From the 17th to the 23rd of November, Rwanda and 140 other countries honored Global Entrepreneurship Week, the world’s largest celebration that inspires people to explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. It was the perfect week for Akilah to launch our first Entrepreneurship Club on the Rwanda campus with major support from the African Innovation Prize.
African Innovation Prize (AIP) is a non-profit that aims to inspire student innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa through university-based business planning competitions and training. Through Akilah’s partnership with AIP, students attend idea-generation workshops, gain practical experience in entrepreneurial projects, and develop the skills to successfully launch their own ventures. Members of the Entrepreneurship Club will gain exposure to AIP’s wide network of entrepreneurs in East Africa, which will improve their employment prospects and provide the inspiration to execute their own business ideas.
During the launch on campus, AIP held a business idea competition among the club’s student members. The competition winner, Sakina Usengimana, shares her excitement:
“I decided to study Entrepreneurship at Akilah because I would like to be a businesswoman in the future. I see what I am learning as a bridge to reach my dream.
I love fashion, modeling, photography, and interacting with people. Akilah is helping me build my self-esteem and has given me many opportunities to discover capabilities I did not know I had. I have always loved fashion and design, but I never knew what to do with my passion. I had no idea where to start. But when I joined Entrepreneurship Club, launched during Global Entrepreneurship week, I was inspired by the guest speakers who told us about the many benefits of being your own boss.
I was a little scared to enter the business idea competition but remembered what I learned in my classes at Akilah, which taught us to be confident women and to believe in ourselves. This helped me find the courage to enter the competition with my Fashion Design Business idea.
My idea is a fashion house with clothes, shoes, jewelry, handbags, and bracelets made from dust bones, banana fibers, and African fabric. I want creativity and innovation to be a big part of my business.
It was a huge surprise to hear that of the 35 business ideas presented, mine was voted the best. I was humbled as Mrs. Rica Rwigamba, former Head of Tourism and Conservation at the Rwanda Development Board, and Herve Kubwimana, Rwanda Country Director for African Innovation Prize, presented me with an award. It was a major encouragement and I now feel closer to my dream!”
Sakina’s confidence boost from the competition is just an example of what to expect from Akilah’s Entrepreneurship Club. We look forward to continuing to nurture our students’ innovative ideas as they pursue their entrepreneurial endeavors. Be sure to watch this space as the club grows in the coming months![pinterest_gallery id=10833 /]