Building a Connected Uganda

Meet S. Andrew Musoke (HBS ’13) – who plans to democratize internet access in Uganda. 

Imagine a developing-world city, colorful and vibrant, where information, education and commerce are transferred rapidly and connectivity rivals that of the first world. But, just a few miles from of this vibrant nucleus, high-rises and five-star hotels are replaced by  rural villages, no electricity and unclean water.

Access to the phenomena, digital and otherwise, happening just a few hours away is crippled by choppy, unreliable internet connectivity. The digital divide between people outside the circumference of the city and those lucky enough to be in, is rapidly widening.

Enter Andrew Musoke (OB), member of Harvard Business School’s 2013 graduating class, and co-founder of truIT, who plans to revolutionize internet access in the entire country of Uganda with a team of co-founders (Adrian Muyinda, Moses Mubiru, and Andrew Jombwe). truIT will provide cost effective, high-speed, wide-reaching and reliable satellite broadband services to consumer and enterprise markets in Uganda.

“Whether you are in the jungle, forest, city or the desert, you’ll be able to surf the web at speeds comparable with other countries,” says Musoke. For the areas in Uganda that are still very remote, where people struggle to get strong connectivity because of a lack of investment in infrastructure such as fiber optic cables and telephone lines, this is a vital change that can give local communities access to global e-commerce.

“The non-profit model is getting old and there is so much donor fatigue out there. Many non-profit’s have costs close to 80% of each dollar donated, and only 20% of each dollar goes towards those in need. What you’ll find is that people are tired. Now, people want to bring the private model to public giving and service to make non-profits run more efficiently like many private enterprises.” This is the essence of social entrepreneurship and the crux of what motivates Musoke and his team. A for-profit business, he and his team remain keenly aware of the impact this company will have on Uganda, and incorporate that awareness when making business decisions.

Not only will Ugandans benefit from the unrolling of satellite broadband services to the back woods of the country, charities and non-profits will too. In Northern Uganda in particular, there is much work to be done in the aftermath of Joseph Kony’s destruction, leaving many areas in shambles, the pieces of which, many organizations are working to put together.

With internet connectivity so poor, oftentimes organizations are unable to communicate with their headquarters for a considerable amount of time, slowing and even bringing progress to a halt. “We will help them perform better. Like with many non-profits, there is a very tight budget, administrative budget and by using a local option by Ugandans for Ugandans, we will be able to help them get access toinformation and data quicker and faster.”

Villages and local rural communities looking to sell their products, a pediatrician in Uganda wanting to research information, or a local wants to skype with a cousin far away, or even a teacher wanting to show his students something the text books can’t, are the kinds of people this seeks and ultimately will, impact.

Musoke plans to head to Uganda to work with his team of co-founders after graduation before starting the highly selective and prestigious Management Associate Program at JP Morgan Chase. This program, will help him further develop as a global leader and teach him important skills that will undoubtedly help him as an entrepreneur, he says.

“My main goal in life is to leave the world better than I came into it. I want to be able to provide for the people. This is just the beginning.”

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One thought on “Building a Connected Uganda

  1. Carol and Thom Frazier

    Andrew, We are so proud of you. Not
    Surprised by your success. Best wishes
    To you and your parents. Let us know
    when you are in the area. We would love
    To see you. Carol and Thom Frazier

    Reply