Africa Innovation Prize (AIP), an organisation that spurs student innovation and entrepreneurship, last Friday awarded the winners of business planning competition from Rwandan higher institutions of learning. Each winner was awarded a cash prize of Rwf2m, as a way to stimulate university level entrepreneurship.
The winners included the team from the National university of Rwanda (NUR), another team from the School of Financing and Banking and another from the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST).
AIP received 84 applications that entered the competition from the 1st May to the 15th June.
AIP Country Director Hervé Kubwimana called upon the winners not to spend money satisfying personal needs but to invest it in the projects they presented.
“We have regular checkups to follow up the winners to assist them and link them with expert in case they find obstacles in implementing their business projects,’’ he said.
Kubwimana also pointed out that the priority for jobless university graduates is having business planning skills before lamenting about the lack of capital.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and ICT Rosemary Mbabazi said the government prioritises business plans that are seen to have a positive impact on the society.
“Any business project developed should have a transforming impact to uplift the people’s lives,” she said.
Mbabazi encouraged the university students to be part of private sector, saying previously this was the last option to survive and a preserve for unlearned people. Today things have changed and it is the first option for many seeking personal economic development.
One of the winning teams from SFB presented a project of starting a biogas plant in the winners’ native village in Kitabi sector, Nyamagabe district.
“Our village is a remote rural area that lacks electricity. The biogas plant we have invested in will help local residents who have been suffering to find firewood,” said Jean Bosco Nzeyimana, a second year accounting student in SFB, representing his winning team.
Nzeyimana said the project needed Rwf 4.2 million and that the remaining amount will be sought through collaborations with other partners.
African Innovation Prize is a UK-based charity that has started operations in Rwanda since 2011 and has so far trained 650 university students in business planning and organises competitions to stimulate the entrepreneurship spirit among university students.
The AIP’s country director noted students should take advantage of free-of-charge business plan trainings offered in the universities’ entrepreneurship clubs, to have the means of escaping unemployment and prepare their bright future.