A hybrid program
In April this year, our StArfrica Incubator took off for the second time. In comparison to our first Incubator, we had decided to do some updates: First of all, we extended the program from 12 weeks to 14 weeks in order to give our incubatees some more time to work on their business ideas and we also integrated three free weeks which they could use to book individual mentoring sessions with experienced entrepreneurs and advisors in finances and taxes. In addition to that, we had decided to open our program up to all accredited higher learning institutions in Rwanda – and not only the University of Rwanda (UR), like last year. And last but not least, we were finally able to meet in person with our incubatees this year, at our wonderful space on the UR Remera Campus, and thus offered our incubator sessions both online and in-person at our space.
More than 40 workshops and 200 hours of work
Our program this year consisted of more than 40 workshop topics which focused again on job-readiness skills, such as project and task management, effective communication and applying and recruiting and at the same time, we also taught entrepreneurial skills, such as design thinking, accounting and finance basics, effective pitching and marketing and sales. In the end, our successful participants had put more than 200 hours of work into the program, including weekly assignments (around 16 hours per week). In addition to that, our participants also attended several public speaking events, fireside chats with the private sector and career talks with Rwandan companies and start-ups such as Jibu Water, Rokkup, Paying Tone as well as Zipline.
For our 1st Incubator in 2021, we had received around 310 applications for the 1-week Pre-Incubator, 216 applicants were accepted and 78 applicants passedthe Pre-Incubator and finally joined the Incubator. In the end, 21 incubatees managed to successfully graduate from the Incubator in July 2021. For our 2nd Incubator this year, 230 applications were submitted for the pre-incubator, 116 applicants were accepted and in the end, 40 incubatees joined our program. On 24 July, our finaly pitch event, 17 incubatees graduated from our Incubator and presented their final pitches to a jury.
Our Final Pitch Event
The Final Pitch Day was a very inspiring and wonderful event. In addition to our finalists and the StArfrica team, we welcomed around 20 external guests, such as our Incubator mentors, Rwandan entrepreneurs, former incubatees from our first cohort last year as well as some interested students from other Rwandan universities.
Through our good partnerships with the Westerwelle Startup Haus as well as the Chamber of craftsmanship Koblenz, we were able to provide prices to our Top 3 Winners: Our Winner Diane will get a free 2-week access to the Westerwelle Startup Haus as well as additional free business mentoring by the Chamber of craftsmanship in collaboration with the Private Sector Federation. This kind of mentoring will also be provided to our first and second runner-ups. And in addition to all that we will also sit together with our incubatees to see which idea could be a fit for the EXIST Business Start-up grant in order to start their business in Germany.