40 Young Entrepreneurs Stand to Win Up to Rwf8.5 Million Each in Rwanda

Forty young business operators have been selected to undergo an eight-month entrepreneurship training at Accelerate Academy run by These Numbers Have Faces (TNHF), an American-based start-up support organisation. The beneficiaries were selected from 150 young entrepreneurs who pitched their ideas during the recent Accelerate Summit training and competition that targeted start-ups by university students and fresh graduates.

“We are looking for young people who have running enterprises that have at least made $80 in sales. The young entrepreneurs must be passionate and ready to learn new business management skills,” said Justin Zoradi, the founder of TNHF.

The participants in the Accelerate Academy will undergo intensive training by American and local experts to enable them grow their businesses through innovative ways and proper management and planning. They stand to win between $1,000 to 10,000 each in seed capital to inject in their enterprises, according to Zoradi.

Jean Paul Uwiringiyimana, who runs a branding company called Genuine Laser Shop, is one of the winners of last year’s edition of Accelerate Academy. Uwiringiyimana won $1,000 seed capital that he used to scale up the business.

“Most participants are attracted by the money not the skills they would acquire from the training. However, during the training you realise that we need to acquire business skills (first) and then money because most young people don’t even know how to manage the little finances at their disposal,” said Uwiringiyimana.

This year’s Accelerate Academy has start-up operators from sectors such as agriculture, retailing, construction, education and training, energy, fashion and design, financial services, logistics, healthcare, ICT, manufacturing, media and entertainment.

Jeanette Mutoniwase is one of the 40 finalists taking part in the Accelerate Summit in Kigali. She said she made the cut because of her unique project and her persistence.

Mutoniwase runs the Rwandan Youth Generation for Change, an organisation that seeks to empower youth and women to become self-reliant by making handicrafts using recycled materials.