Rwanda is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.5 million. The economy is based mostly on subsistence agriculture, with tea and coffee representing the major cash crops for export. Tourism is a fast-growing sector and is now the country’s leading foreign exchange earner, the most popular activity being the tracking of mountain gorillas. In recent years per-capita GDP has grown and is estimated at $1,284 in 2011, well below what we are used to in the West, and certainly well below the figures needed for people to consider software as a worthy investment over and above their need for basic necessities.
However, young entrepreneurs in Rwanda have recently had access to Business Plan Pro, through a partnership we have with the UK charity ‘Beyond Profit’, who recently ran Rwanda’s first university-specific business planning competition: the African Innovation Prize.
One of the five University of Cambridge students behind the initiative, Sarah Teacher, described the event in more detail:
“ …both the business planning competition and the skills-building week were amazing successes. On the former, we had a brilliant winner in the form of Patrice Habinshuti, a young man starting a horticulture business. He was absolutely delighted with the seed-funding and will go on to realise his business this year, with the help of a UK mentor. On the conference itself, each day of the 6 day enterprise workshop we had 150 students attend and share in the wisdom of the 3-4 leading Rwandan entrepreneurs. The Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) provided a great venue and we received students from KIST as well as four other major institutions. We were humbled by the enthusiasm and passion for entrepreneurship we experienced – about 30 of the students traveled over 2 hours every day to attend the sessions, and many came already working on their small businesses. Others came bursting with ideas to develop and teammates to find.”
Here’s hoping the competition can go from strength to strength and can introduce more Rwandan’s to entrepreneurship. For more details please visit the African Innovation Prize website.