What:
This Kampala Business Model Validation Lab is a 5-day accelerator for early-stage, Kampala-based entrepreneurs that are tackling social and environmental problems. It is designed to help these entrepreneurs rapidly identify and validate the foundational assumptions of their business.

Why Uganda:
For the past two years, Unreasonable East Africa has brought together companies from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania to surround them with resources to grow. We have been thrilled to see these 21 companies thriving in the incredible, growing entrepreneurial support community in East Africa. One thing that made us sad, though, was that we had to turn away some very unreasonable entrepreneurs because their companies were too early stage for our Institute. In response, we are launching a series of labs across East Africa, specifically for earlier stage social entrepreneurs, with the first lab to be held in Kampala. Why start with Kampala? In 2015, Uganda was named the most entrepreneurial country in the world. Even more exciting, more and more of these entrepreneurs are quite unreasonable! We can’t wait to work with some of Kampala’s most unreasonable start-ups!

Get Involved: Applications for entrepreneurs are now closed, but you can still apply to become a mentor, partner or sponsor for this Lab. Read on to get involved!

Unreasonables at our 2015 Institute

The Problem

The early stages of a startup are marked with questions. Who is my customer? What problems do they have? Do I have a solution to their problems? What are they willing to pay? Will I be able to break even? An entrepreneur’s ability to quickly convert these questions into answers is one of the few characteristics that separates successful startups from failed ones. The problem is that few entrepreneurs know the rapid and systematic approach required to answer these questions. They go too slow, they focus on the wrong things in the wrong order, and they move forward without truly validating a business model.

The Lab & Curriculum

The Business Model Validation Lab is designed to do one thing: provide entrepreneurs with a step-by-step methodology to rapidly and systematically validate their venture’s business model. Entrepreneurs will:

Identify the foundational assumptions that underpin your venture.

Design and run experiments to validate / invalidate the foundational assumptions.

Meet with mentors to get feedback and develop next steps.

Mentors

This Lab will actively involve a diverse set of mentors. These mentors will be custom-selected after selecting the Lab ventures to assure mentors meet their needs. Interested in mentoring? Email Eve.

FAQ’s & More About This Program

Application and Selection
Applications are closed, but you can keep informed of new programs by signing up for our newsletter here.
Entrepreneurs who are eligible are:

  • Committed to social and environmental impact with their company
  • Early-stage in their venture’s development
  • Based in Uganda (more on location below)
  • For-profit or non-profit
  • 18 years of age or older

Here’s a bit more on location:

  • If I am an entrepreneur from somewhere close to Uganda, can I apply for this Lab? If you are outside Uganda, you cannot apply. We will be holding more Labs in East Africa – fill in this form to indicate your interest for a Lab in your location.
This Business Model Validation Lab is designed for very early-stage entrepreneurs who are trying to figure out:

  • Who their target customer is
  • What, exactly, is the problem their target customer has
  • What their product/service offering looks like (they haven’t built a prototype yet or have just begun building prototypes) and if it meets the needs of the target customer

Entrepreneurs are too late if:

  • They know (with a very high level of confidence and specificity) who their customer is
  • They know (with a very high level of confidence and specificity) what problem their customer has
  • They know (with a very high level of confidence and specificity) that their solution solves their customer’s problem
  • They have a product/service that is in mainstream production
  • They have substantial sales

Entrepreneurs completed a short online application. Then the Unreasonable East Africa Team reviewed all submitted applications and scheduled 30-minute interviews with those who moved on. After the interviews, 10 entrepreneurs were offered a spot in the Lab.
The Lab cost is UGX 600,000. This includes all accommodation and food costs during the 5 days of the Lab.

We do not want cost to prohibit engagement, but unfortunately cannot offer a lower price since this cost is already very discounted. The Lab Team will work with any entrepreneur who is accepted to attend the Lab but unable to pay upfront to create a payment plan.

Lab Details
5 days. The Lab is residential, meaning that you will come live in the Unreasonable mansion for the program.
If you are accepted to attend the Lab, we will ask that you attend the Lab in its entirety. The curriculum is cohesive and builds upon itself, meaning that if you miss a day, you will be at a significant disadvantage.
Each day is different!

The Lab will feature both time in the classroom (learning principles of how to validate your business model) and time in market with your customers where you will be interviewing them and having them interact with your prototypes. There will also be one entire day dedicated to working with mentors. Throughout the course of the Lab, you will have plenty of time to work and rest. Taking time to digest the material is an important piece of acceleration!

Day 1: Day 1 starts with a brief orientation and workshop in the morning, followed by an afternoon interacting with target customers.

Day 2: Day 2 starts with a workshop in the morning on how to rapidly prototype. In the afternoon, entrepreneurs will physically build a prototype and then go out again to meet with target customers.

Day 3: Day 3 starts with more time interacting with target customers before having an afternoon workshop on how to build powerful relationships with mentors, funders, and partners.

Day 4: Day 4 is a mentor day when 10-15 mentors will attend the Lab to work directly with entrepreneurs.

Day 5: Day 5 begins with a workshop in the morning on how to validate the cost assumptions in each venture before spending the afternoon working on strategic planning. Then the Lab concludes.

Yes! The Lab will take place at the Unreasonable Mansion (also referred to as Apricot Guest House) located in Muyenga.
You will only gain access to the network of mentors and entrepreneurs who attend this Lab.
Be a Supporter
If you are interested in being a mentor we would love to share a conversation with you!

Click here to email Eve to discuss becoming a mentor.

We call the people who help us find venture Pipeline Partners. We have already selected our companies for this Lab, but if you are interested in helping us find companies for future programs, we would love to share a conversation with you! Click here to email Michelle to discuss becoming a Pipeline Partner.
We would love to explore partnership and/or sponsorship opportunities with you. Click here to email Joachim to discuss partnership and/or sponsorship opportunities.

Pipeline Partners

Pipeline Partners are organizations that help us find the entrepreneurs. Like us, they support entrepreneurs doing good in the world. See the Unreasonable East Africa Pipeline Partners.

Interested in joining us in finding East Africa’s most audacious entrepreneurs for future programs?
Email Michelle.

Supporters

Our friends making this possible coming soon…
You can still join us! Email Joachim to discuss sponsorship and partnership opportunities.

Our Team

Here is the team that making this happen. We’ve already run two programs to support 21 East African companies that have gone on to raise over $5 million in funding and impact the lives of over 350,000 people. We’re so excited to run our first Lab to support earlier stage companies to reach their Unreasonable potential!
Email Us.

Joachim Ewechu
CEO

Eve Wanjiru
VP of Mentorship

Ivan Mandela
VP of Finance

Kate Hanford
COO

Michelle Mboha
Investability Associate