Eight Groups of young entrepreneurs have been awarded with cash prizes for their innovation that transformed the cow by-products into solutions of the society.
The awards were given on the occasion of the Research and Development and Innovations Demo Day which intended to add value on cow products and cow by-products.
It was organised by the National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) on Friday, December 9 at their Huye based Research Centre.
The winners, including 23 youth who went through a tough selection process hail from 162 groups including 486 youth from university or fresh graduates (not more than five years).
Some did manure from cattle urine, or cow dung and pet food while others produced briquettes still from the cow dung.
The latter were also able to make the kitchen stoves appropriate to these briquettes or made a briquette production machinery.
Others made cow safe ear tag for among others detecting cow diseases and welfare, cow sausages, among others. First group took home Rwf 10 million, while the second one and the third one took Rwf 7 million and Rwf 5 million respectively.
The remaining teams were awarded Rwf 1 million.
Speaking during the event, Richard Niwenshuti, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade, and Industry (MINICOM) hailed NIRDA for supporting young innovators stressing that the youth are the future industrialists.
“The projects supported by NIRDA show that we can have innovations that address issues that our industries are facing,” he said.
“We are committed to keep supporting young innovators whose projects bring about positive impact to our industries. We are very thankful to NIRDA for supporting the cause.”
Under its Life Sciences Laboratories and STEM lab, NIRDA supported the young innovators through hackathons for the second time.
Apart from the just concluded Innovate for Cow Biohackathon where 8 groups were awarded with cash prizes, NIRDA organized innovate for Industry hackathon and 6 companies were awarded.
According to Dr. Christian SEKOMO BIRAME, NIRDA Director General, more efforts will be put into supporting young innovators to boost outstanding projects that can be transformed into bankable businesses.
“We will keep working with young innovators and other institutions and the private sector to support young innovators and ensure that their projects yield viable and commercial products,” he said.
Fausta Tumukunde, one of the Green Home Group members who bagged Rwf10 million was excited about the award.
“Our project seeks to address environmental pollution challenges. Research reveals that deforestation is increasing due to firewood or charcoal use in the community. We want to use our machine to produce briquettes that are eco-friendly and affordable,” she said.
For those who earned more than Rwf 10 million, NIRDA will accompany them in expansion efforts.
Meanwhile, coming next is another competition that will reward young entrepreneurs involved in producing machinery for agro processing industry.
NIRDA is a government institution that has been mandated with a mission to enable a generation of industrial innovators to become competitive through technology monitoring, acquisition, development and transfer & applied research.