, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 7 – International money transfer company Dahabshiil and the United States Embassy in Kampala have partnered to help identify youth talent and create innovation in Uganda as a means of reducing unemployment.
The partnership will see a youth entrepreneurship hackathon, dubbed +256 Rising held in Kampala from January 8 to January 10, 2016 in a bid to reach the youth in Africa and unlock their potential.
Participants have a chance of winning up to US$5,000 during the three day event. The winner will also have six months of mentorship and training at a start-up incubator in Kampala.
Teams will ideate and develop concepts, work with mentors from places like Silicon Valley, build prototypes, test, iterate, and refine these prototypes to pitch their business ideas to a judging panel, live audience and online crowd.
Dahabshiil Group Chief Executive Abdirashid Duale says empowering the youth across Africa will drastically help reduce poverty and create opportunities for them to participate in development projects in their respective countries.
“We believe in the power of entrepreneurship to dramatically change the socioeconomic landscape in Africa. Youth entrepreneurs, in particular will be key drivers of innovation and future economic growth,” said Duale.
A spokesman from the US Mission in Kampala said: “The hackathon represents part of the Mission’s ongoing efforts and key goal of increasing economic opportunities for Ugandans across the country. In addition, the US Mission supports this program to spur local technology and start-up industries that can in turn create jobs, especially for youth.”
The hackathon is being organised by social impact organization Affinis Labs and supported by the Ugandan Muslim Youth Development Forum; alumni from President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative; Generation Change; Angels Initiative; and Maya Launchpad.
“We hope this will be the first of many special events in Africa designed to help unlock the economic potential of youth. For every rising entrepreneur, there are thousands of other youth with the potential to build businesses, create jobs, and help their communities. The challenges are great, but the potential is greater,” added, Quintan Wiktorowicz, Co – Founder and Managing Partner of Affinis Labs.