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Ugandan startup lands milestone Korean investment as 26 graduate from YSAU incubator programme

25 August 2023
ITC News

(Kampala) - A new group of 26 young entrepreneurs today graduated from an intense, six-month incubator at the Youth Startup Academy Uganda (YSAU). At the ceremony, one of the companies signed a milestone investment deal, and a new maker space highlighted YSAU’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurs.

YSAU is an entrepreneurship project inspired and funded by the Korea SMEs and Startups Agency (KOSME).

Since 2011, when the programme was first implemented by KOSME in the Republic of Korea, the initiative has supported the creation of 4,798 startups, including two unicorns with a current market valuation that exceeds $1 billion.

Working with KOSME, the International Trade Centre (ITC), the National Information Technology Authority of Uganda (NITA-U), and co-working hub Hive Colab, the programme wants to generate the first unicorn startup in Uganda.

This transformative programme aims to incubate and nurture the talents of a total of 1,000 young entrepreneurs. The ultimate goal is to foster a thriving startup ecosystem in Uganda, bolstering youth employment and the business establishment.

The Ugandan Ministry for Science Technology and Innovation represented by Mr. David Gonahasa, Superintendent Industry 4.0, attended the ceremony along with representatives from KOSME, UN Habitat, NITA-U and many others. The event testified to the dedication and hard work of the entrepreneurs.

The ceremony showcased the state-of-the-art maker space that YSAU created at Hive Colab. The maker space, equipped with machinery and tools, provides young Ugandan entrepreneurs with a facility to design and innovate their products before bringing them to markets.

At the ceremony, YSAU startup Yunga Technologies sealed an investment deal with Korean venture capital company Ventureport. Yunga is a security startup that provides an IoT/Device that forms a local rescue digital network for household communities’ safety.

The deal represents the first Korean venture capital investment into a Ugandan company. This pivotal moment underscored YSAU's commitment to not only providing quality training but also empowering its graduates to contribute to the economic growth and development of Uganda and beyond.

Other graduating startups included an array of businesses, from agritech to health care, and manufacturing to IT. The diversity of their work exemplifies YSAU's dedication to fostering entrepreneurship and innovation. The comprehensive entrepreneurial programmes encourage creative ideas that make a positive impact on the business landscape.

As YSAU embarks on the next chapter of its journey with a new cohort of entrepreneurs, the programme remains resolute in its mission to inspire, educate, and equip the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders. The partnership between ITC, KOSME, and Uganda's visionary stakeholders continues to illuminate the path towards a brighter and more prosperous future, where the fruits of innovation and hard work yield abundant rewards for Uganda's youth and its economy.


Note for the Editor

About ITC

ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development. For more information, visit www.intracen.org. Follow ITC on Twitter: @ITCnews 



KOSME is a non-profit, government-funded organization established to implement government policies and programmes for the sound growth and development of Korean SMEs. As an affiliated institution of Ministry of SMEs and Startups of Korea, the KOSME has dedicated its energy to support the stable management and growth of SMEs and startups since its establishment in 1979. For more information, visit http://www.kosmes.or.kr/sbc/SH/EHP/SHEHP001M0.do


About NITA-U

NITA-U is an autonomous statutory body established under the NITA-U Act 2009, to coordinate and regulate Information Technology services in Uganda. NITA-U is under the general supervision of the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance. NITA-U has a mandate to coordinate, promote and monitor Information Technology (IT) developments in Uganda within the context of National Social and Economic development. For more information, visit http://www.nita.go.ug


About Hive Colab

Founded in 2010, Hive Colab is Uganda’s pioneering technology incubator and collaborative space, fostering a community of over 10,000 members. With partnerships including Microsoft and Intel, Uganda Communications Commission, Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, Investors like Village Capital, pearl Capital, Advisors, Hivos, Indigo Trust, and others, Hive Colab has played a pivotal role in creating over 50 social tech and business enterprises, contributing to economic empowerment and innovation. As a founding member of Afrilabs, Hive Colab is deeply interconnected with regional tech incubators, enhancing its influence. Guided by a commitment to innovation, mentorship and nurturing, future technology leaders, Hive Colab continues to shape Uganda’s digital landscape. For more information, visit Hive Colab | Abuzz with Innovation


Media contact

Susanna Pak
Senior Strategic Communications Officer
International Trade Centre
E: pak [at] intracen.org (pak[at]intracen[dot]org)
T: +41 22 730 0651
M: +41 79 667 4660