Fifty finalists from secondary schools in the country have pitched marketing projects that will revamp relatively dormant local companies or businesses that are yet to pick up.
The promising marketers are top Rwandan secondary school students selected for Bridge2Rwanda (B2R) University scholarship 2018.
Bridge2Rwanda was formed in 2007 to help expand Rwanda’s global network of friends, to encourage foreign direct investment and to create opportunities for Rwandan students to study abroad.
Pending their flight to foreign universities, the students proposed a marketing strategy local companies such as Manumetal, a furniture company, YegoCabs, a transport facility and International Computer Driving License (ICDL)-Africa.
The students made three teams and studied a marketing solution for three companies respectively.
Lillian Mutoni, a university candidate under Bridge to Rwanda initiative represents the team that proposed business solution for Manumetal – one of the first companies to have put made in Rwanda furniture to the local market.
She said; “Our team came up with simple business solutions of branding. For instance, their logo (MM) must be on each product. We shall also use the furniture wood waste to make free key holders which will remind Rwandans of its existence.”
During the pitch this week, she suggested that Manumental should adopt the system of selling products online where sell is by ordering of products displayed online with price tags, and diversifying its products beyond office furniture.
In another group, Luitgard Ineza Ukangutse, 19, from Gashora Girls and national best student in mathematics in 2017, presented a business idea that will not only improve tourism transport but improve cab services, which many Rwandans have distanced from sighting high prices.
In her team pitch, they have focused on YegoCabs – the newest cab services where pricing is calculated by a meter.
It is seen with negative perception on its pricing – Rwf1500 per initial kilometer by clients accustomed to bargains.
Her team suggests that they will brand bags with YegoCabs logo, thus making it known to every other food commodities’ consumer across the city markets.
“Ugly envelops will be eliminated by making something attractive for the local users who don’t normally dispose-off the bags, thus more exposure at homes and offices which can be added value to tourism services and transportation,” Ukangutse said.
The benefiting companies said that the ideas the students proposed will be integrated in their new business plans, but also provide a win-win situation which will benefit the young innovators as well.
This win-win situation and patent right of the student’s innovations will be guaranteed by BAG Innovation- a local organization that has invested in securing internships, innovation training for over 2000 graduate secondary school students since 2017.
According to Happiness Uwase, the Director of Careers Development at B2R, students have an opportunity to get 16 months soft skills training and four month internship in Rwandan companies before they join universities abroad, but with assurance of coming back home to serve.
The first class of Bridge2Rwanda was launched in 2011. So far, 231 students have passed through the programme, and 30 of them got employed.