Overview of the project 

The project (Startup Garage) seeks to build the capacity of University students to create employment opportunities for themselves and others through entrepreneurship.

The project goal is to transform University students into technology and innovative entrepreneurs for increased employment opportunities for themselves and others.

The project targets 50 University students from Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), Bishop Stuart University (BSU), University of Saint Joseph Mbarara (USJM), Metropolitan International University (MIU) Mbarara in Southwestern Uganda. 

It will be implemented through the three approaches as follows;

  1. Establishment of innovation clubs/Associations: The students with innovative ideas or early-stage startups will be enrolled in the clubs and nurtured to become innovative entrepreneurs. 
  2. Ideas formation and product development. Workshops will be organized in universities to help the students identify ideas and build prototypes for 4 months. 
  3. The innovations pitch competitions and networking. After 4 months, the students with prototypes will pitch to a panel of judges, and the best innovations awarded cash prizes.

Program support to the selected beneficiaries 

Note: The participants will not be charged fees to participate in the project.

If selected, Empower Youth in Technology (EYIT) and partners will provide the following;

  1. 4 months trainings and mentorship
  2. Exchange visits 
  3. Speaker series
  4. Refreshments during the training, mentorship and exchange visits and the pitch competition 
  5. Prizes for the pitch competition winners (up to 5 winners will be selected)

Technical eligibility 

EYIT does not discriminate against applicants because of race, ethnicity, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, geographic location, education, income, socio-economic status, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other protected characteristic as established by Ugandan laws. The identified University coordinator (either a student leader or a member of staff) will select the students who meet the following criteria;

  1. A business idea/early stage idea 
  2. Demonstrated capacity to generate a business idea and develop a prototype 
  3. Active engagement in students activities, guild leadership, community service  
  4. A demonstrated knowledge and interest in entrepreneurship and innovation 
  5. Strong social and communication skills 

Establishment of Innovation Clubs/Association 

The clubs/associations will bring together students with interests in entrepreneurship and innovations and nurture them to become innovative entrepreneurs. As a result, the following guidelines will be followed while establishing an innovation club/association; 

  1. Each club/association will select a patron who is a member of staff with interests in the entrepreneurship and innovations
  2. Membership to the clubs/association is open to students with interests in entrepreneurship and innovations 
  3. EYIT shall act as external advisor to the clubs/association and shall provide training/mentorship support to the members.
  4. The club shall be in charge of organizing entrepreneurship/innovation activities for its members
  5. The members of the club/association shall put in place rules/guidelines/leadership to guide the operations. 
  6. Each club/association should elect/appoint the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, Publicity Secretary, Events/Training Coordinator, Partnership and Resource Mobiliser.

Training, Mentorship and Exchange visits 

Through training, mentorship and exchange visits, the selected participants will be equipped with technical and business skills, and linked to mentors for expert guidance on idea development, prototyping, business formation, and commercialization. The following guidelines will apply;

  1. The students selected to participate in the project will be expected to attend all the scheduled trainings, mentorship and exchange visits 
  2. The participants shall not be charged a fee to participate in the training, mentorship and exchange visits.
  3. In case of exchange visits, the participants shall be expected to meet the transport, meals and refreshments costs.  
  4. The participants will be required to meet their transport costs during the training, mentorship sessions scheduled outside University premises. 
  5. EYIT shall provide refreshments and meals where applicable during the training, mentorship and exchange visits. 
  6. EYIT shall provide all the trainers, mentors and guest speakers during the training and mentorship sessions. 

The pitch competition 

The Pitch competition will be an opportunity for some of the participating students win prizes such as cash and other items. It will also be a valuable platform to practice and perfect your business pitch for future funding opportunities. By participating, the students will gain critical experience presenting your ideas, receive expert feedback, and engage with potential investors and partners. The participants should;

  1. Attend the training and mentorship sessions 
  2. Develop at least a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for his/her idea
  3. Currently be enrolled as a student and a member of the innovation club/association
  4. Each team/company/participant should include the following items in the pitch template;
    • Company/Team Name
    • Brief Idea Summary: 2-3 sentence summary of your idea, problem, solution and market. This short explanation is sometimes referred to as an idea pitch, testing your ability to explain your concept in the time that it would take to travel up 10-15 floors in an idea
    • Business Concept and Model: What are you proposing to sell or what service will you provide? How? Where does your revenue come from? How will you make a profit?
    • Market / Customers: Define your market. To whom will you sell? Why will they buy? What problems does it solve? Is it an evolutionary or revolutionary idea?
    • Competitive Advantage / Differentiation: Why are your ideas better than the competition? How do you intend to differentiate your company from the competition? What distinctive competence do you possess? How will you sustain your advantage?
  5. A least 5 winners shall be selected to receive prizes

Program timelines 

Phases  Activities  Timelines
Phase 1 Orientation workshops  September to October 2023
Phase 2 Establishment of innovation clubs October 2023
Phase 3 Design thinking workshops November 2023
Phase 4 Product Development workshops  December 2023
Phase 5 Mentor/Speaker Series  January 2024
Phase 6 Exchange visits  February 2024
Phase 7 Pitch practices  March 2024
Phase 8 Pitch day  May 2024

Project Funders


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