Ugandan parliamentarian Boniface Okot stands next to Sumin Park, Director for the International Cooperation Division at the Ministry of SMEs and Startups
16 November 2023
ITC News

Ugandan policymakers and startups participated in the ComeUp global startup festival in the Republic of Korea. They strengthened partnerships with public and private startup institutions there, promoting the Ugandan startup ecosystem.

Parliamentarian Boniface Okot led the delegation, which included Ugandan government officials, staff from the International Trade Centre (ITC), and 10 outstanding graduates from the Youth Startup Academy Uganda (YSAU).

ITC launched the Academy in 2022 with the goal of bringing 1,000 young entrepreneurs through its incubator programme, funded by the Republic of Korea.

The 10 Ugandan startups seized a great opportunity with local investors, through a two-hour pitching session on 9 November at the ComeUp global startup festival in Seoul. They also got to meet investors at a special seminar.

The Ugandan entrepreneurs also got to pitch at the Korea-Uganda Startups Meet Up Day, held in partnership with the Korea-Africa Foundation on 13 November.

Encouraging startups in Uganda

YSAU also works to promote a policy environment that supports startups in Uganda. To that end, the Ugandan delegation visited the Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS), the Korea SMEs and Startups Agency, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology, and Gyeonggi Creative Economy Innovation Centre to learn about their startup policies and programmes.

Hive-Colab, as an implementing agency of the YSAU, made a partnership agreement with the Korea-Africa Foundation and Gyeonggi Creative Economy Innovation Centre to facilitate and strengthen innovative and entrepreneurship networking between the two countries.

Barbara Mutabazi, co-founder of the Uganda incubator Hive-Colab, has pioneered the startup ecosystem in Uganda for young entrepreneurs.

‘Our recent trip to Seoul and the partnerships forged with Korean institutions mark a significant milestone in advancing Uganda's startup ecosystem,’ she said. ‘We are thrilled to collaborate with Korea, leveraging their policy experiences and venture capital expertise to accelerate the growth of our startups.’

Sumin Park, Director for the International Cooperation Division at the Ministry of SMEs and Startups, welcomed the visitors.

‘Korea is very happy to support the Ugandan startup ecosystem through the Youth Startup Academy,’ she said. ‘We expect Korea’s policy experiences on the development of startup and venture capital could greatly benefit the journey to the Ugandan startup bill and policy.’

About the project

The Youth Startup Academy Uganda project, funded by the Korea SMEs and Startups Agency (KOSME), and implemented by ITC in partnership with Hive Colab, aims to incubate 1,000 young entrepreneurs from 2022 to 2024. The adaptation will build on the work done by the Korean Government, will take into consideration the circumstances in which Ugandan entrepreneurs conduct their business, and will include ITC’s knowledge and expertise in supporting entrepreneurs and accessing markets.