StartHub launchpad dishes out shs10m to student innovators

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The battle for a share of the Shs10 million grand prize at the National Inter-University pitch event came to an end with top student innovators winning grants.

The pitch competition is the annual highlight of the StartHub launchpad, a semester-long practical innovation and entrepreneurship program which runs in over 10 universities.

Prior to the grand finale, university-based pitch events had led up to the final event which brought together the best innovators from all universities.

In the contest held at Mestil Hotel on Thursday, 12 student innovators from six different universities showcased and pitched thier ideas before investors and partners.

Following the jury’s review and online voting, NedTech an innovation by a Busitema University student emerged winner, qualifying for Shs2.5 million as a grant to further its operations. The innovation offers a networked temperature sensor.

In second came Kanga care from Mbarara University, which won Shs2 million for its innovation that offers a baby warmer that is locally knitted using yarn providing maximum warmth to babies.

In the third place was Agroverm (Makerere University which got Shs1.5 million for its innovation manufactures organic fertilizers from recycled wastes and offers this to farmers at an affordable price. Others winning innovations included; Safe space, Marie and Medicinal Have.

Edson Niwamanya, lead Investment and Portfolo lead at SINA who was also part of the jury told the Nile Post that some of the key criteria they considered were the teamwork building capacity, traction of the target market, skeptability and quality of the innovation.

“Those are the main creteria that we looked at, and then, of of course most importantly at the background is the problem; Is there a problem worth solving and do the customers really want a solution?” Niwamanya said.

He observed that most of the contestants were at early stage and were starting up but what he enjoyed was that most of them knew the basics of presenting their ideas, problem solving and value preposition.

Held annually, the National Inter-University pitch is for student entrepreneurs who participate in the StartHub Africa.

The launchpad program is designed to give students practical entrepreneurship skills in market research, business modelling, and sales and marketing.

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