KAMPALA – Dr. Shamimu Nabuuma, one of Uganda’s youngest entrepreneurs and medical doctors has been crowned winner of the 2023 Forbes Africa Woman award.
The Chil Group of Companies Co-founder, lifted the country’s flag during the Awards Gala on the Women’s Day Celebration this week.
“I never applied but I was nominated by someone I don’t know. Just like when I was listed as the Forbes Africa under 30, I never applied but someone nominated me. So I don’t know who nominated me for the Forbes award, all I saw was Forbes Africa asking to speak at their event.”
Nabuuma’s Chil Group comprises of three major companies; FemTech center, which uses machine learning and Artificial Intelligence to offer chronic disease prevention and treatment E-services to women in Africa & Middle East,
Chil Food Center uses Artificial Intelligence to offer instant capital to food retailers in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and North America and Solerchil Technologies makes solar-powered cold rooms and sells it to farmers.
She explained that these AI are reliable because they are less prone to error, and they have a high level of privacy than humans.
“The only challenge with these innovations is that they require a lot of data to train with. For Instance, for us to build an AI model that can predict demand and supply for food retailers, we had to let this AI study the trends for some time. Look at an AI model that can interpret Radiology reports, you need to train the model with more than 700,000 radiology photos. This is very expensive,”
Speaking about the challenges she encounters as a young female entrepreneur, Nabuuma said low funding and misinformation were the key.
“As any other female entrepreneur in Africa, the lack of funding is the major challenge I faced and still face. This limited my scalability rate with the services in the various communities, as I had limited funding to supplement the revenue I get from selling these services. I was among the first people on the continent to bring AI offering Tele-Oncology services. This came with too much opposition from the senior oncologists, who saw it as an enemy rather than enhancing their work,” elaborated.
“Another big challenge is miss information. A lot of people always want to use our names to go up. This is mostly done by Media companies, they rush to go online and copy what they find and never ask whether it’s true or not,” she said, citing
An example is that when she was growing up there was a woman whom she used to call her mother just because she was so caring to her and unfortunately she passed on due to cancer.
“So one day one media person asked me why chronic disease prevention company and the reason I gave was “My mother passed on just because of cervical cancer, “This media person wrote but never wrote as I had told her she only wrote her mother died without mentioning whether biological or non-bio-logical and so many go online and copy the same mistake and publish it the way they find it on the online links
So fake news and miss interpretation is one of the biggest challenges I face,” she said
In her advice to young people in Uganda and Africa at Large, Nabuuma said,
“Dear youg people let No one tell you that you can’t do it. You can just start Now,” she said.
This is not the first Award Nabuuma is winning on an international scale.
In 2018, the Takeda Foundation Japan awarded Nabuuma with the Takeda Young Entrepreneur Award for her work in Africa.
She also emerged among the 23 winners of the Young African Entrepreneur Award that were organised by the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Africa.
She as well won a $5000 grant from the Tony Elumelu Foundation and was among the finalists in the Social Entrepreneur Category in AWIEF 2018 Awards.
In 2019, Nabuuma received the Maathi Impact Award Honorable Mention for developing an AI-based application which help in delivering Cancer Care e-consultations for women in Uganda.