Ministry of Science, UDB, sign shs6bn deal to fund seven innovators

A total of seven Ugandan innovators will benefit from a $1.6 million approximately shs6 billion Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and the Uganda Development Bank.

The MOU signed on Friday will see Afrosilk company’s silkworm egg production, Pombe Guard hangover reliever, Skipack Uganda Limited’s biodegradable hair from banana fibre, Fondry Network for Accelerated Human Capital Development, Deploy Resource Africa Uganda Limited that makes biodegradable brushes from cow tail hair, Gulu University’s cassava value addition project and Apokor Savings Cooperative Society’s cassava value addition project funded.

Speaking shortly after the signing ceremony, the Minister for Science and Technology, Dr. Monica Musenero said as part of the MOU, Uganda Development Bank will act as the fund manager.

“We are going to use this as a learning platform on how to fund innovations and as we get better, we hope we can build the fund up to at least shs500 billion. That fund is there to fund innovators, people who haven't yet proved that their ideas are excellent but nobody is giving them a chance to put their idea out there,” Dr. Musenero said.

Explaining more about the learning process, Minister Musenero said with time, government will be looking at increasing the funding to the innovations as a way of ensuring they scale up in a bid to attract investors in future.

“Because of our funding to these innovations, there will be many investors who are interested in funding them because they know we have confidence in the innovations. We are investing in the innovations to ensure they are converted into products that clients will buy and we can market all over the world. We want them to move from the stage of prototypes that can’t be sold.”

“We are investing in them to put up manufacturing line and that is going to unleash the product on the market.”

The minister noted that as part of the national science week, they are expecting more deals to be made between innovators and investors in regards funding.

Minister Musenero also made a case for investment into Ugandan innovations, noting that the country is the best destination for investors.

“Uganda is the Pearl of Africa, so unique and beautiful. We are creating an amazing environment for innovators and investors. You will not find a destination with 10 years of tax exemption but Uganda does that for innovations. Uganda is the real deal for innovations and investors,” she said.

However, speaking during their summit, investors urged Uganda to put more efforts on marketing the country’s potential in terms of science and innovation so as to attract more investors.

Others asked the country to consider marketing the country as part of the wider East African market with a population of over 400 million combined.



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