Executive Watch: 50 young entrepreneurs selected for ‘Accelerate Academy’ programme

Entrepreneurs pose for a group photo during the Accelerate Summit in Kigali. 50 entrepreneurs were selected for the Accelerate Academy programme.

About 50 young Rwandan entrepreneurs have been selected to be part of this year’s Accelerate Academy, an annual entrepreneurship programme by These Numbers Have Faces (TNHF).

The entrepreneurs were selected last week at the Accelerate Summit, which took place in Kigali.

The entrepreneurs were drawn from diverse disciplines including agriculture, entertainment, energy, fashion, health, real estate and education among others.

The six-month intensive programme aims to equip young entrepreneurs with business management training and mentorship.

Organisers said the entrepreneurs also get access to seed capital funds.

With this programme, These Numbers Have Faces, a non-profit organisation, seeks to prepare the next generation of leaders.

“Great business leaders are not born. They are developed over time,” said James Pressnell, the organisation’s executive director.

Their idea to support young and upcoming entrepreneurs is based on the belief that educated, empowered and community driven young people are the best vehicles for social change.

The organisation’s leaders have argued that to solve many of the problems Africa faces, the continent needs talented young people with formidable character, ethics, leadership skills, and a deep passion for their communities.

Ange Umutoni is one of the selected entrepreneurs.

She runs a business that retails healthcare products targeting pregnant women. She wants to create awareness about the benefit of self-care.

The entrepreneur says she is hoping to acquire more business skills that will enable her advance her business.

On the other hand, Henry Carl, one of the previous fellows, says his coffee processing business has already benefitted from the programme.

“Being part of the programme granted us access to investors who facilitated us acquire advanced equipment for our processing unit,” said the entrepreneur who currently employee more than 50 coffee farmers.

According to the 2017 Impact Report by the organisation, Accelerate Fellows received $29,800 in seed capital.

In 2016, the organisation invested $40,000 (Rwf34.8 million) in twelve unique businesses.

Executive Watch is a weekly column that tracks the careers and graduation of top companies in Rwanda and the region.

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