The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Tigo Opens Rwf 670 Million Tech Incubator

Developers of IT solutions now have reason to smile after telecom firm, Tigo opened free workspace where they can sit and develop new applications for different sectors.

The Rwf 670 milion facility called 'Think,' is located in Kacyiru and is complete with internet and other facilities needed to do the work. Tigo will later provide seed financing, structured training and coaching programmes to developers.

Speaking during its opening on Monday, Youth and ICT minister Jean-Philbert Nsengimana said the facility will supplement various technology learning centres in the country, such as Carnegie Mellon University, to promote Rwanda's vision of becoming a regional ICT hub.

"It will help create more technology related jobs than we have been able to do in the past. We have got quite a number of starting innovation spaces, but there has always been a challenge of bridging the gap between the innovator's idea and getting the prototype (trial product)," he said.

The telecom firm will prove seed financing, ranging between $25,000 (Rwf 16.7m) and $75,000 (Rwf 50.2m) to viable ICT solutions for every economic sector.

Tongai Maramba, Tigo's chief executive officer, said the company is also looking at 'Think' as a platform for developing new products and services for clients. He called for applications to become members of the incubator, starting this month.

"Selection will be done in May, winners announced in June and in July they will enroll for six-month training," he said.

Hans-Holger Albrecht, the president of Millicom International, Tigo Rwanda's parent company, said they identified Rwanda as a place to do business because of local talent.

"With this, we shall also see the realisation of innovation transfer, from here to European and other markets," he said.

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