Enabling Entrepreneurs to Achieve Success & Significance

Rwanda finally joins global enterprise fete

Posted in News & Releases on November 15th, 2011 by Charity

Rwanda will this year joining the rest of the world to mark the Global Entrepreneurship Week for the first time since its launch in 2008.

Addressing a preparatory press conference on Friday, Yvette Mu­karwema the acting chief executive officer called on the country’s young start their own enterprises.

“Increased entrepreneurship will help Rwanda achieve its Vision 2020 of having a private sector based economy but the country’s es­pecially young elite should change perception that business is for unemployed and uneducated people,” she remarked.

Mukarwema said that Rwanda’s vision of a private sector-led economy by 2020 would get a huge boost if the youth, especially the educated ones, stopped looking at small scale businesses as being for only those who never went to school and are unemployed.

Babson-Rwanda Entrepreneurship Centre is the official national host. Benjamin Cox, its national coordinator, says the main objec­tive of the global entrepreneurship week is to help inspire Rwan­dans to beat the fear of initiating small businesses as a way of job creation.

“The events of the week have been carefully parked to help inspire local Rwandans, especially the youth, to be able to put their business ideas into action by creating small-scale enterprises,” Cox said.

At least 27 activities will take place in the course of the week at different venues in the coun­try. “From the entrepreneurship awareness campaign through dynamics of entrepreneurship and finally real entrepreneurial mindset participants will emerge out of this week a whole lot dif­ferent and in a better position to create business,” said Cox.

Over 20 local firms in the en­trepreneurship sector will share knowledge aimed at inspiring the youth to launch new busi­nesses, create networks with vi­tal groups of stakeholders from the public, private and civil so­cieties.

“I am very proud of the line-up, the week will spark a re­newed vigor for innovation in the country and shine an inter­national spotlight on the ways in which entrepreneurship is shaping Rwanda of tomorrow,” said Christopher Smith of the Babson-Rwanda Entrepreneur­ship Centre.

The entrepreneurship week starts when the country is fresh from marking the East African Community week where the youth too were challenged to vigorously exploit the business opportunities in the region.

This is the third year since Global Entrepreneurship Week was launched by former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.  “In three years, Global Entre­preneurship Week has expand­ed to more than 100 countries empowering nearly 20 million people through 95, 000 activi­ties. It’s therefore an honor that Rwanda is a part of this huge an­nual event,” said Smith.

Lack of mentors

Babson-Rwanda entrepre­neurship centre was formed in 2010 through a unique partner­ship between Babson College in Wellesley (USA) and the Rwanda Private Sector Federation. Mu­karwema said that the partner­ship has register fundamental achievements that have in a way helped spur the country’s eco­nomic growth.

“For example, in 1998, there were only a paltry 72,000 private businesses, but these had reached 123,000 by 2010  creating over 3,000 jobs per year,” she said.

Rwanda’s private sector has enjoyed steady growth in recent years with the progress mostly attributed to political stability and good government policy.

On the current global eco­nomic slowdown which has af­fected business globally, creating millions of jobless persons and led to the closure of several com­panies worldwide, Christopher Smith says, Rwanda entrepre­neurs should see an opportunity to grow rather than a problem from which to run away.

Lack of mentors from whom to draw inspiration has been a challenge to aspiring entrepre­neurs but Cox hopes this will be no more by Friday.

“The fear to start a business even when the idea is good, the notion that you cannot start with a small capital are some of the challenges which cause aspirers to drawback, but this week will expose participants to experi­enced players who will act as mentors and provide inspiration to start a business,” Cox said.

Local companies participat­ing in Rwanda’s global entrepre­neurship week include Rwanda Development Board (RDB), ServiceMag, Creative Eye and Kaufman, the global sponsors.

The week will be closed in style with a toast to the success of innovators. The closing ceremony will also feature a keynote address by Eric Kacou, co-founder and CEO of Entrepreneurial Solutions Part­ners. He’s also the author of the book, “Entrepreneurial solutions for prosperity in BOP markets.”

Rwanda will this year joining the rest of the world to mark the Global Entrepreneurship Week for the first time since its launch in 2008.