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The Potential of Entrepreneurship Education in Rwanda

Universität Koblenz-Landau | Leon Mutesa, Maria Mayanja, Eva Liliane Ujeneza, Mark Abel, Sangwa Rwabuhihi

The unique way of a country to become the future home of Africa's tech giants.

The ambition of the Rwandan government when it comes to its investments in technology and innovation is immense and has been growing for years. With its goal to become the technology hub in Eastern Africa and to attract start-ups that want to try their products and business models, before entering larger African markets, the small state has become very successful in its region. And at the same time, more and more universities in Rwanda are discovering the importance of entrepreneurship teaching within the academic curricula, which can have a significant role in the country’s economic and social development.

In this virtual event, we have the pleasure to talk with four experts in the field of scientific entrepreneurship who are all based in Rwanda. We will highlight how these experts as well as entrepreneurs are identifying promising innovations, doing important research on the ground and creating new ways of teaching in the field of entrepreneurship. Ultimately, the mission of this talk is not only to provide a counter-narrative to the singular story of the African continent but also to show the unique way of a small country to become the future home of Africa’s tech giants through its investment in education and entrepreneurship.

Moderated by Derrick Vormavor, a Ghanaian entrepreneur who works with at the StArfrica Project by the University of Koblenz-Landau.

The mission of StArfrica – Startup Germany-Africa – is to increase the attractiveness of Germany for African start-ups as well as to sensitize and facilitate the market entry of German start-ups and companies in Africa.

The project is currently implemented on a pilot basis in Rwanda and in cooperation with the University of Rwanda (UR) in Kigali. Our team is based at the Institute for Scientific Entrepreneurship at the University of Koblenz as well as on-site at the UR in Kigali.

PUBLIC TALK ON ZOOM. PLEASE REGISTER.

This is a digital event. If you would like to attend, please book your spot here. Access to the event will be provided after registration by the organiser.

Leon Mutesa

UNIVERSITY OF RWANDA

Prof. Leon Mutesa is Director of Center for Human Genetics at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences University of Rwanda. He obtained his MD from the university of Rwanda in 2003 and his PhD in 2009 from the University of Liege-Belgium where he also completed his Post-Doc in 2011. Throughout his career he has been immensely involved in clinical services, academics, research, capacity building, and management in the health sector. Since starting his genetic career, Prof. Mutesa has pioneered new developments and implementation of a Reference Centre for Medical Genetics in Rwanda, which is the only one in the East African Region. Currently, he is coordinating Rwandan Task Force for COVID-19 laboratory testing under WHO consultancy. Since the COVID-19 outbreak in Rwanda, Dr Mutesa and his research group have implemented various research projects aiming at building human capacity for SARS-CoV-2 laboratory diagnostic and management. Together with his group they have recently published a Nature’s paper on pooling testing strategy (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2885-5 ) which shows a cost-saving approach for better use of SARS-CoV-2 limited testing resources.

Maria Mayanja

CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY AFRICA

Maria Mayanja is the Entrepreneurship Program Manager at Carnegie Mellon University Africa (CMU-Africa). She currently supports operations of the university’s incubator – the Industry Innovation Lab (IIL) as well as institutional entrepreneurship programming support. She has held previous roles in student recruitment and marketing at the institution. Prior to CMU-Africa, she was an entrepreneur, co-founding two companies in Rwanda.

 

Eva Liliane Ujeneza

RWANDA INSTITUTE FOR CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE

Eva Liliane Ujeneza is a lecturer of Mathematics at the Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture (RICA), and a Doctoral student at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. She specializes in mathematical and statistical modelling and utilizes her skills to solve challenges of public health interest. Through research, she is affiliated to the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) Center in Rwanda, with their recent collaborative project being a new pooled testing strategy to identify COVID19 positive cases. In February 2021, she received the Rwanda National Council for Science and Technology (NCST) Women in Science Rising Star Award, for demonstrating “innovation in creating science-based physical and tangible solutions useful to society”.

Eva participated in the first StArfrica – Startup Germany-Africa incubation program and emerged winner of the final pitching contest. Her business idea, namely Hypercube solution Ltd (HYPES in short), is a company that aims at boosting the testing capacity of diagnosis lab by providing the infrastructure and knowledge required for the successful implementation of pool testing techniques.

Mark Abel Mugenwa is the Co-Founder and CEO of Rokkup – a Platform for Africa’s Startups to train and hire their Sales talents, currently operating in Rwanda, Kenya, and Nigeria. Mark is also the Partnership Executive at Africa Tech Summit, one of the largest Africa’s Tech events that helps Tech Businesses to connect, explore and invest in Africa. He’s a former Director for Hult Prize at the University Rwanda where he helped University students to create business ideas and supported their journey to pitch to the regional level. Mark left the University of Rwanda where he was studying Physics to chase his passion in Entrepreneurship.

Sangwa Rwabuhihi is the Managing Director of Silvergate Consulting, a consulting firm based in Kigali, providing advisory services to corporations and ESOs in Africa. From 2019 to 2021, Sangwa Rwabuhihi was the General Manager of the Westerwelle Start-up Haus Kigali, the largest startup hub in Kigali. He oversaw the growth of the hub, developed partnerships with key ecosystem players and initiated several incubation programs with GIZ and Evonik Foundation.

Sangwa graduated from the University of Kaiserslautern in software engineering. He speaks fluently Kinyarwanda, German, French and English and has lived in Senegal, Cameroon, Switzerland, Germany and Rwanda.

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