From July 7th-11th, we were excited to gather over 200 University students for Enterprise Rwanda─ a week long training and workshop that was hosted by the University of Rwanda, the College of Business and Economics. Enterprise Rwanda 2014 was themed on AIP’s DESIGN pillar with the objective of Inspiring and sharpening University students’ business skills and was generously sponsored byDe La Rue, the Segal Family Foundation, and theCollege of Business and Economics.
From around 70 students from one university during Enterprise Rwanda’s First Edition 4 years ago, Enterprise Rwanda 2014 attracted over 200 students with the aim of training students on different aspects of entrepreneurship by having real case sharing and discussions and the impact has seen an increase of enterprises from those who participate.
The training was officially opened by Roland Ruhumuriza, a Trustee representing AIP’s Board of Directors. He warmly welcomed all student participants and guests and urged them to embrace the opportunities that come their way and be innovative thinkers. Claude Rwubahuka, the Director for Center for Entrepreneurship Development at the College of Business and Economics, emphasized the need of more young entrepreneurs in society who will steer the economy and create jobs for fellow youth.
At Enterprise Rwanda 2014, students got the opportunity to interact with the local enterprise leaders, get insights on the opportunities and constraints of starting and running a business and a range of topics around investment planning. Among these local business leaders who were also speakers were Jean Bosco Nzeyimana MD at Habona Ltd and 2013 AIP Business Plan Competition winner, Aphrodice Mutangana CEO at FOYO Group, Serge Ndekwe Owner of Papyrus, Clement Uwajeneza CEO at Axis Ltd, Teta Isibo CEO at Inzuki Design, Isidore Nzeyimana CEO at Tekutangije and Kagabo Jean de Dieu CEO at Soft Group.
The sessions engaged students in discussions and activity plans which most took advantage of to sharpen their business plans that they expected to submit to AIP’s Business Plan Competition and also it helped in making personal decisions in making plans for their business ideas. Students were very enthusiastic and had time to interact and work with their peers from other colleges on their own business plans, and feedback to each other as well as getting all the details together for AIP’s Business Planning Challenge.
“The best part about this week has been the personal interaction with entrepreneurs who came to share their experiences and ideas and some of them were open to be our mentors” explained Muganga Mariam, one of 2014 AIP’s Business idea winners who was looking to develop her idea further to fruition. Teta Isibo─ one of the speakers during Enterprise Rwanda 2014─ told students that she was a student like them a few years ago and would have loved to get such an opportunity to hear from successful Rwandan business leaders.
The week-long training came to an end with an interactive panel discussion on mentorship and coaching for the youth and especially entrepreneurs who are new to business. The panelists included Emery Rubagenga from Roka Rwanda, Sara Leedom from Inkomoko, Lucy Mbabazi from VISA Rwanda and Eric Iyaremye from GROW Movement.
At the closing ceremony, the Guest of Honor, H.E William Gelling OBE, British High Commissioner, shared with the audience opportunities that young entrepreneurs in Rwanda could take advantage of as UK’s policy is currently supporting entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa.