Ugandan Delegation Elevates Startup Ecosystem at ComeUp Festival in Korea

Republic of Korea. The Ugandan delegation visited the Ministry of SMEs and Startups. PHOTO/COURTESY

Ugandan policymakers and emerging businesses actively participated in the global startup festival, ComeUp, held in the Republic of Korea. During the event, they solidified partnerships with both public and private startup institutions, contributing to the enhancement of Uganda’s startup ecosystem.

The delegation, led by Parliamentarian Boniface Okot, comprised government officials from Uganda, International Trade Centre (ITC) staff, and ten exceptional graduates from the Youth Startup Academy Uganda (YSAU). The Academy, initiated by the ITC in 2022, aimed to usher 1,000 young entrepreneurs through its incubator program, funded by the Republic of Korea.

Taking advantage of the opportunity, the ten Ugandan startups engaged with local investors through a two-hour pitching session on November 9 at the ComeUp global startup festival in Seoul. Additionally, they participated in a special seminar, facilitating meetings with potential investors. The entrepreneurs also presented their pitches at the Korea-Uganda Startups Meet Up Day, a collaboration with the Korea-Africa Foundation on November 13.

YSAU, dedicated to fostering a supportive policy environment for startups in Uganda, organized visits to institutions such as the Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS), the Korea SMEs and Startups Agency, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science&Technology, and the Gyeonggi Creative Economy Innovation Centre. This provided insights into the startup policies and programs of these organizations.

Hive-Colab, the implementing agency of YSAU, formalized a partnership agreement with the Korea-Africa Foundation and Gyeonggi Creative Economy Innovation Centre. This collaboration aims to facilitate and strengthen innovative and entrepreneurial networking between the two countries.

Barbara Mutabazi, co-founder of the Uganda-based incubator Hive-Colab, expressed enthusiasm about the collaborations with Korean institutions, considering it a significant milestone for Uganda’s startup ecosystem. She highlighted the value of leveraging Korean policy experiences and venture capital expertise to accelerate the growth of Ugandan startups.

Sumin Park, Director for the International Cooperation Division at the Ministry of SMEs and Startups, welcomed the Ugandan delegation and expressed Korea’s commitment to supporting Uganda’s startup ecosystem through the Youth Startup Academy. Park anticipated that Korea’s policy experiences in startup and venture capital development would significantly contribute to the formulation of Uganda’s startup bill and policy.

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Busiinge Aggrey
Busiinge Aggrey
Business Aggrey" is a 23-year-old Ugandan journalist and Editor-in-Chief at The Black Examiner newspaper