Eric Rutayisire,a Rwandan technology entrepreneur, was last week selected by Forbes Magazine among prominent young entrepreneurs from across Africa.
Rutayisire, 28, is the only Rwandan entrepreneur to feature on the list of 2019 Forbes Africa 30 under 30. The list was announced last week by Forbes.
The ‘Forbes Africa 30 under 30 list’ is the most-anticipated list of game-changers on the continent and this year, they brought 120 of Africa’s brightest achievers under the age of 30, according to Forbes.
“This list celebrates these pioneers who are building brands, creating jobs, and innovating, leading, transforming and contributing to new industries, in turn, changing the continent,” Forbes wrote.
The entrepreneurs were categorised in four sections: Business, Technology, Creatives and Sport.
“This recognition means a lot to me as it is an international validation of the value we are bringing to our customers,”Rutayisire who is the founder and chief executive officer of Charis Unmanned Aerial Solutions (Charis UAS), told Business Times.
Charis UAS is a licensed local drone technology company building solutions for agriculture, environment, health, as well as create new jobs for passionate and innovative youth.
The company has initiated drone solutions for farmers working in rural areas to determine the required amount of fertilisers for their wheat, it has collaborated with the Ministry of Health to deploy drones to fight malaria, and it has worked with the Government to map wetlands, just to mention but a few.
Such is what made the company’s owner become among the prominent technology entrepreneurs changing the game on the continent.
Forbes says its team worked with audit firm, SNG Grant Thornton, and spent day and night time scrutinizing each candidate.
For entrepreneurs, they say, they delved into how profitable their businesses were and if they showed signs of potential growth and sustainability.
However, not only does the list look at the financial impact of each candidate, but also their reputation, resilience and ability to be role models to other young Africans.
“This takes our business to the next level and gives us a platform and visibility on the global stage,” Rutayisire notes.
In 2010, the Rwandan entrepreneur had the opportunity to study at the University of Minnesota in the United States.
That’s where he fell in love with what would form the business he runs today.
With the $1,000 he invested from his savings, he bought drone parts and built one.
“The building was successful and as I started flying, I saw a great opportunity for business not in the US but in my home country of Rwanda,” he says.
Rutayisire set out to do so and his business was born in 2014.
But it wasn’t easy.
“Many were sceptical about a young African building such technology and many told me it was going to fail. Many times, we were chased out of offices because people thought that we were just kids playing around,” he says.
To prove the value of the technology, Rutayisire worked an entire year free in 2015 and the demand started pouring in.
Now, he employs 16 full-time staff and has opened new offices in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
One of the projects the company worked on was to use drones to fight malaria.
Last year, the company was voted one of the Companies to Inspire Africa by the London Stock Exchange Group.
The same year the firm received the ITU Telecom Award for its excellence in providing and promoting innovative ICT solutions with social impact.
Rutayisire plans to expand the business into 15 countries and reach 15 million farmers through his company’s services.