Young entrepreneurs with the best innovative business ideas are poised to be incubated at the African Centre of Excellence in Energy for Sustainable Development’s Grid Innovation and Incubation Hub (GIIH) at University of Rwanda.
This is in a bid to inspire and mentor innovation-based entrepreneurship with the view to create an environment where development of start-up enterprises can be inspired and supported.
Grid Innovation and Incubation Hub is a World Bank-funded project, which is meant to discover, nurture, and potentially fund exceptional youth’s business ideas that are innovative, scalable, and have huge transformational potential.
Pascal Nyiringango, the Head of GIIH believes that exceptional ideas and exceptional founders should be matched with exceptional support.
“Grid Innovation and Incubation Hub seeks to discover amazing, out-of-the-box, disruptive, highly innovative, scalable, and potentially transformational ideas from youth interested in different businesses but mostly focusing on renewable energy”, he said.
The Hub offerings are designed in a way that increases the chances for the incubated startups to develop and grow beyond what they could achieve on their own.
The value-adding services are the key to enable our startups to spin out in to the community and create jobs and prosperity in Rwanda and beyond.
The young entrepreneurs will get skills in prototyping, patent drafting and IP, mentoring, coaching, and access to seed funding among other services.
So far, 40 start-ups with innovative business ideas have expressed interest in being incubated among which 25 were shortlisted for the final phase of selection.
In a one-week pitching exercise, 25 innovative ideas owners were given an opportunity to showcase their ideas and explain how these innovations would benefit not only themselves but also the community at large.
During the official launch of the first edition of the pitch that was held online, Dr Emile Bievenu, the UR Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs and Research, commended everyone who came up with innovative ideas and said promoting innovation and entrepreuneship is the main concern of UR.
“I was impressed by different ideas that were proposed. Although all of them will not be selected to receive funding, we are very committed to supporting innovations. This is in line with the global vision of UR. We want to produce young graduates equipped with entreprenship and employability skills”, he said.
He reminded the contestants that “entrepreunship is about inventing and innovating. To be an entrepreneur is to be willing to devote yourself fully to make your business idea a reality...it is about creating a competitive environment”.
Among 25 contestants, 15 best ideas will be incubated for a 6 months period getting mentorship coaching and funds for the implementation of the project.