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  • Writer's pictureJohan Geysen

Uganda Experience & Bootcamp: Sustainable Technology for Africa

Updated: May 18, 2021

This 2018 trip by OVO investors & Sr coaches plus Jr coaches from Thomas More College to equatorial Africa is an astonishing experience - something I can truly advice to every entrepreneur or manager, business student over here. Kampala & the equatorial climate are already overwhelming, and the first days of local company visits revealed an exceptional entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiasm in the local Kampala startups.

Then came the 2-day bootcamp with the top-10 selection of teams with a clear plan for a planet-friendly and/or and society-engaged business idea. With the teams, Sr & Jr coaches we have been working hard on the ‘pocket MBA’ program. With full focus on the sustainability aspects, thanks to VITO.

No surprise the workshops lead to engaging, crystal-clear pitches, great story-telling, jury discussions and ultimately the prizes for the top-3 winners, handed over by the Belgian Ambassador.

In between sessions, everyone could enjoy the ‘Belgian Week’, with a fantastic concert by the indy band ‘Intergalactic Lovers’: equatorial heat uplifted.

I took a PAPUR sample with me to show, if need be, and in the warm humid climate it started to grow, right on my hotel table. It was also most interesting to meet Estella Goossens, a local artist working with bark cloth: a traditional fabric harvested from the same trees drums have been made for ages. We’ll try if PAPUR & bark cloth can be married in composite textiles. Looking forward to that.

This African experience confirmed, ripened one major reflection in my head. The American dream is not for Africa, nor any longer for us in the Western World. On the contrary we, the Western world, need to embrace and adapt to the African Dream. The North must learn lessons from the South. On the long run, our planet can not bear more. Today, mankind overconsumes what planet earth can replenish by 70% - year after year.

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