FEATURED: I&M Bank, SPENN partnership gives UoR students chance to win Hult Prize

Students take a group photo after the training

Hult Prize, the world’s largest platform which rewards students with innovative social enterprises recently selected the University of Rwanda to host the local edition of Hult Prize.

The annual Hult Prize awards $1 million in start-up funding to the team of students that develops the most radical and breakthrough idea to solve one of our world’s toughest social challenges.

This year’s 10th anniversary Hult Prize challenge is Youth Unemployment: Building the foundations of a venture that will provide meaningful work for 10,000 youth within the next decade.

In order to raise the confidence of University of Rwanda students in the competition, I&M Bank has given participating students a training opportunity the cashless economy.

The training for student leaders took place at Camp Kigali on November 16, 2018.

The student leaders were taken through SPENN programmes, which gave them a deeper understanding about SPENN as the solution to connecting Rwanda through financial services.

SPENN programmes target both the banked and the unbanked population to support the country’s efforts towards a cashless economy.

They were also trained to recruit fellow students as additional users, thus effectively expanding the SPENN ecosystem.

Ogrey Brandsdal, CCO of the Fintech Company Blockbonds, the parent company of SPENN Rwanda, said the younger generations is often early-adopters in new technologies and is therefore an important target group.  

“The strategy is to cooperate with 40 UR student leaders, to present SPENN to the Rwandan market and simplify the lives of all Rwandans. We will be a part of the event on the December 12 to showcase the product to all attendants” says Brandsdal. 

Brandsdal added: “The Hult Prize is a wonderful example of the creative cooperation needed to build a world with shared opportunity, shared responsibility and shared prosperity.  I&M Bank has positioned itself as a first-mover in the market and is eager to fulfil the vision of the Rwandan government to create a cashless economy. That is why we want to help these young innovative minds to win the Hult Prize.”

In partnership with the United Nationsthe Hult Prize is hosting college and university events around the world in search for the next game-changing start-up.

Marc Abel Mugenwa the student’s Campus Director andJosian Mushimimana Head of Events and Public Relations at University of Rwanda

Marc Abel Mugenwa, the student’s Campus Director of who leads the Hult Prize at University of Rwanda On Campus Program, is confident that his peers have as good as chance as anyone to go all the way and win this year’s Hult Prize.

“We are partnering with SPENN under I&M bank to help us understand the cashless economy which Rwanda will be by 2020 and this will boost our chances of winning the Hult prize. Students here want to succeed and to win and I am confident that this time they will. So, we are not pulling anyone back, we are just giving them a chance to win” said Mugenwa

 “More than ever, our generation is in dire need of innovations that address climate change, gender equity, equal health rights and a broad access to other social services” says Mugenwa

The winner of the intra-campus event will automatically advance to compete in one of fifteen regional finals happening around the world.

During the training, the student leaders were taken through SPENN programs

One of the winning team from each host city will then move onto a summer business accelerator, where participants will receive mentorship, advisory and strategic planning as they create prototypes and set-up to launch their new social business.

A final round of competition will be hosted in September 2019, where the winning team is to be awarded the $1,000,000 prize.

Hult Prize at University of Rwanda is now recruiting volunteers and teams who are interested in registering for the competition.

According to Josian Mushimimana, the Head of Events and Public Relations at University of Rwanda, this is the third time that University of Rwanda is participating in the Hult Prize competition.

“We have been in the competition since 2016 and we have always reached the regional level. Though our target is 50 teams, we have so far registered 36 teams with good innovations and we are expecting more teams to register before the competition on December 12 2018” says Mushimimana.