2017 Program Overview  >  Our Results > Eligibility  >  Apply

Are you Unreasonable?

Note: While the following criteria reflect the kinds of companies we overwhelmingly prefer, we do not believe in blindly following the rules. If you don’t meet one or more of these criteria, then convince us that you deserve a spot at our program and apply anyway! That’s what it means to be UNREASONABLE! Please do not hesitate to contact Retsy Holliday if you have any questions at retsy@unreasonableeastafrica.org.

We will evaluate applicants based on the following criteria…

Consider these as what we think are the key ingredients to building a successful impact focused company.





You should be able to answer YES to the following questions in order to apply

  • Is your company addressing a massive social or environmental problem? We prefer to work with entrepreneurs whose companies are creating jobs, providing access to basic needs and services(like education, healthcare, food, energy, housing and more) and reducing poverty. Your business could be increasing the incomes of a certain population, providing access to a product or service that one population did not have access to before or an innovation that is dramatically changing the way things are done, making it easy for thousands of people to access a certain service. For more examples, click here for examples on past UEA Fellows or read more about this in our FAQs.
  • Is your company based in Uganda, Kenya,Tanzania or Rwanda? We work only with companies that are based in and operating in East Africa.
  • Do you have a persistent entrepreneurial spirit and are you hungry to ensure your company grows massively to reach regional scale? We are looking for entrepreneurs that are excited about building a massive business spanning across one country or even the whole of East Africa.
  • Are you a Founder or Co-Founder of your organization?
  • Are you able to make key, high-level, direction-shifting decisions (such as investment and major partnerships) on behalf of your company? Typically, this is the role of of the CEO of the company.
  • Are you currently working full-time on the development of your company? A full-time commitment is defined as a minimum of 40 hours per week.
  • If accepted, will you be able to attend the ENTIRE Unreasonable East Africa Institute in August/September 2017(dates tbd) in Kampala, Uganda?
  • Are there are at least two people working full-time on your team? And will continue to work full-time on your company while you are at the Unreasonable East Africa Institute? In order to be accepted to the program, attending teammates must be working a minimum of 40 hours per week on the company
  • Have you had a small group of customers buy and use your product or service already? You have received feedback about your product or service. We will not be selecting any companies that are at an idea stage or those that are trying to understand who their customers are. For more explanation, you can read more about this in our FAQs
  • Do you have a business model? We are looking for companies with clear impact and a business model that works. These are our indicators of potential growth. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your company has revenue.
  • Does your company have potential to scale? By scale, we mean that your company has the potential to grow massively over time to reach over 1 million people as beneficiaries, customers or suppliers.
  • Are you a for-profit, non-profit or hybrid company that is generating revenue from sales? We consider for-profit, non-profit, and hybrid companies generating revenue from sales. We are less concerned about the legal structure you’ve chosen for your company. Instead, we’re more interested in selecting companies with a strong economic, cash-generating engine for growth, regardless of its legal incorporation. For example of a non-profit with an engine for growth, consider BRAC. BRAC is the largest non-profit in the world, but it generates 80% of its annual budget from sales revenues, not donations. For more explanation, you can read more about this in our FAQs.
  • Can you read, write, and speak in English fluently?
  • Are you 18 years of age or older?
  • Will you ever stop? Are you completely obsessed with building the company you are working on? Do you refuse to allow any setback, any criticism, and any seemingly unconquerable obstacle to prevent you from building your company to success? If so, welcome! We are excited to read your application!

Your application will likely not be considered if:

  • Your proposal is for a research project.
  • Your proposal is for lobbying activities.
  • Your proposal is for a charity based and/or foundation based organization. We do not select companies that are planning to rely on donations and grants as their main source of revenue.
  • Your proposal is focused on promoting a specific faith. In this context, faith-based implies that your company is promoting a specific faith. If your work is associated with a religious institution or has a spiritual basis but is not tied to promoting any specific religion or faith, you may be eligible for consideration.
  • Your company cannot demonstrate a clear record of customers.


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