View of Garage48 by an African Startup Enthusiast
November 10, 2011
What influence does Garage48 have to local ICT communities? Richard was the local organizer for Garage48 Kampala in September 2011. He has seen how the event has changed and given meaning and motivation for ICT community in Kampala even within 6 weeks already.
6 weeks have gone by since Garage48 first event in Kampala and still the IT fraternity here talks about how great the experience was. Garage48 event showed many in the tech community how possible it is to get things done in a short time once we put our mind to it. However, most importantly was how it showed Ugandans what the startup culture is all about and what it entails. Many of the participants learnt that it is not all about getting a prototype out there but developing it into a product and building a business around it.
As a startup enthusiast, I believe that Uganda has the potential to get as many startups as possible out there to drive innovation, all we need is the perseverance and consistency. more lessons that we're picked from garage48 include:
- The value of an idea lies in it's implementation.
- A great team is very important to building a great product
- building a business around your product is as challenging than creating the product.
Gerald Odur, one of the participants of the event described the event “The event was awesome!! can't wait for the next!!” Damian, another participant from the Somesha team went on to describe the event as “That is a step in Ug IT innovations and creativity. Make it annual for a chance to new ideas. Nice progress.”
My interactions with Garage48 teams and participants have showed me how far they have come ever since the event ended and the challenges they face. For example, The MafutaGo team has improved its application however, the main challenge they face is explaining the concept to Gas station owners. This has not stopped them from looking for more business opportunities with help from some of the Garage48 attendees despite being turned down multiple times. The challenge I have recognized that teams mainly face is with the marketing of their idea and the persistence to keep improving their products! Some of the teams have received interest from various parties (Mobivisa) , however, how to approach this business part of things is a challenge to them.
Garage48 brand has provided a platform for the startup community in Uganda to have access to seed funding and create awareness about their products. It is now up to us to keep the passion, persistence and vision of getting our startups out there.
As a garage48 local organizer, the level of exposure I got from this event was so tremendous. I am therefore more than enthusiastic to see the startup community in Uganda grow and bring forth some really great products. The challenge is to now create more awareness about what the startup community is all about, bring more mentors on board to support the community and provide more access to funding.
-Richard Zulu, co organizer for Garage48 Kampala from Ugandan side