By Muduku Derrick Brian
The Uganda Christian University (UCU) department of Computing and Technology, which is under the Faculty of Engineering, Design and Technology, has organized the digital innovation praxis challenge. The digital challenge was held on Friday, May 20, 2022 in Nkoyoyo Hall at the UCU Main Campus.
The digital innovation praxis challenge has thematic areas of focus which include digital church and ministry, digital agriculture, digital engineering and creativity, digital engineering and creativity, digital environmental action, digital humanities, and digital health care.
The challenge involved eight teams with student-based digital innovations showcasing their products. The teams included Tap UG team, Healthy Me team, Rosebed Farms, Piabik UG Ltd, Sas Team, Victus team, My doc team, and Sio Valley Technologies.
Dr. Innocent Ndibatya, the Head of the Department of Computing and Technology, says that the challenge is meant to boost student innovations at UCU.
“It is about nurturing the next generation of innovators to use the digital space to solve the challenges that are faced in society,” he said.
Ndibatya says that the challenge cuts across all faculties as the department seeks to incorporate multi-disciplinary talent from the different schools and faculties.
“If you are to keenly look at the thematic areas we are focusing on, you will realize that we are targeting the involvement of all the schools and faculties within UCU,” he said.
Ndibatya adds that the objective of the challenge is to support student ideas, and at the end of every year, a startup or two should be realized from the project.
Patience Ankunda, the team organizer of the challenge, says that the challenge is in its first stage of operation.
“We are receiving submissions of ideas and, in the next stage, we expect 10 teams to take part in the challenge. Eventually, only 6 teams will be able to compete for the grand prize, “she said.
She adds that the challenge will run for six months starting in May, with a grand finale expected to happen in October with Shs. 15 million up for grabs for the best three teams that emerge from the competition.
Henry Wanume, the University Engagement Lead at Start Hub Africa and key note The speaker of the event says that the challenge will enable students to realize their digital innovation ideas.
“This is an opportunity for them to experiment and collaborate with established entrepreneurs to ensure that their ideas come to life,” he said.
Wanume advises young digital entrepreneurs to have their target market in mind.
It is important for them to have the end user in mind. They should ensure that they are getting the right reception from their market. That is key, “he said.
He adds that there are no bad ideas and that more young people should embrace the digital space to solve the challenges in society.
Isaac Ogola, the proprietor of Sio Valley Technologies and one of the participating teams, says that he is grateful for the opportunity to take part in the challenge.
It is an amazing experience to learn from fellow entrepreneurs. “The exposure of our products is crucial and we are recognizing that here,” he said.
Ogola says he is expecting his team to go as far as winning the competition because the artificial intelligence software he is developing will enable him to ensure that wastage of food is limited, which will ensure food security.
Simon Okello, a student pursuing a bachelor’s in business administration, says that he is delighted that there are opportunities for students to put what they study into practice.
“I believe we need platforms to put what we learn in class into practice.” That is the only way we shall make sense of what we study, “he said.
Okello says that he intends to be part of such projects organized by the university as he progresses with his academic journey.