National

Young African ICT entrepreneurs honoured in Kigali

  • By Ivan R. Mugisha
  • October 31, 2013
photo
President Paul Kagame poses with the winners of the Transform Africa Continental Awards. The New Times/Village Urugwiro

Five young African entrepreneurs were yesterday honoured with the Transform Africa Awards for developing socially transforming IT solutions.

President Paul Kagame was the guest of honour at the Awards ceremony during which he interacted with more than 500 young ICT enthusiasts drawn from around the continent.

Firms from Rwanda, Kenya (two), Ghana and South Africa were awarded, courtesy of Athgo International, a firm dedicated to empowering the youth in the ICT field around the world.

Rwanda’s start-up, Hehe Ltd, developed by Clarisse Iribagiza, emerged the best, and received US$7500 (Rwf4.8 million) cash prize.

“Hehe Ltd was founded in 2010 as a mobile technologies company with a vision to help transform Rwanda and Africa into an information society by increasing access to vital information,” Amiri Mugarura, the chief technology officer, Hehe Ltd, said.

The awards ceremony closed the third day of the ongoing Transform Africa Summit 2013 at the Kigali Serena Hotel. The summit ends today.

Both the first and second runners-up were Kenyan firms, Mobicraft Solutions, a faith-based SMS service, and Fishmate Ltd, which links Kenyan fish farmers to their customers. They received US$5,000 and US$3000 cash prizes, respectively.

South Africa’s Powerbox, a phone charging innovation start-up, and Ghana’s Mnotify Ltd, a customer service innovation, emerged fourth and fifth, respectively, taking US$2000 each.

President Kagame reminded the youth to work hard in order to achieve their dreams.

“Success is not something that comes overnight. True success requires a lot of hard work, a lot of learning and dedication. You must put all your energy, mind and spirit into what you are doing in order to become successful,” Kagame said.

He added: “True success is a long journey that requires focus and commitment. If you are not successful today, you should not give up. If you fall, you should not stay down but, instead, you should get up and try again. If previous methods did not work, try a new approach and in the long run, you will become successful.”

The event moderator, Armen Orujyan, the founder and chairman of Athgo International, also urged the youth to boldly pursue their dreams.

“You must find what you love to do early enough and start doing it. This is the biggest difference between people who are successful as entrepreneurs and those who are always seeking for employment,” Orujyan said.

The Transform Africa 2013 Summit, which seeks to push for a major ICT revolution across the continent, attracted over 1,500 delegates, and was graced by seven Heads of State from Burkina Faso, Gabon, Kenya, Mali, South Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda.

Contact email: ivan.mugisha[at]newtimes.co.rw

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