Internships Incubating Youth-led Social Start-ups in Uganda
Empowering youth-led change through cost-effective experiential learning of social entrepreneurship
Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)
Each year in Uganda, 50,000 students graduate while only 10,000 jobs are created in the formal economy. In Sub-Saharan Africa more broadly, a graduate is three times more likely to be unemployed than a peer who never finished primary school (The Economist, 12th April 2017).
Our project idea is to support more of these graduates to develop into social entrepreneurs, able to create jobs for themselves and others whilst solving social issues. We believe the best way to do this is not by offering money, but an experiential learning framework for creating social ventures.
So, we will offer 3 month internship placements to cohorts of between 20 and 40 young Ugandans. These internships will be unlike anything else offered in Uganda. Rather than expecting interns to stay in the office and wait for instruction, they will form teams of 3-4 and go into communities, using human centered design methods to design and prototype a new social venture over the 3 month period.
We will guide this experience through a weekly workshop on Monday mornings introducing new tools to be completed during the week, as well as a 2 hour tutorial with each individual team at the end of each week.
By the end of the 3 months, we expect the majority of the new social start-ups to continue to develop into sustainable and impactful organisations. Other interns will have developed skills which will enable them to develop other enterprises throughout their careers.
Additionally, international volunteers will be able to come and participate in these internships to add their skills and cross-cultural collaboration. We believe this is a much more equitable and effective form of international volunteering. They will be able to continue to volunteer on the start-up when they return home over the internet.
Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)
Our primary beneficiaries are university students and recent graduates in Kampala, Uganda.
Our secondary beneficiaries are (1) young people who want to volunteer internationally, and (2) the beneficiaries of the youth-led social ventures we incubate.
How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)
Our idea provides the first professional support students are likely to receive as entrepreneurs. It bridges universities and traditional incubators, who are interested in small and medium sized ventures – not ideas and micro enterprise. It also targets social ventures, rather than any enterprises, as most other schemes do. Therefore, it will create a much larger pipeline of young people starting careers as effective social entrepreneurs in Uganda.
In Uganda, other organisations cannot afford to give such time to young people. Our idea is cost-effective because of its 'flipped-classroom' methodology where students are learning-by-doing under effective but limited supervision.
Our organisation, United Social Ventures, has developed a curriculum of toolkits to develop youth-led social start-ups. We are well-placed to adapt this curriculum to the internships format.
Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)
Pilot: I have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users.
Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)
UniTED Social Ventures empowers youth-led change through incubating social start-ups.
Organization Filing Status
Yes, we are a registered non-profit.
In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.
In early 2017, we were approached by Judith, a student at Makerere University with an idea we were incubating, to do an internship. We realised that our current offering of incubating youth-led social start-ups could be adapted to enable students to work full-time for 3 months on their ventures, and it could be accessible to those who didn't even have ventures at the start. So, we agreed to test the format with Judith, and it worked really well, with her team creating a website to help tailors.
Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).
Prosperity in Uganda, and more generally around the world, is threatened by youth unemployment and a lack of social enterprises. Peace is also impacted by youth unemployment and the poor quality of cross-cultural collaborations.
Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)
We will partner with universities to recruit interns. For our pilot in June-August 2018, we partnered with Makerere Development Studies Department to recruit 5 of our 20 interns.
Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)
Our community is a large number of young people wanting to lead change in their communities. They are creative and critical thinkers with compassion, courage and commitment.
How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)
The project will pilot 6 cohorts of interns over a 24 month period.
Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)
If Yes, how has project idea changed, grown, or evolved since last year? (2,000 characters)
Last year we submitted our tutorials program to the Bridgebuilder Challenge. This is our more developed format for incubating pre-existing youth-led social ventures. Our internship program is a new idea which we tested with 2 students in 2017, and are now piloting fully with 20 students over June to August 2018. It targets young Ugandans who do not yet have a social venture, but are interested in becoming social entrepreneurs. Therefore, it starts at an early phase of their journey as social entrepreneurs.