Rwandan start-ups catch investors’ attention in Dubai

Two Rwandan Start-ups caught the attention of global investors in Dubai, UAE in the previous week where they were pitching their firms in search of partnerships.

The start-ups, Engineering Hub and Quip.link, were part of the finalists in the Dubai Chamber’s Start-up mentoring programme which was working with 8 firms from Africa and the Middle East.

Engineering Hub by David Irakoze is involved in providing solutions for firms involved in projects such as government contracts with services in telecom, banking, education, data analytics and IT security among others.

Quip.Link is an online marketplace for construction equipment in Africa which makes it possible for dealers to rent or sell equipment needed for construction projects.

The two Rwandan firms were presented their pitches at the Global Business Forum in Dubai seeking partnerships, investment and entrance to new markets.

Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry President and Chief Executive Hamad Buamim said that the two firms were not only scalable globally but also address solutions required to develop and fast-track the development on the African continent.

He said that firms that local firms that are likely to attract international investor attention among other things require to have scalable solutions beyond their respective countries to a broader market.

In their experience with investors, the start-ups said that a majority of potential investors are keen on the scalability of projects as well as the guarantees of the investors exit from the projects.

Michael Hutson the co-founder of  Quip.Link  said that  opportunities to  work with established players go beyond  direct financial investments to partnership  aspects such as  proof of concept among others.

“There are several categories of investors; there venture capitalists, corporate partners, angel investors among others. However, in the competition for investment globally, often there is not enough awareness of the existence of opportunities in Africa,” he said.

Natalia Sycheva, Manager of Entrepreneurship at Dubai Chamber that with most of the investable projects being small and fragmented, it often poses a challenge to raise adequate awareness to capture investors’ interest.

To get past this, she said it’s important to mull strategies to package and develop strategies  that increase the awareness of  the start-ups, their business models and profitability potential.

Rwanda Information Society Authority Chief Executive Officer, Innocent Muhizi said that they were seeking to improve their working relations and ties with the Dubai Chamber to tap into their eco-system to boost start-ups growth.

“We are trying to promote the innovation ecosystem, we seek to learn what is being done elsewhere as well as partnerships with the Dubai ecosystem that can lead us to scaling up,” he said,

He said that in partnership with the chamber, emerging firms have a chance to only meet potential clients for their products and services but potential investors as well.

“Rwanda is positioning itself as a proof of concept destination in fin-tech, med-tech and Agri-tech among others we see as having potential growth. We are able to discuss with potential investors. It is a good opportunity to position ourselves to make the most of the opportunities by start-ups,” he said.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com