Mara Launchpad is an exciting incubator and co-working space in Kampala, Uganda.
Following the lead of other innovation spaces across the continent, Mara Luanchpad’s mission is to create an open-ended model which allows for incubation, investment, capacity building and scale. Thus, Mara’s entrepreneurs get access to a place to work together as well as access to early stage seed funding and later stage venture capital.
When you first visit the Launchpad, you’ll notice how densely packed the pace is with desks. These desks are paid for by entrepreneurs using Mara as their startup headquarters. Here they are given access to filing cabinets, meeting rooms, fast internet, a boardroom for meetings and other resources that might prove elusive for early-stage companies.
Mara is conveniently located directly across the street from Makerere University which makes it prime real-estate for student entrepreneurs who need a quiet, professional space to work along or in teams. The space is called the ‘Launchpad’ because of the perfect storm of resources available to participants seeking to ‘launch’ their projects or businesses in a friendly environment.
Appfrica Executive Director Bahiyah Yasmeen Robinson and Director of Advocacy Jon Gosier met with Mara Foundation Director Nigel Ball to discuss a number of opportunities for collaboration (between Appfrica and Mara Foundation), as well as their respective hubs (HiveColab and the Launchpad, respectively).
Despite what might exist as a perception of being a nascent tech community, Uganda’s Mara and Hive are only two of the many resources available to Uganda’s technology entrepreneurs and enthusiasts. By working together, the Ugandan incubator and investment community hopes to spawn a friendly competitive environment that allows all the various initiatives (and perhaps more importantly the entrepreneurs themselves) to thrive.
Apiyo Oweka (of Mara Foundation) and Daniel Stern (co-founder of Hive and Director of UConnect) also met with Appfrica to discuss the need the need to for more cohesion amongst business owners in Kampala’s growing market. Needless to say these conversations have spawned a number of new ideas, and will lead to many new great things for all involved!
Photos: Jon Gosier