Uganda leads Africa in multimillion acceleration program

The 2019 Hiil justice accelerator program

Uganda has the highest representation in the 2019 HiiL Justice Accelerator program, leading the continent in the number of startups participating in the prestigious program.

Uganda sent three startups while South Africa has two, Kenya (2), Nigeria (1), Sierra Leone (1), Benin (1) and Rwanda (1).

A total of seventeen startups are participating in the program that is a brainchild of the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL).

The others are from Ukraine, Bangladesh, India, Netherlands, and Ukraine.

The 2019 HiiL Justice Accelerator program, which began in October, is designed to help innovators “working on scalable, sustainable solutions” that are meant to improve access to legal services.

The startups were selected through the Innovating Justice Challenge, where the startups interacted with judges through online engagement, training and regional pitching session in seven locations around the world.

All of the innovators selected will receive an initial grant of EUR 5,000 (about Shs21 million), with additional funding and business service support available throughout the year, according to officials.

In total, all the innovators will get an initial grant of EUR85000 (about Shs365 million).

“This year is our largest ever cohort and we’re delighted to have participants from countries where HiiL hasn’t previously operated, including Benin, Bangladesh and India,” says Ellen Tacoma, director of the Justice Accelerator.

“The quality of applications has been exceptional, and we hope that all of those who didn’t make it through to the Accelerator will continue to stay in touch and be part of the HiiL network as we move on.”

HiiL supports entrepreneurs and innovators working on both for-profit and not-for-profit solutions through the Justice Accelerator.

The Ugandan startups that are participating in the 2019 HiiL Justice Accelerator program are Yunga, a local rescue digital network for neighbors, that allows them to communicate with each other in real time in case of attack; Tunga, an app that informs users about their employment rights.

The third is  Zimba Games, which is simplifying the justice ecosystem by simulating Ugandans experience through an entertaining card & board game, that mirrors their environment and subsequently empowers them.

This year’s innovations cover a wide variety of services for assisting with criminal procedures, legal services, property rights, and business contracting issues.

The solutions include mobile access to legal advice via shortcodes, a chatbot, an automated contracting platform and a board game.

“We’re looking forward to working with such a range of different ideas and experiences,” Tacoma says, “One of the most important parts of the program is learning from others as we all work towards the goal of access to justice for all.”

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