After a competition that brought together 23 teams comprising students from African Leadership University (ALU) Rwanda, about six teams walked away with certificates, with the school committing to further support their projects.
Dubbed ‘ALU Innovate’, the competition saw students undergo a 12-week intensive entrepreneurship course that culminated into the final pitching event that took place at the campus on Tuesday.
The entrepreneurial projects and ideas pitched to a panel of judges and students were addressing issues related to healthcare, education, creative industry, youth unemployment and agriculture, among others.
The projects included an employment website, “mosquito knockout” water accessibility tools and comic books aiming to destigmatise menstruation among young women.
The final winner was an application called “Bloodi App”, conceived by Francis Wohome, Ian Obutho and Moses Rubibi.
“Bloodi App” connects hospitals and blood banks with blood donors to combat the extreme deficit of blood in the region (the team of students on this project hail from Kenya and Rwanda).
The app will also record users’ medical records to expedite the screening process required before blood transfusions can be made.
“We realise that blood shortage is bigger than we thought. The region needs millions of blood units so we decided, even after this, that we’re going to look for investments and work to bring the system to life,” said Wohome.
According to the school, the competition is one of the activities that students attending their first year spend time doing. Students spend time analysing and identifying pressing challenges faced by their immediate communities and come up with solutions to them.
“This is what African Leadership University Innovate is about. We are preparing African students for the future,” Tolu Agunbiade, the head of Entrepreneurial Leadership Faculty at ALU Rwanda, said.
While the final results were decided by a panel of judges, the audience gave their opinions through an online poll, rating the projects based on three categories; most engaging, most likely to receive the audience’s donations, and most likely to receive the most followers on social media.
Projects popular with the audience included “The Pink Box”, whose primary aim is to destigmatise menstruation through comic books.
The head of the college, Veda Sunassee, praised the finalists for their innovation and for expertly “identifying the need”, encouraging the students to persevere, despite the inevitable failures inherent to being a young entrepreneur.
By Julius Bizimungu & Mira Craig-Morse