Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, has seen a tremendous increase in entrepreneurial activities over the last few years. Leading his or her own business now seems a rather viable option for an increasing number of young people. The creation of over 20 entrepreneur support organisations, several government sponsored competitions and increased media coverage have certainly contributed to this development. However, most of these initiatives being rather isolated led to a rather fragmented entrepreneurial ecosystem. Yet ecosystems only really thrive when people and resources are connected and work together to serve entrepreneurs throughout all the stages of growth and development.
This is where Aneth Batamuliza comes in. She is passionate about entrepreneurship and ecosystem development, with entrepreneurship experience through her own consulting company where she has worked with different ecosystem supporting organisations in Kigali and previously run the “Reach for Change” incubator programme in Rwanda supporting early stage social entrepreneurs. There she realised that to further the entrepreneurial ecosystem, collaboration is key in shaping the ideal ecosystem.
Together with Swisscontact, she mapped the Kigali entrepreneurial ecosystem by using social network analysis. The study was a product of the “Crédit Suisse - Swisscontact (CSSC) initiative to promote entrepreneurship and innovation”. The goal of the research was to get a better picture of the dynamics of the Kigali ecosystem and a clearer understanding of the possibilities for improvement. The study shows: An entrepreneurial ecosystem is more than just the sum of its actors and organisations. It is an interconnected network of actors who understand how they contribute to and benefit from the ecosystem.
The first findings of the research have been presented during an engagement workshop where more than 40 organisations and entrepreneurs participated and jointly brainstormed on how to advance the Kigali ecosystem. #WeCreateKigali has been established as an anthem and a call to action to motivate all actors to step up and contribute, be they entrepreneurs, business providers, entrepreneurship support organisation, university, media, donors or the government.
“Our entrepreneurial ecosystem is constantly evolving with new players on the ground, both entrepreneurs and ecosystem supporting organisations. To bring the entrepreneurship ecosystem a step further, we must all work together, collaborate, clearly identify gaps, and effectively push towards the ideal ecosystem that we would like to build. Everyone has a role to play – raising an entrepreneur is a collective community effort,”
says Aneth Batamuliza. If Kigali wants to become a thriving ecosystem attracting innovative talent, the attention should shift to connecting the already existing actors and fostering their collaboration.
The report by Aneth and Swisscontact has generated quite some buzz in Kigali. It triggered a conversation between “Kigali Innovation City” and the GIZ initiative “Make-IT in Africa” with the effect that a new position as “Hub Network Community Manager” needed to be created. And who would be better suited for this position than Aneth? She already held a joint webinar with Swisscontact, GIZ and Innovation Village, presenting the study and, at the same time, introducing her new position. We wish Aneth all the best for the future, supporting the existing actors to bring the Kigali entrepreneurial ecosystem to new heights.
Follow the discussion on social media with #KigaliEcosystem.
The "Crédit Suisse - Swisscontact (CSSC) initiative to promote entrepreneurship and innovation" is financed by Crédit Suisse and implemented by Swisscontact.