5 social startups to have an eye on at the Social Innovation Academy in Uganda
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 4 seconds.
On a diverse range of food (Matoke included) and drinks in the Social Innovation Academy in Mpigi, Uganda
Ugandan cradle for social change
One thing I will not forget was my miraculous journey to the Social Innovation Academy (SINA) in Uganda. SINA gives people a base to grow and to establish businesses that serve the community without relying fully on donations – social businesses. It was more a coincidence that I found out about SINA. However, SINA was the reason why I started my blog BusinessSocialista.com. Not only that makes Uganda special for me but also the absolutely astonishing people that I met.
“You are here because you are looking forward to start a business and you can’t start a business while sleeping.” Josephine Nakiyimba, Founder, Ssuubi Designs
Uganda is a country full of challenges in every aspect. Nevertheless, these challenges also mean opportunities if you have the right mindset.
A room full of materials and a head full of ideas that is Josephine. In addition, she is also one of the first members of the social innovation academy and the founder of Ssuubi Design and Mutuba Uganda. Before I met Josephine I looked at empty plastic bottles and only saw waste. Josephine showed me that waste is an opportunity to create something new, something beautiful. She also creates magnificent purses and laptop cases from the bark of the Mutuba tree. A material that is acknowledged as Ugandan cultural heritage by UNESCO. Involved in major modules of the curriculum for new members at the academy Josephine is the heartbeat of SINA.
Gifted Hands Network
Andrew is one of the people at SINA that inspires you to make your own dreams reality. His social business trains blind women to detect breast cancer through touch. In his childhood his mum lost her job after a car accident where she lost her sight. Resulting in financial struggle Andrew’s family was not able to pay for treatment when his sister got severe malaria. Losing his sister to malaria because of a lack of financial resources for treatment Andrew wanted to change the fate of disabled people and also the perception how disabled people are seen in society. Today, he enables blind women to become experts in breast cancer detection. Reaching out to thousands of Ugandans already he wants to reach out to all of Africa promoting early breast cancer detection.
“If you cannot do great things try to do small things in a great way.” Andrew Mukose, Founder, Gifted Hands Network
To start with, changing Uganda also means transforming waste because waste is everywhere. Especially plastic waste surrounds you in Uganda and follows you everywhere. Judith Nantume is keen on utilizing the untapped potential of plastic waste to create school desks out of it. You got it right, school desks from plastic waste. A somehow illusory idea slowly transforms into a real business plan. Wastics already worked out the first prototype… in a frying pan! With difficulties accessing the right machinery Wastics follows the bootstraps approach working with what is accessible. Judith tells a story of struggle and opportunities.
“I grew up in a humble environment with a single mom living in a slum area. Our house would flood every time it rained.” Judith Nantume, Founder, Wastics
Waste is inspiring also fashion designers as Julie Keiza founder of Kimuli Fashion showcases. She recently had her first fashion show that supported deaf and lame Ugandans. Products are made out of milk containers, rice bags and all sorts of waste. With 5 years of age she already sewed little pieces of fabric to create clothes for her dolls. Her passion for fashion was always there. As an orphan she always had the ambition to become a fashionista. That kept her going through all the struggles on the way.
Gejja Women Foundation
In SINA I also realised that at least half of the members are women. Majo Atuhurra is one of them trying to give more opportunities to women in rural areas. With her multitude of initiatives the Gejja Women Foundation impacts the rural areas of Uganda where women face a lot of obstacles. Hence, her projects target overall the independence of women through entrepreneurial trainings, community gardening, girls to high school projects and the production of reusable sanitary pads. Finally, her ambition is to create a centre a shelter where every woman is welcome.
“I know what it means for a woman to be in the village without even having salt to put in the food.” Majo Atuhurra, Founder, Gejja Women Foundation