It is a training course called “National Entrepreneurship Summer Camp-2020”, which aims to “help young people develop entrepreneurship and build their skills, hence continuing their work in these critical times of Coronavirus and beyond”.
The training will be attended by about 20 young people between the ages of 18 and 35. They are young people who have graduated from ULK University who already have profitable projects, but need technical and financial support.
There will also be young people in their final year of university at ULK, who have a good idea that may produce powerful business establishments, which will provide employment to other young people and benefit the country as a whole.
The training will focus on selected projects in the fields of agriculture, energy, and technology, and will have three objectives, namely: to promote a culture of self-reliance and innovation in the youth, especially in these times of Coronavirus; to enhance the level of knowledge and performance of the private sector, as well as to promote the cooperation of higher education and industry through collaboration and dialogue.
Inaugurating the training, the Director-General of Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation, Jonas Munyurangabo, said the program would complement the government’s plan to encourage young people to be brave and create jobs, instead of waiting for jobs while they can create it.
“What we are doing is helping young people to have a mentality that leads to where everyone doing business is headed. This will help them to expand their mindset and take advantage of their opportunities, even if others find it difficult. It also builds capacity to help them make the most of the opportunities they have in general,” he said.
The training comes at a time when the global economy is facing the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, which is particularly affecting small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Munyurangabo said that to address these challenges, the Government of Rwanda has recently launched the Entrepreneurship Development Policy (EDP), where similar trainings are being advocated for as it does not discourage young people from entrepreneurship through to give them the knowledge they need.
“It’s one of the things that help in implementing that new policy, it will help people have a sense of entrepreneurship,” he said.
He added: “Finding a job is not a bad thing, but there has been a change in the way people go about it, and instead of looking for a job, it would be better [for the national economy]. So that comes from the ideas, as well as from the capabilities and resources that young people receive from the relevant authorities. So today is what we are going to do to help them, to know that they can be self-sufficient, and then to make progress, based on the knowledge they will be given,” he said.
Munyurangabo said that, in particular, the fact these activities are taking place in these difficult times of Coronavirus, there is a lot that will help these young people.
The training will be conducted in a traditional way where the presenter is physically in front of the participants, but there will also be the use of technology while the expert teachers from Kempten University of Applied Science will be contributing to these courses.
One of the directors of Kempten University of Applied Science, Prof. Dr. Tobias Peylo, said the training will not only provide knowledge, as it can also help participants get to know each other and work together in the future.
He added that the training "will help young people to innovate in their work, thus increasing the productivity of what they do".
"These ideas will help the world to cope with its problems. These are not just money-making ideas, they are ideas that will make the world a better place because it will bring about a change in the lives of its inhabitants through solving the problems that the world has today."
Becky Balinda, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kigali, ULK, said they would use entrepreneurs who have achieved success and tell these students the process they went through and what they can do to make their ideas more profitable.
“Most importantly, we will bring in other entrepreneurs who have started like them, to tell them their journey from idea to where they are now.
“They will share with them how they got their money, their helpers and so on. The reason we will do this is that these advanced entrepreneurs have also started at the grassroots level, so they will share with them the path they have gone through to make progress,” she said.
She added that they will monitor the development of these entrepreneurs’ projects, two of which will be funded and monitored for six months thereafter.
Maria Knappstein, the Country Director of SBFIC said entrepreneurs who saw the opportunity should not waste it, as it was the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey.
“We expect these entrepreneurs to be willing to learn and learn more. We want them to have an entrepreneurial mindset and are willing to implement it. "
Some of the lessons to be learned from this course include preparing and analyzing ideas for projects that can generate profits, making scholarships for developed institutions, creating ideas that can generate profits, and so on.
The Managing Director of Rwanda Institute for Cooperatives, Entrepreneurship, and Microfinance (RICEM), Dr. Olivier Mukulira as he welcomed the trainees, encouraged them to explore the training to the maximum.
The National Entrepreneurship Summer Camp 2020 is being held for the first time but will continue in the coming years, to help young people with development projects make it productive.
The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the schedule of the workshop, as it was scheduled to take place in July, attended by 20 students from ULK, and 10 others from the Kempten University of Applied Science in Germany. However, as the Coronavirus pandemic subsides, there are plans to continue on that schedule but with just 20 students from the ULK.