About +256 Rising
We believe rising youth entrepreneurs throughout Africa have the talent, creativity, and passion needed to drive significant economic growth and development in their communities. Many of these entrepreneurs come from modest backgrounds and have developed skills out of necessity, building micro businesses in formal and informal sectors because of limited employment opportunities for youth. In doing so, they have embodied a core value of entrepreneurship: empowerment. And for every rising entrepreneur, there are thousands of other youth with the potential to build businesses, create jobs, and help their communities. The challenges are great, but the potential is greater.
Scenes from the +256 Rising hackathon, held in Kampala, Uganda

+256 Rising is a youth entrepreneurship hackathon in Kampala, and what we hope will be the first of many special events in Africa designed to help unlock the economic potential of young people (+256 is the country phone code for Uganda). From January 8-10, 2016 dozens of talented young Ugandan entrepreneurs competed in a fast paced, three-day race-against-the-clock to imagine new businesses with the potential to create jobs and scale. Teams ideated and developed concepts; worked with mentors from places like Silicon Valley; built prototypes; tested, iterated, and refined these prototypes; and pitched their business ideas to a judging panel, live audience, and online crowd.

The goal was to catalyze innovation in a way that helps young entrepreneurs move beyond one-person or small businesses to larger enterprises that can help lead economic growth and employment in Uganda. Participants faced the challenge of leveraging new technologies while empowering low-skilled workers to ensure new businesses benefit and lift as many segments of Ugandan society as possible. They explored opportunities across a number of promising economic sectors, such as agriculture, oil, telecom, ecotourism, and others.
Congratulations to our winners!
That's right - we said winners! Thanks to our judges and voters both online and off, our first place winner was MOBFIT, a GSM-based agriculture market solution that allows farmers to pre-sell their produce to buyers before harvest. MobFit received US$5000 for startup costs and incubation. But thanks to our generous sponsor Dahabshiil, our second place winner also received US$5K and incubation! The second place winner was Yaka Ko, an emergency power credit service for clients to enjoy uninterrupted power usage. And after the hackathon, a third team (PocketMoney) successfully raised seed capital and is preparing to launch. Congratulations to all three companies - We look forward to seeing you grow in the coming months!
Watch the +256 Rising pitches!
After two days of hard work, the +256 Rising participants presented their ideas on January 10th, 2016 to a live audience, a panel of local entrepreneur judges, and an online audience of hundreds who helped vote for the winning teams.
Follow us on social media
Stay in touch at our Facebook page and on Twitter at @256rising. Check back for news and updates as the teams build their companies.
About the organizers and sponsors
At Affinis Labs, we are working to unlock talent, creativity, and innovation in populations and places that are often overlooked as potential drivers of social impact and economic growth and development, such as young people, marginalized communities, remote online spaces, and others. From Silicon Valley to Sydney, from East Africa to the Middle East - we span the world to help communities generate new ideas, get their new ventures and initiatives off the ground, and drive positive change. We run innovative hackathons, co-create creative communications campaigns for social impact with communities, and incubate and accelerate startups that provide social and economic benefits for communities.

For +256 Rising, we’re proud to be working with sponsors Dahabshiil and US Mission Kampala, as well as the Ugandan Muslim Youth Development Forum; alumni from the Young African Leaders Initiative and Generation Change networks launched by the US State Department; and entrepreneur mentors from Uganda and all over the world!