Rwanda: Israeli Firm Launches Business Network in Rwanda

29 October 2020

Ron Adam, Israeli Ambassador to Rwanda, speaks during the launch of Empower Africa business networking platform.

A team of entrepreneurs and business people under Israel based Empower Africa this week launched its business network platform in Kigali.

The aim, they say, is to collaborate with their Rwandan counterparts in different business sectors to drive economic growth and transformation in Africa.

Empower Africa, founded by Ezi Rapaport, the son of Israel-based businessman Martin Rapaport, facilitates investment and trade in Africa.

"I thank the government of Rwanda for keeping the country open for business by allowing people to visit the country," Caleb Zipperstein, one of the members said during a business networking event in Kigali.

Zipperstein described Empower Africa as a "trusted business community that seeks to collaborate with Rwandans and Africans across the continent" to forge partnerships for business.

At glance, the organization announced it was partnering with the Israel Embassy in Rwanda to launch an innovation hub.

"The innovation hub will bring together Israel and Rwandan entrepreneurs to build lasting companies with innovative solutions that will help the rest of the world," Zipperstein noted.

Israel is globally renowned as being the "start-up nation" and is the world leader for number of start-ups per capita.

The country has at least 6,000 active startups and an economy dominated by industrial high-tech and entrepreneurship, according to Deloitte, a global accounting firm.

The world's leading multinational companies have all chosen Israel: Microsoft, Motorola, Google, Apple, Facebook, Berkshire-Hathaway, Intel, HP, Siemens, GE, IBM, Philips, Lucent, Cisco, Applied Materials, IBM, J&J, and Toshiba are just some of the names in a long list of over 200 multinationals who realized that Israel is their ideal investment opportunity.

Many multinational corporations such as Tata, Kodak, and Citi Bank have established innovation centers in Israel.

Ron Adam, Israel Ambassador in Rwanda said they want to bring their experience to Rwanda. "Very soon we are going to open an innovation hub. The main idea is to bring Israel entrepreneurs and companies to do a proof of concept."

Adam highlighted that the ultimate goal is to do business and empower local innovators, insisting that Rwanda is a good place to do business.

He however emphasised the need to let people fail if the country wants to create a pool innovative minds.

"There is a need to let people dare, let them fail. Don't ask them to do something in one year, and if they don't achieve it you think they are doomed," he argued.

That is exactly how Israel was able to become a base for disruptive innovations, according to the ambassador.

"The vision (in Rwanda) is already there but we should let people try their hands and think outside the box. That's a foundation of innovation," he noted.

Rwanda is already home to Israel companies such as Motorola,

Businessman Emery Rubagenga believes partnerships with countries like Israel are key to driving business sector in Rwanda.

"Strategic partnerships are key, I believe and a country like Israel is unbelievably a role model when it comes to innovation," he said during the event.

Rubagenga emphasised that Rwanda has an opportunity to work with Israel because the two have a lot in common.

"We have a lot in common - the history and philosophy, which is the entrepreneurial mindset," he noted.

When President Paul Kagame visited Israel in July 2017 he invited Israeli investors and firms looking to enter the Rwandan market, saying the country was ripe for investments.

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