At least nine innovators from the three districts of Kigali have been recognised for their social innovations during the launch of the 2nd edition of ‘Gera Ku Ntego Social Enterprise Competition,’ organised by Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) Rwanda.
The top nine are the teams and individual young social entrepreneurs whose projects were selected through a competitive process that included a total of 30 innovations from Nyarugenge, Gasabo and Kicukiro.
There were three winners from each district.
The outstanding entrepreneurs in each district were awarded with cash prizes, with the first one walking away with Rwf 700,000, the second with Rwf500,000 and the third Rwf300,000.
Another 39 innovators will be selected from the other 13 districts, where DOT Rwanda operates.
“These young people have gone through our training programme and this is part of our bigger objective of empowering the youth and connecting them to opportunities. We are providing them with necessary knowledge and skills to inspire them become social entrepreneurs, one of them is access to finance,” said Emmanuel Nzeyimana, DOT Rwanda country programme manager.
Nzeyimana explained that the competition seeks to facilitate the innovators to scale up their social innovations as well as encourage other young people, but also enable the creation of a programme for continuous mentorship and coaching.
This year’s edition is running under the theme, Youth Scaling the Impact of Innovation, and will be held in 16 districts across the country where the organisation operates.
Prior to the competition, DOT Rwanda held a three-month training programme which brought together 640 youths from 16 districts to learn about social innovation, prototyping, testing and how they can launch their own enterprises in their communities.
According to Lambert Rulindana, one of the winners whose Green Power project seeks to connect rural population through providing access to eco-friendly energy using water-powered lamps, the competition was a game-changer and introduced him to new ideas.
“My project was targeting only those people in rural areas who can’t afford to pay the bills for electricity, but after the competition I realised that there’s a way I can customise it and benefit people on a large scale. This was really a mind-blowing competition,” he told Saturday Times.
Those who were awarded in Kicukiro District include Lambert Rulindana (1st), Jean Marie Vianney Habiyambere (2nd) of Cow Horns project, and Duharanire Isuku Isoko Y’ubuzima Cooperative (3rd).
In Gasabo, those who were awarded include Prosper Karangwa Iradukunda (1st) who developed a software that will allow sector officers to collect grassroots security fees; Fata Vuba Cooperative (2nd) that’s making of cloths, baskets, hats, and decorations using kitenge fabrics; and Sandrine Sangwa (3rd) whose application will ease the disabled people particularly those with visual impairment by turning SMS texts into audio version messages.
In Nyarugenge, Esperence Akingeneye, who runs a nursery school, came first, Nuru Rwemera, who makes artcraft materials, was the second, while Yves Nyandwi, who produces juice from fresh red cabbages, got the third position.