Wakabi - The Story
Late June of 2014, Ty Van Herweg and his colleagues ventured into the Pearl of Africa to learn more about social enterprises and add value to optimize operations. He spent two months in Uganda and Tanzania working specifically with the organization, BanaPads, providing research and consulting. During that time, Ty got to write proposals and business operations manuels, and assist in production scheduling and tracking sales. Through this experience, Ty's eyes opened to the opportunities that lay within mobile technologies and the need for frugal innovation around the world.
When Ty returned to the states, he felt as if he had unfinished business back in the Pearl of Africa. He started digging deeper into the universal problem of last-mile distribution and thought specifically about the country of Uganda which he had grown so fond of. After talking to his mentors, like Thane Kreiner from Santa Clara University's Miller Center, Ty was led to Wakabi - a mobile phone application that would connect boda boda riders to small-business owners and would operate in the rural areas of Uganda. A boda boda is a motorcycle taxi and the most common way for 1-2 people to travel shorter distances. Wakabi Boda Solutions (U) Ltd. became Ty's new mission. Wakabi in Luganda, one of the native languages of Uganda, means "the best of the best".
"Ty knew he would need financial support to start a social enterprise like Wakabi, and would also need to conduct research to verify Wakabi’s feasibility. This inspired Ty to apply for the Fulbright research grant. Months later, Ty was awarded with the grant, and Wakabi became a possibility. Ty would eventually return to Uganda in September 2015 to collaborate with BanaPads Limited and conduct the necessary research to support Wakabi and its mission. Wakabi is rooted in the spirit that drives the rural Ugandan economy, the spirit that keeps persevering until there is no other option. Without the graciousness of this spirit, Ty would have never been given the chance to make Wakabi a thriving reality."