Last Thursday night, entrepreneurial youth were recognized for their innovation at the Rwanda Youth Business Excellence Award Gala organized by the Emerging Leaders and Entrepreneurs of Rwanda (ELE Rwanda).
Rwandan youth living both within the country and abroad are encouraged to commercialize their talents and think about what they can do for their country to develop.
Claire Akamazi, chief operations officer of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), said that the country's vision is to have a knowledge based economy, and advised youth to be innovative, creative, and put their ideas into practice.
"You're the engine of our country you have to work very hard, bring your ideas to the market place, know how to write good business plans, the government is ready to help you, work with you such that your ideas become commercial,"Akamazi added.
"Being an entrepreneur does not require you to be a University graduate. Participate in trainings and workshops about entrepreneurship, be courageous, work together, bring your ideas together, and you will develop and the country will develop," said Jerome Gasana, the director general of the Workforce Development Authority (WDA).
Jean Niyotwagira, owner of a software company, was given an award as an innovator.
"Youth should work hard. Starting a business requires a lot of resources, but my fellow youth should be determined and be innovative all the time. When we put our ideas together, our country will develop," Niyotwagira said.
"Let's work for our country and do things which will be helpful, such that all Rwandans will benefit. When we die, we shall leave a good legacy to our country," said Niyotwagira.
ELE Rwanda was started by a group of youth returning to Rwanda after receiving their education abroad. Yves Iradukunda, head of ELE Rwanda, and his friends wanted to do something to benefit the youth.
"It all came in 2011, we were in America for studies, my friends and I, we developed the idea of what we have to do to develop our country and our fellow youth. We hope to see our fellow youth being popular based on their talents such that they can be examples to other youth. What we are today is all about the love of our country," said Iradukunda.
He advised Rwandan youth to be entrepreneurs and innovators and to think about they can do to utilize their talents. "Youth have ability to make the future of Rwanda successful and inspire other youth in the country," Iradukunda said. "Working together, we will solve the challenges Rwandans are experiencing."