What project are you leading right now and how does it use or improve technology?
My name is Esther Ndagire and I am the Founder of Creatives Emporium Limited with a flagship product, Big Box. Big Box is a 3 prong platform (Learning, Digital, Store) aimed to empower and upskill youth entrepreneurs while giving them global visibility.
Although Uganda was coined the most entrepreneurial country in the world, 95% of the ventures do not live beyond their first birthday. A broken ecosystem attributed to poor implementation of policies, lack of skilled talent, limited access to capital and poor market linkages has stifled the growth of entrepreneurship and more so, its role in socio-economic transformation.
Big Box intends to be a solution to this problem through; 1) an e-commerce site that will exclusively sell locally made products from youth-led enterprises to global markets, 2) provide digital marketing support and free access to learning and networking sessions as well as 3) a physical store. The platform will leverage existing technologies like WordPress to create an e-commerce site for products to be featured on and social networking sites to showcase the entrepreneurs' work.
Big Box envisions spearheading a movement of loving local and e-commerce purchases in Uganda with a focus on upskilling by being the first and only digital marketplace for local products made by youth with a learning component.
How many people will be impacted by your work?
My goal is to put 200 local youth entrepreneurs’ products on the global scene in the next 8 years with at least 15 on the e-commerce site by the end of 2020. This includes providing business development resources and access to learning sessions as well as 5 physical stores.
Furthermore, the success of these youth entrepreneurs doesn’t affect them alone. It stretches to their families and communities as well. In most cases, you’ll find that a youth entrepreneur has a child or two they are supporting, siblings they are paying tuition for, parents in their old age that need to be taken care of, a local community that needs support for an outreach programme, a friend that needs a business loan, the list could go on and on. Therefore, by empowering 200 local entrepreneurs, hundreds more would be impacted by their success.
What do you need to reach your goal?
Big Box requires financial support to create good quality content, establish logistics partners to ease the shipping processes and other operational expenditures. As an early-stage startup, all costs are covered by team members' salaries and savings.
What successes have you had?
The addition of a team member who is equally passionate about the Big Box vision as I am was a major win for me. We both have diverse skillsets that complement each other and will contribute to the platform’s growth and success.
Big Box has registered 3 entrepreneurs that are onboard to have their products featured on the e-commerce site as soon as its development is done.
We are currently building the e-commerce site and it should be ready to launch in 2 months.