Contestants for the recently launched Cultural and Creative Industry recovery fund on Tuesday, September 15, started a two-day final pitching exercise that will determine 30 winners.
The final winners will be picked Wednesday from 45 project proposals selected from the initial 600 proposals. The startups are owned by youth.
The initiative is the brainchild of the Ministry of Youth and Culture, and Imbuto Foundation and seeks to support young artists with seed funding and capacity building so as to implement their innovative projects.
The idea is to help eventual winners navigate business challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sandrine Umutoni, Director General, Imbuto Foundation, pointed out that proposals which will prove to have long-term impacts both for the artists and the creative sector in general will be prioritised during the selection process.
“We can’t fund all artists in the country, which is why we will be looking out for proposals that will impact the sector more,” Umutoni, who is also part of the jury, said on Day I of the pitching exercise in Kacyiru.
Besides, she added, the initiative seeks to promote Rwanda’s creative industry on the international stage.
“We are aware that we have artists who deserve recognition globally and our support is designed to ensure that their work goes beyond the borders,” Umutoni noted.
She, however, decried the fact that women are hardly fairly represented in the competition.
“We have 20 entries (out of the remaining 45) from ladies,” she pointed out. “This shows that (women) are still reluctant to join this industry owing to a mindset that this is a male dominated field.
”This passes means that we have to keep encouraging young women to be not shy away from taking on fields” which are by far dominated by men.
Alice Nkulikiyinka, Managing Director, Business Partners Network (BPN), said: “We are here to promote the whole industry, not an individual. We prioritise projects that can benefit many people, not just their owners.”
BPN, which is the implementing agency, will organise a boot camp where the final winners will be assisted to fine-tune their projects and trained in financial management, she said.
Each of the winners will receive Rwf10 million in seed funding.
The grant will be disbursed in two instalments, with the second coming after an assessment of how the first was used.
Contestants weigh in
One of the contestants, Credia Umuhire Ruzigana, Managing Director and co-founder of Imanzi Creations, told this publication that her organisation has established what she called Rwanda’s first online marketplace for artworks.
So far, she said, the platform has capacity to accommodate up to five sections of different artwork pieces.
“We have a section for the photo art, poems, authors, illustrators and both hand and digital painters,” Ruzigana explained.
She highlighted that the platform will be free of charge to all artists. “If we are lucky enough to win, we will use the grant to further develop the grant, market the products, and train several artists on how to sell online.
For Ivan Rwibutso, another contestant, said he has set up an online meeting point (Famemix) for local artists and their counterparts in the Diaspora.
“Our platform is exclusively for Rwandan music and will not only help artists in the country sell their songs but also interact with Rwandan artistes in the Diaspora ‘’ he said.Follow https://twitter.com/EdwinAshimwe