Makerere University was yet again privileged to host UN General Assembly President H.E. Dennis Francis, who visited the newly equipped Innovation Pod/Hub to see the ideas that students have turned into innovative products.
H.E. Dennis Francis, on January 20, 2024, challenged innovators to convert their brilliant ideas into meaningful assets, emphasizing that this is what intellectual property is about. “It is about creating value where there was none,” H.E. Dennis said.
Intellectual property, he said, can be traditional knowledge passed on from one generation to another as well as traditional herbs. “Africans are by nature imaginative and creative, so I have no doubt that this center will contribute to not just innovation but to the development of Uganda, Africa, and the global south,” he said.
The Makerere University Innovations Hub, which was recently established with funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is set to start driving the commercialization of innovations and enterprises resulting from the research undertaken by scholars and students at Makerere University.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, welcomed his H.E. Dennis Francis to Makerere University and expressed optimism that the innovation pod would transform innovators within Makerere and those outside the university. The VC welcomed the general public to use the facility, citing the first diesel engine made in Uganda by artisans in Entebbe. He said the artisans worked with the staff of Makerere on the project.
While welcoming the UN General Assembly President, the UNDP Country Representative, Elsie Attafuah, shared with him some of the developments UNDP has been engaged in, such as the ICT hub in Nakawa, Uganda’s digital transformation road map, as well as other regional initiatives. She hoped the Innovation Pod would facilitate the creation of thousands of startup companies, create jobs and business value, and ensure Africa is more competitive.
The Makerere University Innovations Pod is one of 13 pods created and supported by UNDP across the African Continent, under what the organization calls the “Tibukutu Initiative.”
Commissioned on January 9, 2024, the research facility is expected to drive technological advancements in the country. The Innovation Hub aims to provide a collaborative space for entrepreneurs and researchers to develop groundbreaking solutions. The hub will offer state-of-the-art facilities and resources to support the growth of startups and facilitate knowledge sharing. It will also foster networking opportunities and mentorship programs to help entrepreneurs navigate the challenges of starting and scaling their businesses. By providing access to cutting-edge technology and expertise, the Innovation Hub will empower entrepreneurs and researchers to push the boundaries of innovation in the country. Additionally, the hub will serve as a catalyst for job creation and economic growth by attracting investors and fostering collaboration between startups and established businesses.
View the video on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZSg4JEEXc8