On 14th Dec, in Kigali , Rwanda young entrepreneurs working in eco-friendly businesses in Rwanda came together to share knowledge on the country’s entrepreneurship ecosystem and opportunities to access investment, knowledge and skills. The workshop took place at Norrsken House in Kigali and brought together young green entrepreneurs and stakeholders, as well as representatives from public and private entities working to support entrepreneurs and foster climate action.
Like many countries, Rwanda faces the effects of climate change which has led to natural disasters and economic disruption. However, Rwanda has recognized the importance of innovation as a solution to climate change by committing to a green and climate resilient economic growth model. Rwanda currently boasts of a burgeoning entrepreneurship ecosystem that includes amongst others, incubation programs, innovation hubs, accelerators programs, co-working spaces for start-ups, and research center’s – all striving to turn ideas into mature businesses. Yet, these laudable initiatives are yet to tackle the challenges faced by many start-up businesses, especially by the youth and women, to create green jobs and contribute to the country’s green economic growth.
With Rwanda’s youth within the ages of 14-35 making up close to 40% of this population and the country’ NST’s target of creating 1.5 million productive and decent jobs by 2024, it creates the perfect opportunity to create synergies and reduce the poverty level amongst youth and spur sustainable economic growth that is anchored in green innovation.
The Rwanda Greenpreneurs Network Knowledge Sharing Event offers a platform to stimulate dialogue on the greenpreneurs ecosystem in Rwanda and create opportunities for youth to thrive within it. By identifying the gaps and challenges in Rwanda and by strengthening national coordination amongst youth innovation hubs, investors, mentors, start-ups, and the greenpreneurs, it will enhance their skills, knowledge, and capacities to build inclusive viable start-ups and businesses that concurrently address challenges of unemployment, promote resilience, social inclusion, gender equality and self-sufficiency. Moreover, this will help tackle climate change and environmental sustainability challenges.
The workshop was opened by Okechukwu Daniel Ogbonnaya, GGGI Rwanda Country Representative, and Amine Ammor, Partnerships and Resources Mobilization Specialist at the YouthConnekt Africa Hub. This was followed by a series of conversations moderated by Raissa Maclean from Kigali Shapers that focused on the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Rwanda, funding opportunities, accelerator programmes and incubation hubs, as well as the role of green entrepreneurship in Rwanda’s climate action plan and sustainable development.
“The Global Green Growth Institute is working with the Government of Rwanda and other stakeholders to support greenpreneurs to build sustainable businesses that also contribute to the country’s growth and create jobs. We are identifying greenpreneurs across the country to find out what they need to thrive, not only in Rwanda but across the region,” said Okechukwu Daniel Ogbonnaya.
In his presentation, Amine Ammor highlighted the need to support young people as they will play a critical role on Rwanda and Africa’s journey towards sustainable growth.
“Advancing green entrepreneurship and implementing solutions that are sustainable and impactful from economic, social and environmental standpoints is crucial for Africa’s growth and prosperity,” he said.
During the half day workshop, young green entrepreneurs had an opportunity to learn about the soon-to-be launched Rwanda Greenpreneurs Network and share success stories from the work they have been doing as they strive to build a Green Rwanda.
“Rwanda has done exceptionally well to grow the sector because the country has given greenpreneurs the exposure and opportunity to engage with local, regional and international expertise. We hope the Rwanda Greenpreneurs Wetwork will support greenpreneurs to design green businesses that are ready for the international market,” said Wastezon’s Ghislain Irakoze.
The Rwanda Greenpreneurs Network, which is being supported by GGGI Rwanda and YouthConnekt Africa, will raise the profile of youth-led innovative solutions as a vehicle for change in Africa, and around the world. The network will support initiatives by providing young entrepreneurs with the skills, knowledge, networks and opportunities to play a role in Rwanda’s green economic growth and job creation.
At the knowledge sharing workshop, stakeholders including the Ministry of Environment, Rwanda Green Fund, Inkomoko, 250 StartUps, Impact Hub Kigali, Business Development Fund and Norrsken agreed to work together to enhance young green entrepreneurs’ skills, knowledge, and capacities. This will help them build inclusive and viable businesses that create jobs, promote resilience, social inclusion, gender equality and self-sufficiency as well as help tackle the climate crisis.
The Rwanda Greenpreneurship Network will officially launch in mid-2022.
Catch up on the event , you may watch the recording on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pppg83zzPNI