VP Alupo opens Korea-Africa Youth Start-Up Forum, says Uganda’s youth start-up project is on course


By Richard Onapatum

The Vice President of Uganda, Maj. (Rtd) Jessica Alupo, has opened the Korea-Africa Youth Start-Up Forum in Seoul, South Korea.


The forum is organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea on the sidelines of the ongoing Korea-Africa summit.


In her opening remarks, the Vice president said in 2022, the governments of the Republic of Korea and Uganda implemented the Youth Start-up Academy (YSAU) project and in collaboration with the Korea SMEs and Start-ups Agency (KOSME), they set an ambitious goal to incubate 1,000 young entrepreneurs by 2024.


“We are not far from achieving those goals and by the end of last year (2023), the project had supported 545 entrepreneurs offering services such as: Access to co-working space for the duration of the cohort; Access to local and international expert coaches to elevate their skills set; Exposure to International markets through exhibitions; Linkages to investors and Foreign Direct Investment in Start-ups; amongst others,” Alupo said.

VP officially opening the Korea-Africa youth start-up forum

She stressed that it is imperative that as we seek greater progress, we are mindful of the dynamics and demographics, especially as future economies will thrive not just by the collective strength of the youth, but also by the amount of knowledge our societies are able to hold and share amongst each other.


She explained that as youthful Ugandans graduate from an intense, six-month incubator course at the Youth Startup Academy Uganda (YSAU), their talent has paid off.


Alupo said since 201, when the programme was first implemented by KOSME in Korea, the initiative has supported the creation of 4,798 startups, including two unicorns with a current market valuation that exceeds USD1 billion.


“The Youth Startup Academy Uganda (YSAU0 alumni have been able to raise over $200,000 and generate $3.3 million raised through different Start-ups. This we concede, is a good starting point, but we can do more and better,” Alupo said.


She said the Youth Start-up Academy created a state-of-the-art collaboration space at Hive Co-lab in Kampala, which provides young Ugandans with a facility to design and innovate and finally bring their product to markets.


The vice emphasized that they were in Korea to acknowledge their collaboration with Korea in advanced technologies including digital technology to exploit their capacity to accelerate our National Development Goal (NDPIII) plans.


Currently statistics shows that 53.52 percent of the country’s population is aged between 15 to 64 years. “We indeed have a young population and our focus for prosperity is on educating, supporting, and nurturing a productive youth that makes meaningful contribution to the economy,” she noted.

She told the forum that the success of the people of Korea in transforming from an agrarian economy into a knowledge-based economy with a wide range of entrepreneurial and life skills, compelled us to establishing stronger bonds in the ICT sector.


In conclusion therefore, the vice president said they look forward to continued collaboration with a focus on knowledge transfer that will allow Africa to leapfrog into the knowledge economy on account of critical mass of Startups we expect to accrue from our relations with the Republic of Korea.

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