As Rwanda strives towards establishing a knowledge based economy and achieving its Vision 2020 goals, fostering innovative ICT based SMEs becomes critically important. K-Lab (knowledge Lab) is a unique open technology space in Kigali where students, fresh graduates, entrepreneurs and innovators come to work on their ideas/projects hoping to turn them into viable business models.
Though k-Lab is an open space that has plenty of things to learn, for students and others with ICT related carriers or start-up projects, many females have not given this space a lot of consideration.
Claude Mugisha, the general manager of k-Lab says many of the girls that come to use the space usually have their final year projects to finish and once they are done they disappear.
“We had about 10 females who came to pitch their projects this year which is a small number compared to the number of males. Even though we have few female students doing their projects for business, there are other females that are members of k-Lab and have earned from their projects and have generally been successful,” Mugisha said.
The growing k-Lab community is also has a number of experienced mentors who provide both technical and business assistance to members.
Ann Liz Uwingabire one of the k-Lab tenants says she has since learnt a lot from k-Lab which has greatly improved her IT skills.
“K-lab not only has mentors that have great skills to share, but this space also gives you a team to work with. Everyone is willing to help and in whatever you start, you have a great team working with you,” she said.
Uwingabire added that it’s an opportunity for girls to get access to free and very important skills and practise.
kLab also host events, workshops, bootcamp, hackathons and networking sessions to promote collaboration/partnerships, investment and financing.
kLab’s mission is to promote, facilitate and support the development of innovative ICT solutions by nurturing a vivid community of entrepreneurs and mentors.