The Global Startup Awards Africa Summit, held in Addis Ababa, bore witness to a triumphant year for Ugandan startups. In a powerful display of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, these startups walked away with two of the top honors. The event, co-hosted by the Global Innovation Initiative Group (GIIG), the Ethiopian Ministry of Labour and Skills, and the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology, with support from the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) Ethiopia, recognized a total of 16 outstanding African startups.
Uganda's Standout Achievement: Best Co-working Space and Best Commerce Tech
During an awe-inspiring awards ceremony in Ethiopia's capital city, Ugandan startups dominated two categories, namely Best Co-working Space and Best Commerce Tech. These accolades underline the innovation and commitment of these startups to redefine the entrepreneurial landscape.
Zofi Cash: Revolutionizing Salaries and Challenging the Status Quo
The prestigious Best Commerce Tech award was claimed by Zofi Cash, a startup on a mission to revolutionize how salaried individuals access their wages. Paul Kirungi, the founder and CEO of Zofi Cash, expressed, “This isn’t simply an award but a mandate that echoes our commitment to disrupting the antiquated monthly pay system, a system that promotes inequality and inhibits progress. Yet, our journey has just begun."
Tech Buzz Hub: Creating Inclusive Workplaces and Dreams
Tech Buzz Hub was bestowed with the Best Co-working Space award. This company is dedicated to creating inclusive workspaces, with a vision to empower young entrepreneurs to realize their business dreams. Keneth Twesigye, CEO of Tech Buzz Hub, couldn't contain his excitement, saying, “I can’t feel any better. I can’t control my emotions.” This award signifies the company's remarkable journey toward empowering entrepreneurs.
This year's victorious Ugandan startups faced fierce competition. They were up against 2,682 entrants from the region and were among more than 8,200 entrants overall. Their success in this challenging landscape showcases the extraordinary talent and innovative spirit that resides in Uganda.
A Window to Investment: The GIIG Africa Fund
This year's winners will have the exclusive opportunity to engage with the GIIG Africa Fund, the competition's dedicated investment partner. The GIIG Africa Fund and the GIIG Africa Foundation are dedicated to discovering, funding, and nurturing African solutions to global challenges. This platform will provide an avenue for African startups to make a global impact.
A Rigorous Selection Process: An Independent Panel of Judges
The competition involved a rigorous selection process, with entrants competing at the national level before advancing to the regional finals. The winners were determined by an independent panel of judges, ensuring a comprehensive view of the African tech ecosystem.
A Unified Vision: Elevating African Innovation
Jo Griffiths, co-founder of the GSA Africa and GIIG, emphasized the mission of the Global Startup Awards Africa: to elevate African innovation as a unifying force that transcends borders and cultures. This recognition provides a common language, fostering understanding and connection, and offering a platform for shared visions with scaled impact.
Caitlin Nash, co-founder of GSA Africa and GIIG, echoed this sentiment and called for collaboration to nurture African innovators. She expressed a continuous search for organizations that share the vision of supporting young leaders with the energy, local knowledge, and commitment to uplift the African continent.
A Bright Vision for Africa: The Words of Dignitaries
The ceremony witnessed the participation of dignitaries who shared their visions for Africa. Her Excellency Muferihat Kamil, Minister of Labour and Skills, encouraged startups to carry Africa's future on their shoulders. She envisioned a continent that stands tall, a place of innovation and economic vitality rather than poverty and despair.
His Excellency Dr. Belete Molla Getahun, Minister of Innovation and Technology, underscored the need to support entrepreneurship urgently, highlighting the demographic dividend from Africa's sizable young population. He called for the fostering of local innovation ecosystems, recognizing that Africa's disruptors are prepared to leave their mark on the global startup landscape.