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IDEATION CORNER: EPISODE 9: Become an Overnight Success after 10 Years of Hustle – Japheth Kawanguzi 



The Ideation Corner is a platform that showcases Ugandan entrepreneurs, thinkers, innovators, policy makers and academics to share ideas and insights that inspire the youth.

In this episode of the Ideation Corner, Damali Ssali, the Founder, talks to Japheth Kawanguzi about his breakthrough with the Innovation Village project.

Japheth Kawanguzi is currently building the Innovation Village, Uganda’s launchpad for leading innovators and entrepreneurs, co-creating the future through the smart application of technology.

Kawanguzi works with mission-oriented entrepreneurs to capture new value, by creating products, experiences, and businesses, through digital technology.

In less than 3 years, the innovation village has grown to become a community of 110 start-ups with over 2,000 innovators, 40% of whom are young women, building solutions to urgent problems across 10 sectors.

With the support from private and public partners, the Innovation Village is on an expansion drive to have a presence in 9 locations across the country, which will see the building of 100 start-ups per year in 10 sectors.

The Innovation Village aspires to make Uganda the region’s best destination to become an entrepreneur with a target of employing 3,000,000 youth.


“If you have a dream and are willing to become an overnight success after 10 years  of hustle , go for it.”

Those were the words of Japheth Kawanguzi, the Innovation Village Founder and Chief Executive Officer, during the Damali Ssali Ideation Corner show.

He made the remarks in reference to the Innovation Village’s recent partnership with the MasterCard Foundation under the Young Africa Works Strategy, saying it brought overnight success after a decade-long struggle.

“This is one of the most brilliant partnerships that has happened to us since we got onto the journey of making Uganda the best place to be an entrepreneur. This was overnight success that took 10 years,” he says.

Under the partnership, the Innovation Village will work with MasterCard to create 3 million decent jobs for Uganda’s young people over the coming five years.

The Innovation Village will offer mentorship to young entrepreneurs to sharpen and nurture their ideas into good business solutions.

Talking about his entrepreneurship journey, Japheth has only one word to describe it – difficult.

“I once asked for advice from someone about my entrepreneurship journey and they told me that ‘you would be lucky not to consider suicide’. Another one told me ‘you need to have a metallic backbone for you to do that,” Kawanguzi says.

He adds: “It is a painful journey, the one we call the trough of sorrow in entrepreneurship. But if you stick to it, it will eventually work out; but it does not happen in less than four years.”


While the Innovation Village has been in existence for four years, Japheth has been around the innovations industry for the last 10 years.

His journey dates back to 2011, when he used to do innovation competitions in partnership with telecommunication companies, where winners would be awarded. He, however, says that that was not enough to develop and nurture their innovative ideas into profitability.

While he took a break from active innovation and tried to cut out a career in the corporate energy sector, he rediscovered his calling in 2014, after reading a news story about yet another innovation competition.

“When I read it, I noticed that they were using the usual standard approach to nurturing innovations where they could only award the top three out of 100 submissions, leaving out the 97 ideas,” he explains.

He thought of how to change this approach, and thus Innovation Drives Entrepreneurship and Achievement (IDEA) was born, leading to the establishment of the 97 Fund later.

“The 97 Fund was to answer the question ‘What  happens to the 97 ventures?’; so the Innovation  Village is here to support ideas that normally do  not win such competitions,” he says.

The Innovation Village, which is the launchpad of Uganda’s leading entrepreneurs and innovators, seeks to create solutions to the current challenges through the smart application of technology.  It offers expertise to young innovators to, among others, understand and validate their ideas, access markets and supportive infrastructure, plus acceleration and incubation opportunities.

Since inception, Innovation Village has expanded into a community of 110 start-ups with over 2,000 young innovators, 40% of whom are women.

With support from public and private partners such as MasterCard it has embarked on an expansion drive, establishing centres across the country in its quest to ensure that Uganda becomes the best innovation destination for entrepreneurs in the East African region.

“Entrepreneurs are not just in Kampala. We are looking at supporting the development of an ecosystem and at the same time have fund capital to capitalise these entrepreneurs,” he says.


The Innovation Village also recently moved into the creative space after realising that despite having a number of  people in the sector, many others were not accessing services such as a 3D  printer.

“I saw more creative opportunities in the sector and in partnership with Motive Labs and MasterCard Foundation we were inspired  to create a community for young creators in  food, fashion, wood, film, media, metal and  entertainment, because that is closer to the  population,” he explains.

Unlike other creative spaces, his creative space affords beneficiaries the necessary tools they need to offer the various solutions.

It has also built physical and online marketplaces and will soon open up retail shops for people playing in the creative space. Kawanguzi says the creative space still has a lot of untapped potential.


Whereas projects like The Innovation Village are transforming lives, Kawanguzi believes the government must actively facilitate entrepreneurship with favourable policies and incentives.

“The work we do in building the ecosystem is not a private sector job. It is not my job. That is a public good. It is the city of Kampala that is responsible for making Kampala the best city to be an entrepreneur in Africa. How they do that is through the type of incentives, the type of policy, the type of opportunities and the type of support they give. That is the city’s job,” he argued.

As a start, he recommends that the Kampala Innovation District should be created where businesses are all focused on catalysing opportunities for innovation. The successes from this district would then be duplicated in other places.


The post IDEATION CORNER: EPISODE 9: Become an Overnight Success after 10 Years of Hustle – Japheth Kawanguzi  first appeared on ChimpReports.

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Nic Dlamini is set to be first black South African at Tour de France




South African cyclist Nic Dlamini
Nic Dlamini is set to become the first black South African to ride the Tour de France

Nic Dlamini will make history at this year’s Tour de France by being the first black South African to compete in cycling’s most famous race.

The 25-year-old will be one of the eight riders for Africa’s only top-flight professional cycling team Qhubeka-Assos at the Tour, which runs from 26 June until 18 July.

He will be the only African on the team that will be jointly led by Australia’s Simon Clarke and Austrian Michael Gogl as well as including the Italian 2015 Vuelta a Espana winner Fabio Aru.

“Being selected to ride in my first Tour de France is an absolute dream come true for me,” Dlimani said.external-link

“It’s always been an childhood dream and now that I’m about to live it makes it feel surreal.

“I think it speaks to what the team is about, the Ubuntu spirit [I am because we are], and how we change people’s lives because it is honestly a very special moment: to come from a small township and then to go to the Tour de France.”

He becomes the latest rider to progress from the South African-registered team’s development squad and onto the UCI WorldTour.

Humble beginnings

South African cyclist Nic Dlamini

The 25-year-old, who grew up in an informal settlement in Cape Town, first caught the eye as a runner before moving into cycling where his talents saw him move to the UCI’s World Cycling Centre Africa in Potchefstroom, South Africa.

“Considering where I come from it would simply have been impossible for me to have the opportunity to ride at the Tour de France if it wasn’t for Team Qhubeka-Assos,” he explained.

“The platform that they’ve provided me, and other riders from Africa, to compete at the highest level in cycling has been critical.

“I really hope that this will serve as a reference of hope and inspiration to many young South Africans, and people around the world, who have been working really hard to reach their dreams. My hope is that they take from this that anything is possible.

“I want to race the Tour to inspire more kids on Qhubeka bikes to follow in my footsteps and to experience the world like I have, for more kids in communities to put their hands up for bikes to work hard like I did, to dream big.”

According to the team “Dlamini’s style of racing will likely see his talents deployed in the offensive strategy the team will look to pursue during the race, while also playing a key supporting role in the flatter stages.”

The team is completed by Belgium’s Victor Campenaerts, Max Walscheid of Germany, debutant Sean Bennett of the USA and Colombian Sergio Henao.

Qhubeka-Assos’ team principal Douglas Ryder also hopes that Dlamini’s inclusion is a special moment.

“For Nic, what a moment though; his story is simply an incredible one and for him to have earned this opportunity shows that dreams really do come true, and for the team to have provided that opportunity makes me incredibly proud,” he said.

“He’s always been an individual that has stepped up and taken the opportunities that he’s fought for; and he does so again as he lines up at the startline in Brest on the sport’s biggest stage in front of the world.

“This will culminate in an incredible moment for him, South Africa and especially for our team.

“His selection speaks to everything about what we’ve created and built with this team through providing hope, an opportunity and then ultimately the platform to be on the biggest stage of all, the Tour de France.”

The only African rider to have worn the Tour de France leader’s famous ‘yellow jersey’ is Dlamini’s compatriot Darryl Impey, who wore it for two stages in 2013.

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In COVID hit Asia, mixed messages on refugee vaccinations | Coronavirus pandemic News




Medan, Indonesia – Earlier this month, dozens of Rohingya refugees landed on a deserted island off the coast of Indonesia’s Aceh Province.

The refugees had been at sea for more than 100 days, having left Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh in a rickety wooden fishing boat, and were spotted huddling on uninhabited Idaman Island by local fishermen who used the island as a rest stop between fishing trips.

By June 5, just a day after their arrival, all 81 refugees, including children, had been vaccinated against COVID-19.

“The refugees were vaccinated in conjunction with the local government,” Nasruddin, the humanitarian coordinator of Geutanyoe Foundation, an NGO which provides education and psychosocial support to refugees in Indonesia and Malaysia, told Al Jazeera.

“When we found them, they were in a crisis situation on the island with no food, water or electricity, so local residents brought them food and we also brought them 50 tanks of water,” he added. “The feeling on the ground was that we needed to share our vaccines with the refugees in order to protect them as well. No one complained that the vaccines were being given to refugees.”

Aceh Province has been widely praised by humanitarian groups, NGOs and the general public for vaccinating Rohingya refugees, but elsewhere in Southeast Asia, asylum seekers, refugees and migrant workers have not been so lucky.

Hard line

When Nasruddin assessed the 81 refugees on Idaman Island, they told him that they had wanted to go to Malaysia. Some had family members who were already living there, while others were under the impression that the country had a more liberal policy towards refugees than its neighbours.

Some of the Rohingya refugees who arrived in Aceh earlier this month. They told NGOs that they had wanted to go to Malaysia because they had family there or thought it would be more welcoming to refugees than other countries in Southeast Asia [Cek Mad/AFP]

But like most countries in Southeast Asia, Malaysia is not a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention and while the government has said it will vaccinate everyone living in the country, it has also taken a hard line on undocumented migrants and refugees, including Rohingya.

“In February, the cabinet decided that in the interest of pandemic recovery all foreigners would receive vaccination free of charge, including refugees and undocumented migrants,” Lilianne Fan, the co-founder and international director of Geutanyoe Foundation who is based in Kuala Lumpur, told Al Jazeera.

“The COVID-19 Immunisation Task Force and Science Minister Khairy Jamaluddin as coordinator of the vaccination programme, have been vocal advocates of this approach.

“However, the recent statement of the minister of home affairs that those without valid documents should not be vaccinated, combined with renewed crackdown on undocumented migrants, contradicts the government’s earlier position and will simply drive more people into hiding and slow down Malaysia’s pandemic recovery.”

Malaysia went into its second strict lockdown at the beginning of June after cases of coronavirus surged – stretching hospitals and intensive care units to the limit. The health ministry announced 6,440 new cases on Friday.

The government has indicated that it will ease the lockdown as more people are vaccinated, and Khairy has consistently stressed that the programme will include everyone living in the country.

But as it did during last year’s first lockdown, Malaysia has once again stepped up operations against undocumented migrants.

Malaysia’s Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin has declared that PATI – the acronym for undocumented people in the Malay language – will be detained and sent to immigration detention centres.

This month, he stressed that undocumented migrants had to “surrender” before they would be vaccinated.

In early June, a video from state news agency Bernama showed 156 undocumented migrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar being sprayed with disinfectant in Cyberjaya, near Malaysia’s international airport, after they had been detained.

Last week the immigration department shared a post on its Facebook page – styled like a poster for an action movie – with the headline “Ethnic Rohingya migrants are not welcome”. After an outcry, but not before it had been widely shared among refugee communities, it was deleted.

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia on Monday expressed concern at “recent statements portraying migrants, undocumented or irregular migrants, refugees and asylum seekers as a threat to the safety and security of the country and a risk to the health of Malaysians” and urged the government to rethink its approach.

“Instilling fear through threats of arrests and detention of undocumented foreigners is counterproductive in light of ongoing efforts to overcome the pandemic and achieve herd immunity,” it said, stressing the clear differences in the situations of migrant workers, and refugees and asylum seekers.

Malaysia closed its borders during the first strict lockdown last year when immigration officers carried out a number of raids on areas under ‘enhanced’ lockdown. Rights groups fear more raids will deter people from coming forward for the vaccine that is crucial to Malaysia ending the COVID pandemic [File: Lim Huey Teng/Reuters]

Rohingya made up about 57 percent of the 179,570 refugees registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia at the end of May.

Unofficial estimates suggest the country may have as many as three million undocumented migrants, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Widespread problem

The mixed messaging on vaccinations for refugees is not exclusive to Malaysia.

In a statement released in early June, the UN refugee agency warned that a shortage of vaccines in the Asia Pacific region was putting the lives of refugees and asylum seekers at risk.

“Refugees remain especially vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19. Overcrowded settings, coupled with limited water and sanitation facilities, can contribute to increased infection rates and an exponential spread of the virus,” UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said in the statement.

There are almost 900,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, making it the single largest and most densely populated cluster of refugee camps in the world. According to Mahecic, the number of COVID-19 cases in the camps has increased dramatically in the last two months.

As of 31 May, there had been more than 1,188 confirmed cases among the refugee population, with more than half of these cases recorded in May alone.

None of the refugees in Cox’s Bazar has yet been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Mahecic added that, in many countries in the Asia Pacific region, there were not enough vaccines to go around, leading to groups such as migrant workers and asylum seekers being sidelined.

The UNHCR had observed a “worrying increase” in the number of coronavirus cases among refugees and asylum seekers in countries including Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, he said.

Indonesia, at least, appears to be starting to do more to address the problem.

The UNHCR says COVID-19 has begun to accelerate in the crowded refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar, but no Rohingya living there have been vaccinated [File: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters]

Other parts of the country have started to follow Aceh’s lead, according to the IOM, which vaccinated more than 900 refugees in the Indonesian city of Pekanbaru in Riau Province in early June in collaboration with the local government.

“IOM applauds the response of the City Government of Pekanbaru for making vaccines available to the refugee community in the city,” Ariani Hasanah Soejoeti, the national media and communications officer of IOM Indonesia told Al Jazeera, adding that all refugees in the city over the age of 18 have now received vaccines.

“Vaccines are one of our most critical and cost-effective tools to prevent outbreaks and keep individuals and therefore entire communities safe and healthy,” she said.

“The virus knows no borders or nationality; and neither should our solidarity.”

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Why Ethiopia’s 'alphabet generation' feel betrayed by Abiy




PM Abiy Ahmed swept to power after mass protests, but his Oromo community still feel like outsiders.

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