AFRICAN Innovation Prize (AIP), on Wednesday, awarded four students from Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) after they emerged winners in the just-concluded business plan competition.
AIP which is sponsored by KIST and Cambridge University of UK is aimed at boosting global entrepreneurship by encouraging university students to commercialize ideas and innovations.
The competition which was launched in March this year, was carried out in two phases; Phase I was to award prizes for best business idea under 250 words and Phase 2 involves awarding start-up capital for best business plans.
“We want to create a business plan competition for Rwandan University students to access capital and business mentorship,” said Prof John Mushana, the vice Rector for Academics at KIST, during the awarding ceremony.
“KIST produces civil and mechanical engineers but these cannot get jobs without entrepreneurs in the country or without strong vibrant innovations in the private sector,” he added.
Over 33 students submitted entries and the best two; Bertin Harerimana and Baptiste Dushimiyimana were each given Rwf472,000, while the two runners up were each given Rwf40,000.
Speaking to The New Times, Rajew Aggarwal, the director of Centre for Innovations at KIST, said the AIP will soon raise the prize money to ensure that participants get tangible funding for their projects after they have registered them with Rwanda Development Board. “We are planning to increase the prize money to £2000 (approx Rwf2m),” he said.