Regent Univeristy is a leading Christian school in the U.S. It established Center for Entrepreurship in Kigali, Rwanda in 2010. It offers a 16-week training program to Christian entrepreurs and its first cohort of 34 students graduated on Thursday, December 9th.
As part of the graduation program, all students presented their business plans. The Director, John Mulford, selected 6 finalists out of 34 and held a competition in public. A panel of 5 judges was formed and I was one of them. Other judges included a financial analyst from U.K., Rector for School of Finance and Banking, a U.S. business professor now living in Kigali providing business consulting for small medium enterprises and a U.S. business lawyer now working for Ministry of Justice.
To my pleasant surprise, all 6 finalists gave an impressive presentation. The areas of interest were diverse. They were:
A rapid test service for health clinics and hospitals,
A comprehenstive health clinic,
A coffee vending machine business,
A premium SMS text messaging services,
A software engineering company, and
A Christian K-12 private school taught in English
Their presentation time was limited to 15 minutes and everyone finished it in time. Every presenter had to respond to questions from the panel. We unanimously selected two winners who have received:
1. 6 months of in-kind service on accounting and management
2. 6-months of in-kind service on legal services
3. Interest-free loan for 3 years (RWF6 million or $12,000 for the first and RWF3 million or $6,000 for the second place)
I was greatly encouraged by their passion, their ideas and their implementation plans. I found great hope in them for the future of Rwanda since trained entrepreneurs are rare in Rwanda. May the good Lord continue to bless them with His divine wisdom! - Jeffrey