Yesterday ‘Startup World’ competitions – a program to boost startups ,technology entrepreneurship and innovation ,took place in Kigali,Rwanda.
The organizers say that they have identified 36 Tech hub cities around the world and will hold regional pitching competitions, with ten entrepreneurs pitching to a panel of expert judges in each city.
Ms Violette Uwamutara ,the country director of Digital Opportunity Trust Rwanda ,a non-profit organization which partnered with Startup World to organize local competition opened the event and introduced the host Hermione Way ,the co-founder of Startup World and video director of The Next Web.
Kigali event was the third stop in startup world Africa.“In startups and innovation Rwanda put itself on the world map” Ms. Way told the audience.”If you have an idea,a laptop and internet connection you can start your company”.
Rwandan semi-finalists had three minutes to pitch their tech business and then answer challenging questions from the seasoned panel judges.
Kigali panel of proficient judges were:Jacque Kayonga ,CEO of Banque Rwandaise de Development,Prof. Bruce Krough professor at Carnegie Mellon University,Rica Rwigamba Head of RDB Tourisme and Conservation,Patrick Kabagema CEO,founder of Rock Global Consulting and Antoine Sebera CEO ,Broadband System Corporation.
After interesting pitches of local innovators who impressed the audience with their innovative projects which aim to use ICT in solving various local problems in different economy sectors such us agriculture,marketing,education,research etc…the panel broke to deliberate.
After the judges’ break ,Ms. Way announced the Rwandan finalist startup which was Zilincio Creative-a Startup that presented a crowd funding software.According to Startup World founders the winner from each city will travel to Silicon valley for grand showdown in early 2013.
Each semi-finalist company received a gift and got sponsorship opportunity for one team member to learn a business development course.
“We had over one hundred startups applied but we have ten finalists”said Ms. Way ,she thanked and encouraged all semi-finalists for their good work.”we want to bring silicon valley to Rwanda and take Rwanda to silicon valley,”she added
Speaking at the occasion Mr Didier Nkuriyimfura ,the Director General in charge of ICT in the Ministry of Youth and ICT who was the Keynote speaker said :”today is important for our semi- finalists.These questions you were asked will help you to move to the next level.”This competition is one of the series of events we want in Kigali,” he added