Transformers Academy – Day 2 & Transformer Spotlight on: Anne Kyomugisha

Our spotlight features Anne Kyomugisha from Smart Havens Africa, and a recap of Transformers Academy Day Two.


It was a productive second day of the Islamic Development Banks (IsDB) Transformers Academy, as our Transformers continue to learn business and entrepreneurial skills they can implement in their own innovative ideas and solutions. 


The main focus of the day was for our Transformers to hear from experts about to finance their business, especially as an entrepreneur. Our Transformers learnt the ways of securing investment for a business across the stages of the deal cycle in interactive sessions with team members of the investment department at IsDB. This was complimented by talks by Jalal Khan from IsDB and Dr. Fil Randazzo, CEO Leverage Science on, compliance risks and the venture capital investment process. 

Throughout the Transformers Academy, we will be catching up with some of our inspiring Transformers and their innovative business visions. Our Transformers are the recipients of the IsDB Transform Fund, a $500 million fund providing seed money for innovators. Start-ups and SMEs. The aim is to drive meaningful change and contribute towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. We are focusing on highlighting the amazing work of the Transformers and we will be introducing you to four of the recipients this week.   


Transformers Spotlight: Anne Kyomugisha

We sat down with Anne Kyomugisha from Smart Havens Africa, a social enterprise delivering low cost, eco-friendly and sustainable housing solutions to vulnerable and low-income people in Africa. With more than 10 years’ experience in academic, humanitarian and development work, her experience lies in the implementation of assistance housing research projects. 


Tell us about your work.

We build low-cost, eco-friendly and affordable houses with appropriate sustainable technologies. Smart Havens Africa targets those who earn less than $6 per day. This is due to only a small proportion of the population in Uganda having access to housing finance. There isn’t an appropriate pathway for ownership for those in a disadvantaged situation. Our social impact business model provides a roof, a skill and solves a current social problem.

Which Sustainable Development Goal does your work support the most?

The main SDG that we support is SDG11, because we believe people should live in sustainable cities and communities. Everyone should have appropriate housing and enough land to be able to grow what they need, whilst protecting the environment around them. We would like to end housing poverty, because everyone, regardless of how much they earn, should have access to decent and affordable shelter 

How is Engage and the Transform Fund going to help you achieve your ambitions? 

They’re going to enable us to scale up our social enterprise. We have lots of people waiting for homes so with the support of the Transform Fund, we’ll be able to help more people. 

Where did you hear about Engage and the Transform Fund?

Through the internet! As an alumnus of the Global Social Benefit Institute, our mentors link us to other people in the network, so we can share any exciting opportunities. It’s through that platform that I heard about the Islamic Development Bank.  

What does innovation mean to you? 

I would link innovation to technology and science. For example, Africa is still quite a tradition-led country and a lot of people prefer traditional shelters, it is one of our main challenges, getting people to embrace the new sustainable housing. Most Ugandans self-build their housing using semi-permanent, and unsustainable materials which can result in high carbon emissions that then negatively affects people’s lives. So, for me, innovation is a way to solve development issues. 

Have you read any books lately that have inspired you?

The last great book I can remember that really touched me was The Power of Positive Thinking. It helped me to think differently not only about myself but also about society.

And finally, what advice would you give to someone trying to make a difference in today’s world? 

I think the main thing is to have the right mindset. Nowadays, a lot of businesses are created for profit generation, but we need to think more about the social impact of our enterprises. 

Connect with Smart Havens Africa on Twitter: @HavensSmart                    

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