Each of the start-ups walked away with US$10,000 seed funding during a graduation ceremony of 24 entrepreneurs who completed Tourism Inc training program organized by Entrepreneurial Solutions Partners (ESP), a global management consulting firm in partnership with Mastercard Foundation.
Tourism Inc is an incubator for youth-led start-ups in the Tourism and Hospitality sector.
Graduates in the fourth cohort were trained on marketing, human resources management, financial management and benefited from consultancy services among others.
Marie Christelle Ishimwe, the co-owner of a company dubbed Nish making children’s garments is among awardees. She explained that the training helped them to reshape their project and pledged to efficiently utilize received funds.
“I have been excited to emerge among award winners who walked away with US$10,000 each. I will use the funds to market my products and improve the visibility of the company to attract more customers,” he said.
Samuel Karangwa, is another graduate who owns a company dubbed Punda Group Ltd which links mason helpers to engineers.
He revealed that received money will help the company to digitalize operations.
“The award has great significance to our company. It came by surprise because there were 24 participating entrepreneurs all with promising projects. The funds will help us to improve efficiency. We did not integrate technology into our operations before the training. People seeking our services used to be assisted via phone call. We are planning to stick to technology and create an application facilitating people to access our services,” he said.
So far, a total of 110 entrepreneurs of whom 67 percent are women have received training under Tourism Inc since 2019. The have created 168 new jobs.
Plan to create 30,000 jobs
The Country Head of Mastercard Foundation in Rwanda, Rica Rwigamba has explained that Tourism Inc falls under the organization’s Hanga Ahazaza initiative launched in 2018 to help the youth create 30,000 new jobs by 2023.
“Tourism Inc is among our projects implemented by Entrepreneurial Solutions Partners. The project is only designed to work with entrepreneurs from tourism and hospitality industry. We have been running this program for almost two years. Over 100 have benefitted from the program which will continue supporting them for the next two years,” she said.
Rwigamba revealed that Mastercard Foundation has 13 partners helping the foundation to implement different youth empowerment projects with special attention to girls and women.
The Senior Project Manager at ESP, Nima Yusuf has explained that they expend possible efforts to train as many as possible women where the incubation program has started yielding big.
“Recently, one of our graduates won funding from Google. He was not the first one to receive the funding. Besides, Tourism Inc has opened doors for new opportunities and other connections,” he said.
Apart from funding the incubation program,. Mastercard Foundation also plans to create 30 million jobs by 2030 through ‘Young Africa Works’ initiative.