Ugandan start-ups part of the solution during COVID-19

Start-ups in Uganda are developing innovative products to help consumers and businesses survive during COVID-19

Being locked at home with borders sealed, seeing transport halted and curfews imposed, the all-too-familiar consequences of COVID-19 are being felt in Uganda as well.

Increasing market uncertainty has meant decreasing revenues for many small businesses. However, a few innovative enterprises are doing their best to turn this crisis into an opportunity – not only to keep themselves afloat, but also to help consumers and other businesses ride out the pandemic with as little pain as possible.

We present to you some striking examples of innovative responses from e-commerce start-ups to the current crisis.

Prepaid meal plans

As many business-to-business clients shut down temporarily and others reduced their demand, Online Butchery saw a radical reshaping of their clientele. Chief Executive Tony Ayebare reports that while Online Butchery has lost many of their traditional customers, their business has seen an unexpected leap as well. “The start-up’s business-to-consumer meat orders have skyrocketed overnight – from 10 orders a day to 150 a day in just two weeks.” He says.

‘More people realize they can now buy meat without leaving home, which bonds well with one of our objectives of being a household name when it comes to meat and meat products,’ Ayebare said.

They are now providing a new service called ‘prepaid meal plans’ to support Ugandans who are now facing the task of cooking every meal of the day at home. For a weekly or monthly fee, clients can get lunches and dinners delivered right to their door.

Fresh produce from the farm

Business is also booming for Bringo Fresh. Their online platform allows people to order fresh, organic produce and have it delivered to their doorsteps. Orders began to climb immediately after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Uganda, and the size of each order has grown by about 150%, says public relations officer Lysandra Chen.

In a show of solidarity, the start-up dropped its delivery fee to better serve their community in this time of need.

“We are also buying more from our farmers and engaging with more farmers on our database, so we plan to do more with our farmers after the pandemic.” Chen said.

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