Thirty project proposals will next week, on Wednesday, September 16, be announced as the winners of the recently launched Cultural and Creative Industry recovery fund. The grant winners will be selected from a group of 45 project proposals that were pre-selected from a batch of 600 projects. The initiative is a financial grant started by the Ministry of Youth and Culture and Imbuto Foundation to support young artists with seed funding and business training to implement innovative projects and overcome defies caused by COVID-19. The application was open to all Rwandans, individuals or enterprises, that have artistic and innovative projects with the potential to create job opportunities and skills development in the cultural and creative art industry. Joel Murenzi, Youth Empowerment Unit Coordinator at Imbuto Foundation, says that the majority of the pre-selected proposals are in the music category. “Most of them have projects that seek to help young musicians. I have also seen many of them establishing online platforms to enable young artistes to commercialise digital content among others”. Additionally, Murenzi says that winners will range from all categories including music, film production, arts, writers, fashion, and traditional dance. Speaking about the selection, Murenzi notes that a jury of five judges have been nominated to grace the finals. “The group includes artistes who have been in the sector for a long time, entrepreneurs as well as individuals conversant with the industry,” Murenzi explains. Also, all the selected teams will have a 15-minute pitching session before the deliberations. “They will be given seven minutes to make the last pitch, and they will be examined in the other minutes,” he adds. “The selection criteria will be based on the originality and relevance of the project, its target population and expected impact, observed research made on the subject (if applicable), the creativity expressed in its presentation as well as the business plan,” Murenzi said in an earlier interview. Each of the grant winners, according to Murenzi, will be awarded with Rwf 10,000,000 seed funding. The grant will be disbursed in two instalments. The second instalment will be disbursed upon evaluating the performance of how the first instalment was used. Prior to receiving the funding and during the implementation of their projects, however, successful applicants will undergo a boot camp training to fine-tune their projects as well as an intensive training on financial management. The training will be part of the six-month coaching that will be provided by Business Professionals Network (BPN), the implementing agency.