Tackling Challenges to Scale: Enterprises & Ecosystems

MIT D-Lab Co-Design Summit | Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, 2019

This October, MIT D-Lab is gathering entrepreneurs and entrepreneur supporters from East Africa and around the world in Mukono, Uganda, to apply a co-design approach to overcoming barriers to scale for entrepreneurs in East Africa.

Seven teams will each take on the most urgent scaling challenge of an entrepreneur, from Uganda, Kenya, or Tanzania, who is poised to expand their reach nationally and regionally. Over six days, the teams will be led through a design sprint to dig into the challenge, generate creative ideas for how to overcome it, and prototype and test one idea with relevant stakeholders.

The seven entrepreneurs are part of MIT D-Lab’s Scale Ups Fellowship 2019 cohort and Siemens Stiftung’s empowering people. Network. Each venture faces a unique scaling challenges including how to:

  • Monetize/find a market for water consumption data to fund a new investment.
  • Double the utilization/demand for cold storage rental services.
  • Develop a strategy to scale the recruitment and on boarding of new healthcare providers as part of a payments acceptance network.
  • Evaluate financing models so as to grow sales and customer access to the venture’s product.
  • Craft a compelling marketing/ client acquisition strategy for products with fluctuations in demand.
  • Increase efficiency of a supply chain sourcing strategy to accommodate growing demand.
  • Design a service offering that would be attractive to new category of customers, large-scale vendors.

In addition to the entrepreneurs, event participants include members of other D-Lab programs: Practical Impact Alliance members, who work for multinational corporations and NGOs looking to incorporate principles of participatory design and inclusive business into their impact work, and Innovation Ecosystem Builder Fellows who are running entrepreneur support programs and building networks and ecosystem-level initiatives to strengthen local innovation and entrepreneurship in their home communities. The event will be facilitated by a diverse group of experienced entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship educators from across the African continent and around the world.




Amanda Epting, MIT D-Lab, Practical Impact Alliance Manager

Molly Wenig Rubenstein, MIT D-Lab, Innovation Ecosystems Manager