On Saturday 4th October 2014, we held the Final phase of our Business Plan Competition which was opened earlier in the year between May and July. The event was held at University of Rwanda, College of Business (UR-CBE) and it attracted more than 150 students across the university and guests within the local entrepreneurship and business development ecosystem.
In our Business Plan Challenge, students were asked to submit financially viable business plans in 1,500 words that were subjected to a panel of judges, who were able to narrow down to the best presentations on paper. The pitch of the 10 finalists, out of 57 who submitted their plans, was done in 5 minutes followed up by questions by judges and the audience so as to understand the business concept and what was planned by the upcoming entrepreneurs. The panel of judges included; Emile Murekezi (Igihe Limited), Julienne Oyler (Inkomoko ,Business Development),Marcus Grazette (British High Commission), Jean Claude Rwubahuka (Head of Centre of Entrepreneurship at CBE) and Grace Mugabekazi (Rwanda Business Development Center)
The students who won the cash prizes include:
Ben Claude Uwihanganye from the College of Science and Technology (CST) with his business plan to design and build a roasting stove that uses biogas and natural gas for homes, bars, and restaurants; Evariste Habimana from the College of Business and Economics (CBE) with his business plan to make environmental friendly briquettes to reduce exposure of wastes on the surface and the excessive cutting of trees and Shikama Dioscore from the College of Science and Technology (CST) with his business plan to develop a mobile application that will allow farmers to record their farming activities and predict their yields and their monetary values. These 3 finalists each will receive 2 Million Rwandan Francs to start their respective businesses. The judges highlighted the potential and social impact of Jancyne Tuyishime’s business that aims to provide professional dental care to rural residents in Ngoma, and they pledged to support her access to finance. In addition to these cash prizes, these students will join Inkomoko’s business accelerator programme and attend courses sponsored by the British Council.
Emery Rubagenga, CEO of Roka Rwanda gave tips to the attendees on best practices in business and told the students that in order for them to be achievers; they need determination and a burning desire to get want they want.
The College’s Principal, Dr. Papias Musafiri, in his closing speech thanked all attendees and congratulated the winners in the competition for their innovative ideas. “It is such initiatives and thinking that will create 2 million new jobs by 2020 to meet current unemployment rates and bring in new annual entrants to the workforce as highlighted in vision 2020. You should not sit and wait for help, just start and do with the few means that you have, and you’ll slowly grow big” said the Principal in his closing remarks.
The African Innovation Prize Business Plan competition is organized annually by the African Innovation Prize in collaboration with the University of Rwanda, College of Business and Economics, the Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs, and The Rwandan students’ Unions Forum (FAGER). AIP’s Programme is sponsored by De La Rue and the Segal Family Foundation.