Makerere students in U.S. for Big Ideas contest, Ugandan on judging panel
Five Makerere University students are at the University of California, or UC, Berkeley ahead of Big Ideas Contest where they’ll pitch their mobile application to compete with other 6 projects from other universities for U.S.$5000 (about Shs18.7 million) prize.
Dubbed Cloud-based Emergency Response System (CERS), the mobile application enables real-time matching of ambulances to patients.
Moses Kintu (team lead), Joy Martha Bawaya, Jordan Ongwech, and Nelson Mandela say they created CERS to reduce on the problem of inadequate and unreliable public ambulance services which result in slow emergency response times, additional injury to casualties and an altogether diminished chance of survival in critical cases.
The other member on the team is Trevor Nagaba, who completed his bachelor’s degree last year.
CERS is a USSD app.
Launched in 2006, Big Ideas Contest is an annual competition aimed at providing funding, support, and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of innovative students.
Apart from the cash prize won at the Big Ideas Grand Prize Pitch Day, the Contest also mentors students and connects them to powerful investors. Organizers say this year they received “a record 336 applications representing more than 1,000 students, across 12 universities”. Only 7 will face off on the final day.
The Big Ideas Grand Prize Pitch Day will be held on Wednesday, April 24 at UC Berkeley’s Blum Hall.
It should be recalled that Dickson Mushabe, the award-winning chief executive officer of Hostalite, a software company based in Uganda, will be among the judges of the Pitch Day.
Other teams that will feature at the Big Ideas Grand Prize Pitch Day are:
Intelligent Bugs Mapping and Wiping: An affordable, unmanned ground vehicle that uses machine learning to recognize and spatially map agricultural pests. (UC Merced)
Isochoric Preservation System: Extends the preservation of live organs up to 72 hours, thus transforming the accessibility of organ transplantation. (UC Berkeley)
Kaloum Bankhi: A durable and culturally appropriate housing solution for residents in Kaloum, Guinea. (UC Berkeley)
Qloak: A hub for information about spaces that have been proven to support the LGBTQ+ community (businesses, restaurants, doctors, etc.). (UC Berkeley)
RePurpose Energy: Tests, reassembles, and redeploys used electric vehicle batteries to provide commercial solar developers with more affordable energy storage solutions. (UC Davis)
Respira Labs: A platform to monitor and manage Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) using wearable sensors and machine learning. (UC Berkeley)