are innovations they can invest in.

“We are  invested in over 50 companies in Africa. In around 15 countries and counting, the valuation combined valuation of our investments is over $1.3 billion and this is African for Africa. So indeed, there is capital that's looking for great innovative ideas that have African origin. I am also very happy to state that over 95% of the founders that were invested in are Africans and  so it is possible to have billion dollar companies with an Africa zip code,” Demuren said.

“ We have picked Uganda as one of the countries where we want to deepen our roots for a number of reasons. The talents incredible talents, very well educated. You have the environment and political supports that are very serious about science and commercialization, and then, of course, you have the markets here. You are well positioned to serve many countries in Africa. So, Uganda for us was on it was a no-brainer to pick as our next port to really invest through Uganda into all of Africa.”

The co-founder at GreenHouse Capital said where he has met a number of brilliant Ugandans abroad, none has ever been met in Uganda.

“I have met a lot of very smart, very brilliant Ugandans that we have invested in in our portfolio, but I never met any of them in Uganda. They were all in other countries, such as Kenya, such as Nigeria, such as South Africa, but they're Ugandans and they do very incredible work extremely innovative solutions. The question was, why do we meet the smartest Ugandans outside Uganda? What is wrong with Uganda, for us to not come here and make the investment and so we are really deliberate and intentional now to really focus the attention of the world to Uganda.”

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