ESP launches incubator for youth-led tourism and hospitality start-ups

On 10 October 2019 at 03:10

Entrepreneurial Solutions Partners has partnered with the Mastercard Foundation Hanga Ahazaza initiative to launch the Rwanda Youth Tourism Innovator program, an incubator for youth-led start-ups in the tourism and hospitality sector.

Entrepreneurial Solutions Partners (ESP) joins Hanga Ahazaza, a US$50 million initiative from the Mastercard Foundation focused on increasing employment opportunities for young people while expanding the tourism and hospitality sector in Rwanda. Hanga Ahazaza will equip 30,000 young men and women with the skills they need to transition into work, as well as strengthen small businesses in this sector.

Inadequate skills and access to financing are key challenges that prevent youth to start and grow a business in tourism and hospitality in Rwanda and beyond. In response, the Rwanda Youth Tourism Innovator program will select 160 youth entrepreneurs over four years to receive the right mix of skills-building and financing to grow the next generation of leading tourism and hospitality businesses.

Beyond capacity-building and access to finance, the top five entrepreneurs in each cohort of 20 will be awarded financial grants to further seed their ventures. The program will nurture Rwanda’s innovative tourism and hospitality businesses, and inspire even more youth, especially young women, to embrace tourism and hospitality entrepreneurship as a career path.

“We are excited to welcome Entrepreneurial Solutions Partners to the Hanga Ahazaza initiative,” said Rica Rwigamba, Acting Country Representative and Senior Program Manager of the Mastercard Foundation. “By focusing on young, start-up entrepreneurs who require a specific support system, ESP is facilitating a critical piece in our efforts to enable young Rwandans to secure work in our country’s vibrant tourism and hospitality sector.”

ESP is accepting applications now for the first cohort of this exciting program. Applicants who meet the following criteria are encouraged to apply:

  • Must be a start-up (or have start-up idea) in the tourism and hospitality sector (or supplier to the sector)
  • Must be a young person (18-35 years old)
  • Must be based in Rwanda
  • Must have a commitment to complete the course
  • Young women are strongly encouraged to apply

For more information; Visit the ESPartners website: or Contact ESPartners Rwanda by email: [email protected]