Gifted graduates in enterprising skills are set for a bright future following the conception of an entrepreneurship fund, dubbed, Akilah Entrepreneurship Fund (AEF), which will mainly support innovative businesses identified through regular competitions.
The competition, which started this year, only considers the best four winning business innovations for funding.
Officials at Akilah Institute for Women say the fund would provide an opportunity for the graduates to practice the business skills they acquire during their school life, a gap they have blamed for keeping unemployment levels among the university leavers high.
“Today, we are launching Akilah Entrepreneurship Fund whose beneficiaries will be the owners of the winning business proposals through competitions,” said Aline Kabanda, the country director of Akilah Institute for Women -Rwanda.
She added: “We realized there was need to design an entrepreneurship fund that will support the best business innovations that our students would come up with and even challenge them to think more creatively and innovatively to exploit business opportunities that will help Rwandans and take the country’s economy to the next level of economic growth”.
Kabanda was July 11 speaking during the launch for this fund at the premises of Akilah Institute for Women, Kibagabaga, a suburb of Kigali.
The six pioneer entrants in the six-million francs competition made power point presentations of their business plans before the judges, institute officials and fellow students in the process of getting the winners.
Peace Restaurant by young entrepreneurs Julienne Uwishoreye and Esther Ayinkamiye won the first prize of FRW 2 million for the best business proposal. The restaurant will be located in Musanze district according to the duo.
The second prize of FRW1.5 million went to Francine Kawera and Jane Uwamahoro who presented KU Social Enterprise, which will be dealing in handicrafts again in Musanze.
The third and fourth winners scooped Frw700, 000 and FRW 300,000 for Good Life Bakery shop and Tailoring project respectively.
Contestants who won the first prize expressed excitement and they were grateful to the Institute administration for the initiative and say Musanze was their choice because of its huge market.
“We are very excited to get this fund, we really thank our school leaders for conceiving the project; it is a good way of empowering women that will study here. We chose to go Musanze District, Musanze Sector in Rwambogo Cell because there are no restaurants in the area while the centre has a Health Centre, schools and churches,” said Ayinkamiye
The winners called on Rwandan women to have self-esteem and determine to pursue their dreams and they stressed that if Rwandan women develop the nation develops as well.
Akilah Institute for Women started in 2010 with a handful of students three main programmes: entrepreneurship, hospitality management and information systems and enrolment is currently 250.