Four young innovators walked away with grand prizes after pitching entrepreneurial ideas that are potentially able to help deal with sexual reproductive health among the youth.
The pitch contest which took place on Friday, was the final stage of the iAccelerator challenge, and saw the winners walk away with a grant of 10,000 USD each, to help develop their ideas into workable products.
The winners are set to receive business training and mentorship, by experienced professionals and a chance to pitch their ideas to potential investors, during a “Demo Day” which is set to take place in May this year.
Sandrine Umutoni, the Director General of Imbuto Foundation applauded the participants, saying that their innovations will help promote entrepreneurship alongside an innovative spirit.
She said all teams presented brilliant ideas, however the ones which won were selected mainly because of their originality, unique presentation and their ability to specifically target sexual reproductive health issues.
She encouraged those that didn’t take the prize not to lose hope but rather to work on developing their ideas further.
“Although only four teams won tonight, today is just the beginning for all the participants. Even those that have not made it shouldn’t think that this is the end, this means that you are to work a little bit differently on the ideas that you have been presenting,” Umutoni said.
Helen Nomugisha, the program assistant on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights at the Health Development Initiative, said that the Innovative Accelerator program will help young people, especially those with ambitions.
She said the youth are yet to develop themselves, as well as the country at large and they will do this through educating their fellow youth, about sexual reproductive health while profiting from their ideas as business ventures.
“This is a huge platform and it is evident that young people are really thinking critically. It’s a good thing to see young people having the courage to share their ideas with different partners who can actually help them to implement them,” she said.
Patrick Hirwa one of the winners and a fourth year student in creative design at College of Science and Technology appreciated the chance presented to him by the competition saying that now his dreams will finally become a reality.
“I am so happy, it’s still hard for me to believe that I have actually won. Even being among the top ten was a privilege. I truly am thankful for this great opportunity,” Hirwa said.
His project, Tubiganire focuses on producing a TV show focusing on sexual reproductive health. He hopes that both parents and their children will have access to it from their homes so it may initiate and encourage open conversations about these topics.
The iAccelerator challenge is a programme formed through collaboration between Imbuto Foundation and UNFPA, with funding from UKAid from the UK Government. It is a mentorship-driven acceleration programme which aims to explore new and engaging ways to tackle pressing sexual and reproductive health challenges, while promoting social entrepreneurship among young people.
The programme also encourages young people to think critically and creatively, about issues related to sexual and reproductive health and seeks to generate innovative, youth - led solutions to these issues.
The competition was launched in December last year, and was followed with a series of boot camps, outreach events and a media campaign throughout the country.
Top 4 Innovators
This idea, developed by teammates Shakila Umutoni and Dominique Alonga, will focus on creating Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) related comic books, for primary and secondary school students. They hope that the comic books will help to illustrate and deliver messages that are easily adaptable and appropriate for their particular target audience.
Developed by Hirwa Sylvain and Uhirwe Sylvie, is a website, and an already functioning web application easily accessible on Google Play, which provides ASRH information and services to all young people, including those in refugee camps.
Umbrella Digital Platform
Umbrella is a digital platform focusing on developing material to be used on through the web, mobiles and USSD application. It will have relevant information for girls and women, to help them track their menstrual cycle and providing important information on their sexual reproductive health. The idea was created by, Fileille Naberwe, Lionel Mpfizi, Jisca Ngendahayo, and Yves Ndejuru.
Tubiganire TV Show
Tubiganire TV show, is an idea developed by Hirwa Patrick. His idea will focus on producing a TV show that focuses on ASRH issues, targeted for teenagers and young adults.