Rwandan entrepreneurs have joined the rest of the world to organise a week long business forum expected to bring to life hundreds of businesses in Rwanda.
The Global Entrepreneurship Week is organised across 170 countries where 20,000 partners engage about 10 million people with entrepreneurial mindset but who need guidance.
The forums intend to help young men and women around the globe to venture into self-employment.
According to Idea 4 Africa the host of the week in Rwanda, this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week will involve a series of workshops, events, pitch competitions and panel discussions for entrepreneurs, makers and students from all disciplines.
Pamela Munyana the Country Director for Idea 4 Africa told KT Press “Global Entrepreneurship Week is a great way to encourage the community to explore ideas of business creation and problem solving in an approachable, no-barriers-to-entry format.”
“This year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week will focus on Entrepreneurship that has a positive impact on society, while also inspiring and catalysing the next generation of entrepreneurs,” she added.
While launching the week in November 13th, Youth Minister, Rosemary Mbabazi said Rwanda will continue having limited entrepreneurs unless an entrepreneurship course is added to the curricula across all stages of education.
“We need to take entrepreneurship lessons to primary school for early preparation of good entrepreneurs,” Minister Mbabazi said last night while participating at the launch of the ‘Global Entrepreneurship Week.
While the world grapples with serious issues of unemployment – Africa, the world’s youngest continent, suffers most.
According to African Development Bank statistics, of the continent’s 1.2 billion population 420 million people are aged 15 to 35 years and the number is expected to hit 830 million in 2050.
Each year, statistics show, ten to twelve million young Africans join the job market while only three million formal jobs are created annually – a trend that could trigger massive unemployment on the continent in the next decade.
To deal with the matter, Rwanda has set an ambitious plan to create 1.5 million off-farm jobs in the next seven years.
Recently, the Ministry of Agriculture and its partners provided Rwf500 million to supporter young entrepreneurs joining agriculture – the country’s economic backbone which employs over 80% of 12 million population.
While entrepreneurship projects have been created, Minister Rosemary Mbabazi told participants at the event that “We need to spread entrepreneurship mindset across schools and develop a sense of early savings.”
According to Rosemary, most young Rwandans own briefcase companies and claim lack of access to finance pushes back their projects.
“But government has established BDF fund that provides 75% investment guarantee for these projects,” she challenged the youth at the event.
One of the biggest challenges facing youth from becoming entrepreneurship is looking for money and leave the other aspects, according to Minister Mbabazi.
“You start business by solving the challenges in your community. Don’t look for money, look for opportunities. Money will follow,” she told the youth.
Meanwhile, Pamela Munyana – the head of ‘Idea for Africa’ said her organisation is working with 40 local schools to develop entrepreneurship among students.
Idea4Africa inspires and equips youth entrepreneurs to develop social and economic value for their communities and for the world.
At the event, both African Development Bank and United Nations Development Program announced big plans to work with the Ministry of youth to take entrepreneurship to the next level.
“Entrepreneurship is a culture, not an activity. Since not every society has this, we need to work on mind shift,” said Stephen Rodriguez, UNDP country director.
“Change will always occur, and change is seen right across the board in Rwanda,” he added.
Started by the Kauffman foundation in 2008, the Global Entrepreneurship Week is a celebration of innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.
This is the seventh consecutive year that the Global Entrepreneurship Week is being held in Rwanda.