The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Local Innovators to Feature in Silicon Valley Competition

Local technology entrepreneurs will have a chance to pitch their products in Silicon Valley, United States, to showcase Rwanda's technology initiatives on a global landscape.

We recognise the initiatives Rwanda is taking to be a regional technology hub and recognise the need to support new innovators. This competition will help Rwandan innovators to share their ideas with the world's leading innovators

Silicon Valley is home to many of the world's largest technology corporations, like Miscrosoft, Google, Facebook, HP among others, as well as thousands of small innovative start-ups

Hermoine Way, co-founder of Startup World, an international initiative, said Kigali is among 36 cities around the globe selected to compete in the global technology competition slated to take place in 2013.

"We recognise the initiatives Rwanda is taking to be a regional technology hub and recognise the need to support new innovators. This competition will help Rwandan innovators to share their ideas with the world's leading innovators," she said on Monday.

Startup World, an event hosted locally by Digital Opportunity Trust is an international initiative based in California, United States, to promote early stage businesses, entrepreneurship and technology through a global competition to celebrate the world's most innovative startups.

"We are looking for profitable innovations but also projects that can help people solve critical problems they are facing," she added.

Hermoine noted that the initiative is aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and startup culture globally and provide them with a bigger platform to showcase their innovation, a move aimed at making them future global technology entrepreneurs.

"We are looking for innovations that would be the future Facebook or Google," she added.

The five selected local innovators will go through a competition scheduled to take place on September 12 this year and the winner is scheduled to participate in the Silicon Valley event.

For one to be eligible to enter the competition, the product or service must have been launched within the last two years and be demonstrable. The innovator must also be able to use English and publicly talk about his or her product.

The country director of Digital Opportunity Trust, Violette Uwamutara, said five online website projects, including Go Binary Logic, Guhaha, Plusgreen, Oscar Connect, M-Ahwiii , Zilencio Creative, Campusolve and Hehe have emerged as the local finalists in the competition.

The Director of ICT Chamber in Private Sector federation-PSF, Alex Ntare, said there are efforts to help ICT entrepreneurs develop their products and services as to pave way for the country's aspirations to become a service-based economy by 2020.

"We have set up a lab that helps innovators to have access to fast-speed Internet and other requirements so that they can be able to develop their products and services," he said.

Ntale added that there are young entrepreneurs with good ideas but who cannot afford to finance their projects and will have a chance to develop them.

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