Software Business Incubation Model Using ICTs for Sustainable Economic Development in Uganda
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In low-income countries, a recurring challenge in the use of mobile and web-based services to foster development is to ensure the economic sustainability of those new services after their initial launch. The Makerere University Software Business Incubation programme tests a novel approach to this challenge, by applying a venture-capital-like management discipline to ICT innovations created by students, recent graduates and staff of the College of Computing and Information Sciences. The incubation process, which has been refined over the past 3 years, has already resulted in six new business start-ups. Scaling up appears feasible, because of the very low capital funding needs of the programme: the new services are profitable from the start. This paper describes the programme’s structure and operational processes and gives several examples of the new services created, along with a discussion of the challenges faced and solved by the programme’s management.