African Innovation Prize winners announced, sponsored by De La Rue

Kigali, 15th October 2014: The grand prize winners of the African Innovation Prize “Enterprise Rwanda 2014” scheme have been announced, with three young entrepreneurs each awarded 2 million RWF as start up funding for their innovative business ideas,. The programme is sponsored by De La Rue and run in collaboration with the University of Rwanda, College of Business and Economics.

The African Innovation Prize (AIP) is a charitable organisation aiming to inspire entrepreneurship and provide grass roots funding for potential new initiatives. Each year, AIP run a series of interactive training sessions and workshops for budding young entrepreneurs from universities across Rwanda.

With more than 200 students taking part and events running throughout the first half of the year, Enterprise Rwanda 2014 gave young entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet and engage with more than 30 local enterprise leaders, as well as previous AIP winners to gain insight and guidance on how best to start and run their own business. Participants were then invited to submit business ideas and more detailed business plans into the annually run competition.

345 business ideas were received in total, followed by 57 financially viable business plans. These were subsequently narrowed down by a panel of expert judges to a shortlist of just 10 new business proposals. The finalists pitched their ideas at last week’s Award Ceremony held on the 4th October 2014 at the University of Rwanda, College of Business and Economics, with questions from the judges and audience following the presentations.

The standard of all entries was extremely high. The following three entrepreneurs and their business ideas were felt to be the most innovative and viable;

Ben Claude Uwihanganye from the College of Science and Technology (CST) with a business plan to design and build a roasting stove that uses biogas and natural gas for homes, bars, and restaurants.
Evariste Habimana from the College of Business and Economics (CBE) with a business plan to make environmental friendly briquettes to reduce exposure of wastes on the surface and the excessive cutting of trees.
Shikama Dioscore from the College of Science and Technology (CST) with a business plan to develop a mobile application that will allow farmers to record their farming activities and predict their yields and their monetary values.

Each winner receives 2 Million Rwandan Francs to start their respective businesses and in addition, will join Inkomoko’s business accelerator programme and attend courses sponsored by the British Council.

Thanking all attendees and congratulating the winners in the competition for their innovative ideas, Dr. Papias Musafiri, Principal of the College of Business and Economics, also commented during his closing speech; “It is such initiatives and thinking that will create 2 million new jobs by 2020 to meet current unemployment rates and bring in new annual entrants to the workforce as highlighted in vision 2020. You should not sit and wait for help, just start and do with the few means that you have, and you’ll slowly grow big”.

Tony Mullen, Key Account Director for De La Rue, sponsors of the event and programme said;
De La Rue is honoured to support the development of young entrepreneurial talent in a country where we have such strong ties and connections. In our third year of sponsoring this programme, we are delighted to see how schemes such as the African Innovation Prize really can help make a tangible difference”.

De La Rue is a longstanding supplier to the Rwandan nation, delivering its passport, ID card, banknotes and tax stamps.


About African Innovation Prize:
The African Innovation Prize (AIP) is a UK based registered non-profit organization founded by Cambridge University Graduates in 2010 to spur student innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa, through university based business planning competitions. We aim to encourage students to DREAM, DESIGN, and DEDICATE themselves to their business ideas by providing a world-class business plan competition, supported by focused training tailored for students. We develop connections between students and the local enterprise community through seeding entrepreneurship clubs within universities, and brokering mentorship between students and local business leaders.

About De La Rue plc:
De La Rue is the world’s largest commercial banknote printer and passport manufacturer and is a trusted partner of governments, central banks and commercial organisations around the world.

De La Rue also produces a wide range of other security products, including tax stamps, authentication labels and identity documents and manufactures high speed cash sorting and banknote inspection equipment.

De La Rue’s Currency division provides customers with a full range of sophisticated products and services which are available either individually or as a whole. This includes design, production of security components, manufacture of paper and polymer substrates and printing of banknotes.
Within the Solutions division, a similar integrated offering from design to manufacture is available. In addition De La Rue offers a range of specialist services and software solutions including government identity schemes, product authentication systems and cash management processing solutions

In recent years De La Rue has been involved in the production of over 150 national currencies, and passports or identity systems for over 65 countries.

De La Rue employs approximately 4,000 people worldwide and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For further information:
Rob Hutchison
Group Director of Communications, De La Rue
Tel: +44 (0) 1256 605018


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