There is something warm, something about the word village. If grew up in an African setting where the village is an essential part of child’s upbringing. The word village immediately invokes the memory of home, of roots and of bonds.
The Innovation Village is one of those places preceded by reputation. Its work in the innovation and entrepreneurship sector is not only profound but also transcendental on an individual, societal, and global scale. Innovators call it home and its founder, CK Japheth, agrees that one of the striking aspects of this place is how its architectural design was executed to meet and serve its deeper purpose – a birth place of ideas that are nursed until they reach the functional plane.
On a stroll through the labyrinth of the Village, past the lively color-splashed walls, into the unconventional office design, floor, when faced with the peculiar artefacts that hang in odd places at peculiar angles, one ponders about the architectural marvel that defines space. The Village, as it’s fondly called by its denizens begins to shape in your mind.
Since inception, innovators and entrepreneurs at the village have made rapid and profound impact on society through their programs that merit attention.
A very important part of The Innovation Village, is the physical nature of its work space. Its design helps to accomplish its mission of launching ideas and seeing them to fruition.
On getting off the lift on the third floor, block B, right beside the reception is a gargantuan sports motorbike. And that is only a first. The color blocked walls are quite a sight to behold, as the traditional office shades of cool blue and clinical white ditched for bold yellow Mustards, fiery reds, gothic blacks and lively aqua blues dazzle the eye. The Graphic wall art with inspiring quotes and mammoth faces of notable societal figures stare out from the walls besides their quotes. Somewhere, Obama’s face looks out from the wall, saying, “We did not come to fear the future, we came here to shape it.”
Whether you learn about the function of this space before or after encountering it impacts you and explains the reason The Innovation Village was designed this way. It’s a space meant to stimulate the mind. To encourage the mind to dangle dangerously off the cliffs of imagination. To let the mind go into a free fall. To nudge you out of your comfort zone, and to set you free into the wild. It is where the essence of novelty required for innovation abounds.
One of the words that reverberate at events where The Innovation Village features is the, “Eco System.” Statistically most start-ups fizzle out before their first birthday because of the unstable economy. With this in mind, The Innovation Village came to change the trend by putting in place an ecosystem that ensures these budding start-ups not only survive but thrive. By creating an environment heavily charged with opportunity.
This is why the Village is so designed. To share space with start-ups/innovators, investors, regional and international partners. The design recognises the natural relationship that develops between human beings living in proximity. By opening its space entrepreneurs and investors who are interested in seed organizations. The Village ensures that the start-ups do not snuff out and become another statistic of failed innovation. The relationship between design and technology has been documented in Academia circles. The environment has psychological and physiological impact on a human being. The Innovation Village is a living example of how a work space can be crafted to impact the human mind and society. Little wonder that this nurturing space is called The Village because it does what villages do to support and sustain humanity.
With the mode of operation tested, the Village created Innovation Spaces in major cities of Uganda. In 2020, following the Game Changers Roadshow campaign, the Village went to Jinja, Uganda’s industrial city since colonial days. Then to Mbarara, a city that is the heart of trade in the West and Gulu, a city rebuilding in the aftermath of a 20-year war.
Towards the end of 2019, The Innovation Village committed to changing the lives of 300,000 Ugandan youth by 2025 through creation of dignified and fulfilling work opportunities. This is part of its pledge in a partnership with The Mastercard Foundation that seeks to do the same for 30 million young people by 2030. With ventures like UPSkill – a skilling and reskilling academy and Tukole, a digital platform for blue collar workers and service providers, The Village and The Foundation are coasting to phenomenal success.
With this partnership a future of innovation and entrepreneurship is tangible. To ensure that no sector is left unattended, more sector innovation labs are planned namely; Agtech, Energy, Insuretech, Edtech, Fintech, Tourism, Health, Supply Chain, Manufacturing and Media.
Do you want to be a part of The Village? You could start with exploring our website here: https://innovationvillage.co.ug/ or visit our headquarters at The Innovation Village, on Ntinda Complex.