young entrepreneurs have hailed the annual YouthConnekt convention, saying it is an avenue for the youth from different parts of the country and the Diaspora to share knowledge, network and form market linkages.
This year’s conference attracted over 3,000 young people from across the country and the Diaspora. During the three-day event, young innovators and entrepreneurs exhibited some of their products as part of efforts by government to promote consumption of locally-made products. Many of the exhibitors at the event said showcasing the products is one of the ways to market their innovations and businesses. They added that it also provides them a platform to network and share ideas and experiences that would enable them to improve their start-ups and ensure they grow sustainably.
Cleoneste Nsabimana, a member of Ingenzi Cooperative which produces fruit juice in Gatsibo District, said that the YouthConnekt exhibition benefits young innovators through sharing knowledge on job-creation. “The exhibition links young innovators and offers them an opportunity to learn from each other, especially on how to produce competitively for the local and regional markets,” Nsabimana said. He added that they also discussed ways how to improve the standards and their value chains.
Esther Simbi, a basket weaver from Ruhango District, applauded the government for giving young people “such opportunities to showcase and market our products”. “The exhibition helped me get contacts that I believe will help my business to grow through market-linkages,” Simbi said.
Flaurence Ingabire, from Akillah Women Institute, said she helped other young females to know about the opportunities the institution presents them, in case they failed to get government scholarship for higher education.
Jean Bosco Niyomugabo, a handicraft maker, said that he learnt the importance of market and branding from colleagues at the exhibition.
Meanwhile, young people have been encouraged to be self-reliant as well as become more creative and innovative to contribute to national development.
The YouthConnekt Convention is a platform that brings together youth to deliberate on critical issues they face, such as unemployment, and also share experiences. The latest edition started on Sunday and ended yesterday.