“Accelerating agribusiness innovation beyond Incubation”

Applications are now open for the 4th CURAD National Agribusiness Challenge. All Agriprenuers are encouraged to apply and stand a chance to win, keep checking our website our social media pages for updates. To apply, click on the next tab, or this link


About Consortium for enhancing University Responsiveness to Agribusiness Development Limited (CURAD) 

The Consortium for enhancing University Responsiveness to Agribusiness Development Limited (CURAD) is a public-private partnership initiative promoted by Makerere University, the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises Limited (NUCAFE), and National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO). CURAD is one of the six agri-business incubators in Africa supported by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa under the UniBrain facility with funding from DANIDA. CURAD is a non-profit company limited by guarantee (certificate no; 144130) established to support profit-oriented agri-businesses.

CURAD aims to encourage innovative young entrepreneurs and agri-business leaders to champion productivity and profitability of agricultural enterprises that can, in turn, spin off new enterprises.  The initiative involves the establishment of an agri-business innovation incubator geared towards the creation of jobs and boosting of incomes within the agricultural sector in Uganda.  In the first four years, the CURAD will be piloting the programme within the coffee value chain and related sectors.

In Uganda, CURAD’s mission is to produce young, innovative and skillful agri-business entrepreneurs through strategic partnerships that support investment in agribusiness by fostering collaboration between Makerere university, NUCAFE and the NARO coffee research centre to create cultures and environment that will value, encourage and enable innovation and produce graduates who are problem solvers, decision takers and successful entrepreneurs. 

The first steps in achieving this mission are to:

  • Undertake curriculum reform in Bachelors programs in Agriculture and Agribusiness to produce young, innovative entrepreneurs and agribusiness leaders
  • Promote student start-ups in agribusiness by creating more opportunities through agribusiness incubation
  • Support BSc, MSc and higher graduate professional career development in entrepreneurship that will promote agri-business entrepreneurship among young women and men.
  • Promote utilization of coffee in Uganda through coffee value chain development and value addition.
  • Benefit coffee farmers through agri-consultancy and enhanced marketability by promoting SMEs and start-ups.
  • Promote the setting up of successful agri-business enterprises.

Why Entrepreneurship?

Successful enterprises are most often a consequence of a passionate, driven and committed entrepreneur who recognizes, creates and capitalizes on opportunities to bring an idea to fruition. Entrepreneurship is the product of innovation and leads to sustained economic growth and employment creation.

CURAD acknowledges the vital importance and positive contribution entrepreneurship makes toward economic and social development.  Entrepreneurs create and bring to life new technologies, products and services and create new markets and jobs along the way. Entrepreneurs are smart risk takers, implementers, rulebreakers; or in a word: innovators. And like any emerging economy aiming to move ahead, in Uganda we need lots of them!

Renowned entrepreneur, Richard Branson, also recently commented, “African economies are dependent on entrepreneurial activity for creating future economic growth and jobs.” But, he feels, their economic contribution to the entrepreneurial sector is often below the norm.  Increasing entrepreneurship in Uganda is the golden highway to economic democracy.

Highlights of the CURAD 2016 Innovation Challenge

The 2016 challenge was launched on 12th May, 2016 at Kyoto Resort, Namugongo by Prof. Bwisa following a Youth caravan camp. There were over 137 applications with 52 reaching the shortlist stage. The awards ceremony was carried out at CURAD head office, Kabanyolo on 23.9.16 and was presided over by Hon. Vincent Ssempijja, the cabinet minister for the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF). The winners of the respective 10 categories that were up for grabs have been successfully incubated under CURAD’s incubation program and were also awarded accolades & certificates.  The overall 2016 Challenge winner Mr. Ssekubulwa Cyprian of Cypriano Enterprises was awarded 12,000,000 Ush courtesy of Uganda Development Corporation. Mr. Ssekubulwa grows passion fruits, mobilizes farmers into passion fruit producer groups and also produces passion fruit concentrate juice. The 1st runner up was Turyamwijuka Julius manufacturing Bio char fertilizer and the 2nd runner up was Aleto Mary Cecilia producing Tarmarind cocktail juice. The 1st runner up was awarded 2,000,000 Ushs, the second runner up was awarded 1,500,000 Ushs while the rest of the category winners were awarded 1,000,000 Ushs each courtesy of our sponsors Centenary bank and Postbank. In addition, Postbank awarded the overall winner an additional 1,000,000 Ushs, the 1st runner up an additional 500,000 Ushs and the 2nd runner up an additional 300,000 Ushs. This was on condition they each opened up an account with Post bank.

Above: Mr. Ssekubulwa Cyprian the overall 2016 Challenge winner receives his dummy cheque  of 12,000,000 Ushs from the Guest of honor, Hon. Ssempijja on 23.9.16 

Success stories emerging from the 2016 Innovation Challenge

With the support from the Challenge funds, the overall winner Mr. Ssekubulwa has bought modern equipment to produce juice of higher quality and refurbished his processing facility to standard. This has enabled his juice concentrate be accepted in modern supermarkets within Kampala.  In addition, his production capacity has increased from 60 litres to 100 litres per month with the average price of his product also increasing from 12,000 Ushs to 15,000 Ushs per litre.

Above: Mr. Ssekubulwa’s Passionfruit concentrate juice: “RISE JUICE” at Outlet supermarket, Freedom City, Kampala.


The 2017 Innovation Challenge

The CURAD Agribusiness Innovation Challenge aims at leading entrepreneurs on a path to discovery, growth and development.  In this year 2017, CURAD again invites entrepreneurs from Uganda to join us in our quest to uncover innovative businesses and business ideas that can help to contribute to a more vibrant and job creating agricultural economy. This year’s gala event will also be complemented by an exhibition which will be advertised to the general public. The exhibition will target relevant parties in the Agri-business sector like Universities and the general public.

Goals and objectives of the 2017 challenge

The goal is to provide winning businesses with incubation support, human resources capacity building, start-up or expansion capital and generate information on the awareness levels, benefits and challenges of utilizing national development policy to enable bottom of the pyramid value network actors in the agricultural sector to thrive and benefit the Ugandan people and economy. 


  1. To identify, document and promote the different ideas, skills, talents, innovations and research products that have potential to cause a remarkable industrial evolution at both local and international levels.
  2. To create a highly dynamic social environment for youth employment and networking opportunities.
  3. To promote direct engagement between the young inventors and innovators and potential funders, donors and business networks from both, the national, regional and international levels.
  4. To stimulate creative thinking, innovativeness and talent development and steer the change of mindset of the youth nationally, regionally and internationally towards job creation.
  5. To create awareness about the need for young people to be job creators and not job seekers.

Targeted stakeholders and beneficiaries

Individual innovators and entrepreneurs (both in-and-out of school) including the persons with disabilities (PWDs) with innovations across Agriculture, Education, Heath, ICT and Tourism), educational institutions, Government sector Ministries (Ministries responsible for Youth Affairs) & Institutions and Statutory Bodies, Youth Councils, Private Sector, Non-Government Organizations, religious Institutions and International development Partners and Inter-Government Agencies, potential incubation service providers, funders, donors, business and scientific community and media. The challenge will have a strong orientation towards Youth (age below 35 years). 

Expected Outcomes

The expected outcomes include; a) Identification of innovative agri-business ideas and turning them into sustainable enterprises b) Creation of employment and networking opportunities for innovative young people, c) Creation of an avenue through which youth contribute to the national development process, d) Creation of a better sense of ownership e) Sustainability of youth outcomes and f) Contribution to the reduction in youth unemployment rates and sustainable development of the region.

Where will the challenge take place?

The challenge will take place at two (2) levels; the regional and national levels. At a regional level, three regions will be considered ie Western, Northern, (Includes eastern) and Central regions; in Mbarara University, Gulu University and Makerere University respectively. Gulu University will also handle applications from the East especially Islamic University in Uganda and Busitema. The best innovators and entrepreneurs will receive different category awards, incubation opportunities among others with the key prize being capital support to start and establish a sustainable business.

Application procedure          

Calls for the event will be saturated at regional and national levels through radio, newspaper and social media like wassup, facebook, twitter. Interested applicants can log onto the CURAD website www.curadincubator.org and download an application form or apply directly online. The website provides information about how to complete your submission to the Challenge, which is governed by character-limited answers to help you communicate your ideas more concisely.  Should you need support to complete your submission, please contact the CURAD office for assistance. Contact details can be found on the back page of this booklet. 

Overall the challenge will involve a two-stage application process.  At the first stage, entrants must submit their online or hand-delivered applications before the closing date of 16th August, 2017.  This will be followed by a review of all submitted applications, with a short-list to emerge by 8th September, 2017.  Those shortlisted will be selected to present their business cases to a panel of judges at the Judging Event on the Saturday, 30th of Sept, 2017.  Judges will select the top three business cases in each category (see below).  All category winners will be announced at our Final Awards Ceremony on Friday, 13th Oct, 2017.  Thereafter, prizes and awards will be distributed to the winning entrepreneurs and each will be enrolled in the CURAD Incubator Program.

Support services

A series of workshops will be offered by CURAD and its partners in order to provide guidance on how to write a winning business case and to disseminate important information about the competition.  The competition will be launched in newspapers and through radio promotions. 

Please also visit the competition website for helpful resources, or call our Challenge hotline to find out where and when you can attend a Challenge workshop in your area.

In what categories of the Challenge can I compete?

The categories of the 2017 Challenge will be eight in total and are split between those that are sector-focused and those that are people-focused.  The people-focused categories in which applicants can compete will include Best start Up Enterprises using ICT to enhance value chain efficiencies in Agriculture, Best Student Entrepreneur, Best Start-up Enterprise (Under 3 years) and Best Established Enterprise.  Winners will also be selected from categories acknowledging the Best Woman and Best Youth entrepreneur and Best student Enterprise.

Sector-focused categories will include those that are specifically associated with the coffee industry.  There will be two areas of competition:  (1) Best New Coffee Product/idea 2) Best Coffee farmers group 

Definitions of these categories are discussed in the sections below.

1. Best Woman Entrepreneur

Women are important contributors to economic growth across Africa. Women in Uganda represent 53% of the Ugandan workforce, however, 42% of these act as unpaid family workers, according to the 2008 Gender and Productivity Survey (GPS). Furthermore, the GPS 2008 showed that women receive lower pay than men in the private sector with a male to female wage gap that stands at about 39%. These labour market conditions are worsened by the disparities in access and control over resources like land. With this category, we therefore want to recognize women entrepreneurs who have exhibited high potential and/or are running exemplary agri-businesses that are contributing to generating employment and incomes for others within their communities.

2. Best Youth Entrepreneur

Uganda has one of the largest proportion of young people in its population, with 78% of its people under the age of 30.  Almost half the population is under the age of 15.  Youth between the ages of 18 and 30 years represent approximately 21,3% of the population.  Many of these youth are unemployed, even those who are able to earn a university degree.  Ugandan youthare therefore an important priority for this Challenge and we encourage young people under the age of 30 to look for ways to exercise their creative talent in entrepreneurial businesses.

3. Best Start-up Enterprise

A great startup business represents a unique mix of creative and intellectual talent.  In this category, we are looking for businesses that are innovative and can make a systemic impact on the overall coffee value chain.  Remember, start-ups are businesses that have been operating for less than 3.5 years and are usually not earning over $1m annually.

4. Best Established Enterprise    

In this category, our sponsors are looking for farming businesses that can increase farm incomes by adopting other forms of farming activities.  For example, our sponsor, Trias, will support businesses that develop a model for beekeeping and honey production, which both increases income to the farms, but also helps in more effective pollination of plants, such as coffee trees.  We are seeking innovative farmers in the Hoima and Masindi areas in the lower west and in the West Nile region. We are also seeking businesspeople who have identified a significant gap in the market that their companies can exploit and which will lead to greater job creation in agriculture and/or agri-processing.  Applications in this category must be for replicable business models and/or must be highly scalable. 

5. Best New Coffee Product/Idea 

The coffee industry is one of the most vibrant and mature industries in Uganda.  It is well-organized and well-supported by a range of bodies representing the coffee farmers, processors and retailers.  Uganda is also renowned for the high quality coffee it produces and its products are highly sought-after in other markets.  In order to build on this reputation, CURAD wants to receive ideas that will advance the industry into other value-added coffee products.  We are therefore looking for entrepreneurs who have a new product that can be commercialized through the CURAD Incubator and which is highly scalable.

6. Best Start-up Enterprise using ICT to enhance value chain efficiencies in Agriculture 

A great start up business represents a unique mix of creative and intellectual talent.  In this category, we are looking for businesses that are innovative and can make a systematic impact on the key Ugandan Agriculture value chains. 

7. Best Coffee Farmers Group Enterprise

Uganda is characterized by many smallholder farmers producing similar agricultural products.  In some cases, collaborative efforts to align growth of agricultural produce leads to greater economies of scale and stronger bargaining power for farmers.  CURAD encourages cooperative enterprises that are supported by a strong leadership structure that advances the interests of all of its participants.  We are therefore seeking business plans from enterprises that are comprised of at least six participants and which can adopt successful models, such as have been developed by the Uganda Coffee Farmers Alliance.

8. Best Student Enterprise (Agri-preneur)

Students are usually young, energetic, versatile and very innovative but always have to balance their innovativeness with the immense demand of studies. CURAD recognises such student constraints and so this time around is looking for bright ideas from students that are focused on agribusiness in this special category.


Category Winners  

Winners will be nominated in each of the above categories and will be eligible for the cash and in-kind prizes made possible by the Challenge sponsorships.  With sponsorship allowing, the 1st and 2nd runners up per category will be also be eligible for prizes.  Prizes will consist of a combination of financial support, enrollment in the CURAD Incubator and in-kind contributions, such as technical support, from the Challenge sponsors. This may also be combined with the facilitation of access to finance from a financial institution or funding agency, based on their criteria for loan approvals.



A panel of business plan judges will evaluate the business plan in a structured and professional manner. After the closing date, the entries will be evaluated for eligibility and, thereafter, successful entries will enter the preliminary judging stage. In this stage, the judges will consider whether the business plan complies with the entry terms and conditions, as well as the quality and content of the plan.

The entries will be reviewed and judged according to the following criteria:

  • Potential to create jobs
  • Future growth potential of the business
  • Viability and sustainability of the business idea
  • Market opportunities and competitiveness
  • Innovativeness, uniqueness and attractiveness of the venture



The awards for winners of the Challenge will include:

First Place

Second Place

Third Place










Protection of Business Ideas

All ideas presented as entries to the Challenge will be regarded as those of the particular applicant.  Protection of intellectual property will, however, need to be addressed through normal channels, such as copyright protection, patents, trademarks and other property ownership guarantees. 



Activity Description

  1. of


Unit Cost (Ushs)

Total         Cost


Website Development

Develop application sites





TV  &  Radio  adverts  in 4





Road shows

Roadside regional events






Skills     presentation    to

participants  to   include  a c c o m o d a t i o n & transport refund to applicants







Coffee     Value     chain







PVC, Pull ups etc




EXHIBITION:    50   Tents

*150,000; branding: 70,000*50, space hire – 16,000,000






I n f o r m a t i o n promotional materials (lumpsum)

Leaflets    and     bulletins with key strategic issues







Events       Coordination and management





Prizes for winners

Overall: 10mn, 1st runner-up: 5mn, 2nd runner-up: 3mn, 5 category winners @ 1.5 mn




Accolades       for      the winners

8 Accolades for the winners in each category and 1 overall winner.







Certificates for runners up and winners in all categories









Master of Ceremony











Hall for the event




Video     Coverage       &

Presentation Graphics





Buffet dinner

Dinner for all participants













  1. 060,000

Sponsorship categories

Sponsors who pledge to support CURAD in this year’s challenge will be categorized as follows:

  • Platinum

 Organizations or individuals who contribute Thirty million Uganda shillings (30,000,000 Ushs) and above will be recognized as Platinum sponsors.

The Platinum sponsor/s will enjoy the following BENEFITS:

  • Their name appearing on the title of the challenge for all communications/correspondences  (Organization name preceding challenge title)
  • Have an opportunity to speak about their organizations at the launch of the Challenge
  • Have an opportunity to speak about their organizations at the Agri-business conference
  • Have an opportunity to speak about their organizations at the final Gala Event
  • Have an opportunity to present accolades to winners
  • Have their logos appearing on all media communication (Media adverts, print materials) in the run up to the Gala event
  • Have a stall in the exhibition area 


Sponsors who contribute from Ten million but less than Thirty million shillings (10,000,000 -< 30,000,000 Ushs) will be recognized as Gold sponsors.

The Gold sponsor/s will enjoy the following BENEFITS:

  • Have their organizational guest speak about their organization in the Agri-business conference
  • Have their logos appearing on all media communication (Media adverts, print materials) in the run up to the Gala event
  • Have a stall in the exhibition area 


Sponsors who contribute from One million but less than Ten million shillings (1,000,000 - < 10,000,000 Ushs) will be recognized as Silver sponsors. 

The Silver sponsor/s will enjoy the following BENEFITS: 

  • Have their logos appearing on Media banners talking about the event
  • Have their logos appearing on the Media Adverts of the event
  • Have their logos appearing on all print materials

Event Schedule

Please take note of the key dates of events leading up to the Challenge 2017 (See table below). 

Key Dates Summary







Fri 16/6/17


Deadline for submission of applications

Wed  16/8/ 17


Road Shows/ Publicity events at different Tertiary Institutions

Fri 16/6/17 –  Mon 17/7/17

Gulu, Mbarara, Busitema &Makerere Universities

Advise shortlisted applicants

Fri  8/9/17


Presentation skills training/ Coffee VC Training/ Exhibition

Fri 22/9/17


Judging events

Sat 30/9/17


4th Innovation Challenge Final Gala Awards Ceremony

Fri 13/10/17


Contact details

Managing Director, CURAD: Apollo Ssegawa

Tel: +256 392 834 425/ +256 782 984 028

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.