Social entrepreneurship lecturers from five universities have convened in Kigali to lure university students into entrepreneurship instead of waiting for the already scarce ‘white color jobs’.
Business and entrepreneurship senior lectures came from University of Nairobi, University of Burundi, James Cook University of Singapore, Dusseldorf Heinrich-Heine University from Germany and Strasbourg Business school in France.
The educationists have been in Kigali for the last ten days but will proceed with Kenya with the same message to sway future graduates to be business startups by being creative in solving social-economic challenges while also making money.
Richu Salome, a senior business lecturer at the University of Nairobi said; “many students complain about having no capital to start a business. This is the wrong mentality, as far as social entrepreneurship is concerned. Business starts with ideas and available free materials, not necessarily money.”
“To start a business, university students should focus on basics like finding a social-economic challenge to solve, and using available skills before thinking about money. Complaining about the failure of getting capital is becoming Africa’s wrong excuse among students; this is why lecturers have come up to fight this negative perception.”Richu said.
The workshop of encouraging and training university students to become entrepreneurs was hosted by the University of Tourism, Technology and business studies, the training started last week and run until Tuesday March 3rd.
So far, 8000 students have received basic social entrepreneurship skills. According to Richu they can pass skills to the rest of the students and unployed graduates in the country.
Francine Kayitesi, a business and administration management at UTB said, “We have benefitted from the training by knowing how to be observant in our communities and finding ideas of projects we can start but also be able to solve challenges.”
“It is possible to use available skills in society to start a business, targeting money. Yes, you can earn less at the start, but slowly grow up. This is better than waking up every day to look for jobs.”
Social entrepreneurship training from these lecturers fits in the governments’ targets to create 1.5 million off-farm jobs by 2024. These targets came after unemployment rates among educated Rwandans becoming alarming.
Available figures from the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) pilot survey indicate that unemployment levels are higher among educated Rwandans.
Unemployment among Rwandans who completed the upper secondary is the highest at 23%, followed by unemployment among graduates of tertiary education with 18%.
On another side, the rate of unemployment among uneducated is 10% – the lowest.
Lucy Kamau Wanjiku, a student at University of Nairobi who attended these trainings said, “Unemployment among graduates is not in Rwanda only, this is a common challenge in Africa, there should be change of mentality to seek for a ‘white color job’ after getting a degree certificate because few luck job seekers will get them.”
“We have gained many skills in this training, where a student can look around in the community and get a business idea that socially and economically addresses the problem, but also generating money.”
In the same sense of fighting unemployment rates in the country, the Rwandan government has a target of encouraging students to join Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) at the rate of 60% from 50% this year.
Dr. Callixte Kabera, a chancellor of UTB said, this training targets achieving financial independence of students, Rwanda is among African countries with most dynamic economies and exhibits strong economic growth. However, the country is subjected to challenges that could be overcome through hybrid entrepreneurship.”
“Students need to change their perception and be creative to solve community-based challenges and work for the money than waiting for jobs that are not guaranteed. This is why we are gathering as lecturers to share knowledge and transfer this knowledge to future entrepreneurs,” Dr. Kabera said.