The City of Kigali in partnership with 1000 Alternatives Rwanda, a youth impact investment firm have awarded Rwf4.5m to top three startup inventions that will create social impact in Rwanda.
Through the Kigali Employment Service Centre, the winners were nominated among the 15 finalists who participated in the “Impact Reimagined”- a bi-annual competition that helps to identify, to nurture and to invest in profit-driven businesses whose products and services intend to deliver positive social impact.
The Winners walked away with cash prizes worth Rwf2million for the first prize Rwf1.5million for the second prize and Rwf1million for the third prize.
Aqua Safi Ltd emerged the overall winner, while Ineza Bamboo Weaving became first runner-up and Safe Santa Ltd, the second runner-up.
The top winner of the competition, Eric Safari, the founder of Aqua Safi Ltd emerged as the best for inventing technology that will be used to conserve fish ecosystem by being able to detect the amount of toxic substance in water.
Safari said the technology uses a device that is inserted in the lakes to detect changes and in fish breeding environment and thus ultimately help to reduce the loss in fish productivity in the country.
Safari said the device has the capacity to alert the fish farmer of any problem within the fish habitat and they have experimented with fish farmers in Bugesera and Nyanza districts, whose feedback has been positive.
“Aqua Safi has a device that has a real time dashboard. When you put it in a fish farm, it sends a short message (SMS) when the water threatens to turn acidic the farmer can take mitigation measures,” Safari said.
The second winning project- Ineza Bamboo Weaving by Francine Iradukunda, will add value to bamboo trees that will be turned into cost effective but durable furniture.
Pierre Niyonzima of Safe Santa Ltd invented a device that can help detect LPG gas levels and prevent potential explosion.
The device with a real time dashboard, sits on the gas cylinder and turns off any tank that leaks automatically and sends a SMS alert.
All these innovative inventions, according to the Kigali city Vice Mayor in Charge of Socio-Economic Affairs, Nadine Gatsinzi Umutoni, are a good opportunity for youth to build a better future for their country.
“The awards will enable you to develop these ideas into big business and since you are young we would like to see more innovations that will create jobs and improve our society,” Umutoni said.
Mary W. Karanja, Corporate Services Director for 1000 Alternatives Global said that engagement and enthusiasm shown by all participants was encouraging and promised to look for ways to continue working with the current cohort of 15 that just underwent this competition.
“We will be looking to leverage partnerships and resources to continue this very important exercise working very closely under the guidance of the City of Kigali and the Kigali Youth Employment Services” Karanja said.