The project to establish an Agribusiness Incubation Hub (AIH) started in March 2018 with a two year funding arrangement from Master Card Foundation, through the Regional Universities Forum (RUFORUM). The project is being implemented in partnership with ExcelHort Consult (EHC)Ltd, an agribusiness incubator, in Koryanorya, Mbarara.
The AIH aims to enhance the development of entrepreneurial skills for innovative employment opportunities for young university graduates. Specifically, the hub is being established to build the capacity of young graduates in entrepreneurship and smart business skills, nurture innovative enterprises and ensure their potential to succeed in an open and competitive market environment, establish a partnership with private and public sectors, and other stakeholders for the purpose of mentoring the young entrepreneurs, and facilitate linkages between their enterprises and potential markets, service providers, with relevant market information.
The project has conducted sensitization sessions to staff and students about the possibility of incubating student business ideas until they become competitive enterprises. The incubatees who joined in 2018 have received training in various aspects of innovation, doing smart business, social media, and entrepreneurship.
The incubatees have formed companies (some registered) as a way of showing commitment to long term production, enterprise expansion, and employment creation.
A total of up to 50 incubatees have formed 10 companies, with an average of 5 members each. The next tab shows a table that summarises information about the companies, their innovative product and their unique value proposition in the market.
Issues at hand
The issues at hand are both at the individual company and at the institutional levels.
(a) Company level (Incubatees)
The companies formed by the incubatees, at the moment only have start-ups. Funds are required for
- Lab and field experimentation for some, while for others funds are required for commercialization of the developed products
- Internship arrangements for incubatees to gain more technical skills e.g Mushroom value addition at the Mushroom Research and Training Centre (MTRC) in Kabale, Fruit Juice processing with Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI), in Nakawa and Banana fibre processing, with TEXFAD, Seeta, Mukono.
(b) Institutional Level
BSU is a growing private, not for profit university, and as such still needs financial support for infrastructural development. There is a need for a production facility, a basic food testing lab and equipment, A facility to house a Digital Innovation Hub, as part of the AIH, Purchase of university equipment for students to learn from within the university.
Summary of Companies and products in the Agribusiness Incubation Hub (AIH) at BSU.
|Company||No. of students||Innovative Product||Unique value proposition||Progress to date|
|1. Royal Family investments Ltd.||15||Herbal Yoghurt (4 types; Moringa, Beetroot, Hibiscus,
Aloe vera) Other products include Papaya fruit juice, papaya tea, tree tomato
|This yogurt contains herbal extracts and is not just conventionally flavored. It, therefore, has an array of nutritional benefits over and above ordinary yogurt.||The prototype has been developed, currently in the process of lab experimentation to ascertain nutrient levels in different concentrations of herbal extract.|
|2. Herbalink Co. Ltd.||7||Herbal Acaricide, pesticide, Ecto-parasite repellant||In the cattle corridor of western Uganda, tick resistance to drugs is a serious challenge to livestock farmers. The solution to this lies in the use of indigenous herbal solutions that will not only be cheap to produce but also easy to access and carrying less risk compared to inorganic products.||Prototypes have been produced, with the potential to kill ticks and other pests. Experimentation (Field and Lab) is going on to establish the efficacy of the products.|
|3. Magezi Energy Co. Ltd||3||Briquettes from food and farm wastes (Banana peels, coffee husks, maize, cassava paste, etc) Briquette saving stoves, Chicken Brooders||The products contribute to household and farm waste management in a manner that lessens the use of wood fuel and deforestation.||Products have been made and tested. Good for domestic use, schools, and restaurants, and the size of the stove and briquettes varies accordingly. Funds are required to promote and commercialize them.|
|4. Active Living||5||Lemon after-shave, Lemon hand-wash, (others eg Onion powder,)||Handy skin-care products locally made from lemon||The products are already in use in local hair salons and restaurants. They replace the use of fresh lemon juice on the skin in local salons.|
|5. Pomic International Ltd.||7||Banana fibre products among other products.||A very cheap local material that can be turned into useful products such as paper bags to replace polythene bags.||A variety of products have been made; banana fibre paper bags, table mats, wall hangings. Equipment for mass production of the paper is required.|
|6. Amorine Investments||4||Mushroom products (dried mushroom, powder)||Venturing into nutritious food preparations with the addition of mushroom powder.||The group has learned how to grow mushrooms, dry them and make powder. More products and food mixtures can be learned from the Mushroom Research and Training Centre (Kabale).|
| 7. Juka
8. Pendo Co. Ltd9. Berna Investments
|– Fruit Juices (Mango,
– Fruit Juices
– Tomato ketchup
|Fruit Juice, jam, and tomato ketchup processed from locally available fruits and vegetables.||Up to 8 products have been produced and are being tested for shelf life|
|10. Micton- Agrifoods U. Ltd||5||A variety of products including lemongrass yogurt||Venturing into new and unconventional flavors of yogurt||Products have been made and are out in the market. Funds are required for expansion.|