As one of the ways to implement the national science, technology and innovation skills enhancement project, the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST) is fast-tracking the establishment of a Technology Innovation and Business Incubation Centre (TIBIC) at the Kampala Industrial Business Park in Namanve.
The facility, whose construction started in February this year and expected to be completed by May, 2022, will comprise of administrative block which will have offices, flexible workspaces and a smart conference room.
Other features include multimedia facilities, a cafeteria and a separate maintenance centre meant to support innovators in the automobile industry with a capability of accommodating up to 200 people.
According to Anthony Okimat, the project coordinator, the centre will act as a platform for technology development through the process industry learning factory model, including common user facilities and shared workspaces for scientists and innovators to help them further develop their technologies and business models.
Okimat said this during a tour of the facility recently and added that among the expected outcomes of the centre will be the enhancement of the emergency of technology oriented start-ups, increased competitiveness of the micro, small and medium enterprises sector through import substitution and export diversification as well as spurring locally-manufactured tool designs.
“This facility is meant to nurture scientists and innovators who are engaged in technology based star ups initiatives to ensure that they become viable businesses that can create employment and be able to provide import substitution and export promotion that we are aspiring as a country,” Okimat said.
“The scientists who have developed prototypes that can be viable enterprises will be coming to this centre and given business mentorship, financial advisory services and specialized technical services provided in specific areas of engineering.”
The facility will also be able to provide services like finished leather processing technologies, textile design technologies, state of the art testing units, training centres for multiple disciplines, quality up gradation, specialized research and development facilities, technical and business assistance services and specialized technological services.
Okimat noted that they will be outsourcing technology experts, science economists and business coaches who will impart skills and mentor innovators and further revealed that UNCST has already signed Memorandums of Understanding with the National Enterprise Corporation and Directorate of Industrial Training and partnership with the Private Sector Foundation to provide the training.
The three components of the National Science, Technology, Engineering and Innovation Skills Enhancement Project are the National Science, Technology, Engineering and Innovation Centre in Rwebitete, Kiruhura, the Technology Innovation Business and Incubation Centre at Namanve and the Technical Service Company.
The whole project is being funded by the government of Uganda and a loan from china through Exim Bank at a tune of $84.73 million (Shs 365 billion) over a five year period with the government of Uganda providing counterpart funding of catering for the local costs at an estimate of Shs 114 billion.