Kigali – The IGNITE Food Systems Challenge initiative, renowned for its impactful solutions, is back for its highly anticipated second edition, expanding its support to eight innovative ventures aimed at bolstering Rwanda’s food systems and enhancing overall food security resilience. This initiative, implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP) and Impact Hub Kigali with the support of USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is a prime example of how partnerships can work to support the scaling of local and regional innovations.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Jessica Torrens-Spence, USAID’s Director of the Office of Economic Growth in Rwanda, stressed: “Innovation requires the development of new partnerships and networks to finance and scale creative ideas and solutions so that their impacts can be realized.”

The winners of the IGNITE Food Systems Challenge second edition were revealed at the Kigali Marriott Hotel during a captivating pitch event, where each finalist showcased their ground-breaking solutions to a live audience and a distinguished panel of judges. Esteemed representatives from the Ministry of Youth (MINIYOUTH), East Africa Investments, the Mastercard Foundation, Vertland Africa, and WFP comprised the jury, contributing their expertise to the selection process.

The eight chosen ventures operate in diverse sectors such as food processing, aquaculture, agriculture mechanization, and provision of inputs. These exceptional ventures will embark on a tailored four-month acceleration program designed to propel their growth and impact. Throughout the initiative, they will each receive comprehensive technical support, mentorship, and funding of up to $30,000, enabling them to scale their solutions effectively.

Ms. Inka Himanen, the acting Officer-in-Charge at WFP Rwanda, looked forward to the outcome: “Today is only the beginning – the real celebration will occur four months from now when we witness the remarkable growth and scaling up of these ventures, the positive influence they have on the national economy, and their ultimate contribution to improving the entire food system of Rwanda.”

The second edition of the IGNITE Food Systems Challenge welcomed an overwhelming response, with 364 applications received from across the nation. After a rigorous selection process, 18 ventures were pre-selected by multiple committees. These ventures underwent a thorough due diligence process and intensive skills training during a 3-day bootcamp, and personalized coaching to ensure their readiness for the pitch event. Eventually, 13 ventures emerged as finalists and pitched their solutions at the event.

Mr. Cares Manzi, Managing Director of Impact Hub Kigali, expressed his enthusiasm: “Building upon the success of the first edition, we are thrilled to welcome a greater number of ventures to the program this year. We eagerly anticipate collaborating with our partners to provide tailored support, empowering these ventures to scale their impactful solutions and contribute toward the development of a resilient food system in Rwanda.”

The IGNITE Food System Challenge initiative is made possible through the generous support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and the USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA). The initiative was launched last year simultaneously in South Sudan, Uganda, and Rwanda.

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About the Implementing Partners

The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change.

WFP’s IGNITE Innovation Hub for Eastern Africa was launched in December 2020, with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, to leverage WFP’s brand, public and private partners, deep field access, and expertise to develop, nurture and scale sustainable innovations for increased food security in the region.

Impact Hub Kigali (IHK) is a community-based innovation hub in Kigali, Rwanda, offering a unique ecosystem of resources, inspiration, and collaboration opportunities to grow positive impact. IHK offers a range of innovation and entrepreneurship support initiatives, including incubation programmes, bootcamps and challenges. IHK is part of a large social innovation network in the world with +100 open hubs in over 60 countries.

Follow us on Twitter @WFP_Africa @AhmareenKarim @ImpactHubKigali

For more information please contact:

Hannah Lahodny, World Food Programme, [email protected]

Sarah Colbourne, World Food Programme, [email protected]

Olexa Heshima, Impact Hub Kigali, [email protected]

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Impact Hub Kigali (IHK), with the support of USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have launched the highly anticipated second edition of the IGNITE Food Systems Challenge in Rwanda worth USD 300,000 to foster home grown innovations to tackle food systems challenges.

The call for applications is open for start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and cooperatives to apply for this innovation challenge from 06 March 2023 to 31 March 2023. Selected ventures will have an opportunity to receive grant funding and acceleration support to address business gaps.

The IGNITE Food Systems Challenge supports the scaling of innovative solutions that address food security challenges in various areas, including resilience to shocks and stress, access to safe and nutritious food, improved food supply chains, the empowerment of smallholder farmers, and the advancement of food security for all. This second edition will support ten ventures with a support of USD 30,000 each in grant funding and four months of curated technical support to address business gaps.

“Piloting, implementing, and scaling innovative ideas lies at the heart of WFP and Impact Hub Kigali’s work. The success of IGNITE phase 1 produced many lessons learned, working as catalysts for new investments and partnerships to improve food systems through innovation. In the second edition, we look forward to capitalizing on the momentum forged in the last edition to continue creating an enabling environment for innovative ideas”. Said Ahmareen Karim, WFP’s acting country director.

IGNITE Food Systems Challenge focuses on increasing national production capacities, enhancing, and streamlining operational efficiency, acquisition of new customers for best innovators, and multiplication of customer segments across the country.

“Following the success of the first edition of the IGNITE Food Systems Challenge, we are excitedly looking forward to onboarding and providing individualized acceleration support to more ventures to scale their impactful solutions” adds Cares Manzi, Managing Director – Impact Hub Kigali.

The first edition of the programme supported six ventures to scale their innovative solutions for a period of six months with tailored technical support and financial support of USD 50,000 to each venture. Ventures increased revenues, all of which materialize their standing and contribution to the strengthening of the wider food system.

The IGNITE Food Systems Challenge second edition will be implemented in Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia, and is made possible thanks to the generous support of USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Affairs.  The initiative comes at a time of deteriorating food insecurity in the region due to the compounding effects of rising conflict, climate change, increasing food prices, natural disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Are you a game-changer in the food systems space? Do you want to transform the food systems in Rwanda? If yes, don’t miss out on this opportunity. APPLY NOW at

About the implementing partners

The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change.

WFP’s IGNITE Innovation Hub for Eastern Africa was launched in December 2020, with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, to leverage WFP’s brand, public and private partners, deep field access, and expertise to develop, nurture and scale sustainable innovations for increased food security in the region.

Impact Hub Kigali (IHK) is a community-based innovation hub in Kigali, Rwanda, offering a unique ecosystem of resources, inspiration, and collaboration opportunities to grow positive impact. IHK offers a range of innovation and entrepreneurship support initiatives, including incubation and acceleration programmes, bootcamps and challenges. IHK also supports the ecosystem through knowledge-sharing platforms and mapping exercises. IHK is part of a large social innovation network in the world with +100 open hubs in over 50 countries. (End)

On Wednesday, August 17th 2022, Impact Hub Kigali in partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme hosted the IGNITE community of practice ‘Combating Food Waste’ event as part of the IGNITE Food Systems Challenge – a program supported by USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Denmark. The event brought together various entities, institutions and entrepreneurs to discuss the challenges around Food Waste and the initiatives being carried out to combat and curb food wastage in the country.

Uwizeye Belange, Executive Director from Rwanda Rural Rehabilitation Initiative (RWARRI) and Moses Katala, Business Development Lead at MagoFarm were the main speakers of the event who spoke about the food waste issues from perspectives of public awareness and innovation. The event was moderated by Sandra Akariza, Program Manager at Impact Hub Kigali.

“The highest level of food waste occurs at the household level” said Belange, based on a study conducted by the city of Kigali and FAO. To ensure that wastage is reduced at the household level, there are initiatives in the country that aim at bringing more awareness on how to prevent food wastage from the household level by sharing best practices through various campaigns.  One such initiative is the ‘Capacity Building of Kigali City on Food Waste Reduction and Management’ initiative where RWARRI organized and trained a joint Task Force of major actors in food systems in food waste reduction and management.

In regards to the food that is already wasted, challenges still persist. One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs or startups like MagoFarm still face in this space is the logistics involved in transporting the waste to their processing facilities. A significant amount of food waste is instead disposed of in dump sites which notably hinders how much of the waste can be reached and processed for the good of the environment. Despite the challenges, there are opportunities to transform transportation systems and turn waste into ‘gold’. Belange highlighted the logistics challenge as an investment opportunity in that the current technology used in the transportation of waste to landfills and conversion points can be improved for better management and efficiency.

Participants at the event also chimed into the discussions to understand trends around turning waste into value and they learned some tips on how waste can be valorised by composting food scraps into soil nutrients. Discussions also highlighted the role of government regulations and policies in food waste management and the challenges that exist in applying and adopting these policies. The event participants were all in unison about some of the concrete steps to prevent food waste like buying exactly what you need, storing food wisely so it does not go to waste, and donating surplus food to the needy.

An overarching theme of the discussions was the need for collaboration amongst different key value chain actors in order to tackle the food waste issue holistically from all points within the food value chain. For instance, a collaboration between waste collectors and waste converters to be in sync on methods used to collect and convert waste can enable efficiency in food waste management.

The IGNITE community of practice ‘Combating Food Waste’ event was the first of a series of events and network exchanges that will bring together food systems practitioners, entrepreneurs, experts, enthusiasts and relevant institutions to discuss various topics around food systems in Rwanda.

Stay tuned for the next events!

About the IGNITE Food Systems Challenge Program


Kigali – On Thursday, July 7th 2022, Impact Hub Kigali in partnership with the Digital Transformation Center Rwanda hosted the Circular Demo Day – a culmination of the 6-months long Circular Economy Acceleration Program. At the event,  Aflimba, Crop Tech, GreenRev, Kosmotive, Ngozi naturals, and Sanit Wing showcased their journeys to becoming more circular, sharing with the audience the circular innovations they have been testing within the program.

“For us, the journey to designing a program like this one started over a year and a half ago when we did a quick mapping of the Circular Economy ecosystem in Rwanda to understand the challenges and opportunities,  and also built our capacities to be able to design and implement circularity programs” Cares Manzi, the Managing Director of Impact Hub Kigali reflected on the start of the journey that led up to this Demo Day.

The six startups in the program attended various workshops and training sessions like circular opportunity identification, circular collaborations, and circular business modeling, and received seed funding to be able to test out their circular innovations with the support of individual coaches. The startups also participated in peer sessions to learn from each other and exchange experiences in adopting circularity and as well accessed masterclasses from the global Impact Hub Network.

The Circular Demo Day served as a culminating event to celebrate the progress the startups have made towards becoming more circular and an opportunity to showcase their products and services to the ecosystem, as well as connect to potential future partners.

Aflimba took the stage first and shared about their ‘kintsugi’ bags made out of recycled jeans, followed by CropTech who have been testing how to replace their diesel-powered thresher with an electric/solar source. GreenRev then proceeded to share with the audience about their use of grow lights for faster harvesting of seeds and seedlings. Kosmotive showcased their innovation of recycling used pads into other useful products such as cushions, fluffy doormats, and mattresses. Ngozi Naturals spoke about recycling and reusing glass jars and wine bottles with their body balms. Lastly, Sanit Wing Ltd then shared about their introduction of biodegradable packaging made from bamboo.

During presentations, it was revealed that four of the startups (Aflimba, Sanit Wing, Kosmotive and Ngozi Naturals) had obtained investments to keep testing out their circular innovations. These investments were achieved through a partnership between Impact Hub Kigali and the BESTSELLER Foundation.

“We are super thrilled to be welcoming several entrepreneurs’ businesses here into the family, which we seek to grow even more in Rwanda and in the region, and also a wider community of circular economy practitioners. We’re excited about everything that’s happening in this space. It really is an interesting time as a circular economy investor to get a foothold here.” said Jannek Hagen, the managing director of BESTSELLER Foundation.

Cares Manzi remarked: “The investments from BESTSELLER Foundation will be very beneficial in providing further support for the startups as they continue their journey to becoming more circular, and hopefully this paves the way for more investments and other instruments of support from other relevant players. We remain committed to creating these partnerships and building a stronger Circular Economy ecosystem.

About the Circular Economy Acceleration program

The Circular Economy Acceleration Program is a program to support startups or companies to become more sustainable. The program was designed to leverage Circular Economy principles in supporting startups or companies to identify and capture new opportunities in their product or service lifecycle that will ultimately lead to the sustainable growth of their circular businesses. The program is implemented by Impact Hub Kigali in partnership with the DigiCenter, with the support of DOEN Foundation and MAVA Foundation.


Kigali – A venture to turn food waste into fertilizer and animal feed is one of six start-ups to win up to US$50,000 through an innovation competition, aimed at transforming food systems, spearheaded by the IGNITE Innovation Hub of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and implemented by Impact Hub Kigali (IHK).

MagoFarm, CARL Group, Aflakiosk, Uruhimbi Kageyo Cooperative (UKC), Ironji LTD and Zone des Entreprises Agricole (ZEAN) LTD were the six winners who were selected based on their solutions’ potential impact on food systems, business viability, scalability, and team composition.

“On my 22nd birthday, I visited one of the largest food markets in my home country of Tanzania and I was shocked at the piles of food waste that were destined to end up in dumping sites,” says Moses Katala, the team leader of MagoFarm, “I later learnt that food waste is a huge problem, and we have to do something about it.”
Part of the winning package is a six-month tailored acceleration program where they will receive technical support and mentorship to enable them to scale up their hunger-related solutions.

The winners were announced at the Kigali Convention Centre where each of the finalists presented their innovative solutions at a pitch event to a live audience and a panel of judges. The judges’ panel included representatives from JASIRI, Water Access Rwanda, One Acre Fund, Mastercard Foundation, and WFP. “This initiative represents a unique opportunity for WFP to work with innovative new partners and leverage their multiple areas of expertise, collectively contributing towards improving Rwanda’s food system,” said Edith Heines, Representative and Country Director of WFP Rwanda.

The IGNITE Food Systems Challenge – which attracted over 280 applicants – was launched on 05 January 2022 in Rwanda to identify and promote locally-driven solutions to tackle food systems challenges. The 12 shortlisted ventures went through a bootcamp, personalized coaching support and due diligence ahead of a final pitch event. “This is a much-needed initiative in the local entrepreneurship ecosystem, which can amplify the impact of startups, SMEs and cooperatives to contribute to the transformation of the food system in Rwanda and in the region.

The winners of this Challenge will be able to co-design their own acceleration journey, indicating the technical support they require and will take a lead in creating communities of practice on the topic,” says Mafer Betancourt, Managing Director of Impact Hub Kigali. The IGNITE Food Systems Challenge is made possible through the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, and a US$2 million grant from USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA). The competition is running concurrently in South Sudan and will launch in Uganda later in 2022.

About the Implementing Partners

The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change.

WFP’s IGNITE Innovation Hub for Eastern Africa was launched in December 2020, with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, to leverage WFP’s brand, public and private partners, deep field access, and expertise to develop, nurture and scale sustainable innovations for increased food security in the region.

Impact Hub Kigali (IHK) is a community-based innovation hub in Kigali, Rwanda, offering a unique ecosystem of resources, inspiration, and collaboration opportunities to grow positive impact. IHK offers a range of innovation and entrepreneurship support initiatives, including incubation programmes, bootcamps and challenges. IHK also supports the ecosystem through knowledge sharing platforms and mapping exercises. IHK is part of a large social innovation network in the world with +100 open hubs in over 50 countries.

Follow us on Twitter: @WFP_Africa @EdithHeinesWFP @ImpactHubKigali

For more information please contact:
Annet Mutesi, WFP/ Kigali, Mob: +250 788 763 077
Alessandro Abbonizio, WFP/ Nairobi, Mob: +254 723 001 639
Sandra Akariza, Impact Hub Kigali, Mob: +250 786 153 695

The world’s population is constantly on the rise, and every year, more and more raw materials are extracted to make products for consumption. These raw materials are finite, and to exacerbate the situation,  the used products are largely dumped in various landfills, missing the opportunity for extra value creation, and adding pressure to the environment. What if we all took a page from mother nature and her cyclical processes? We can adopt a Circular Economy model that would allow us to extract less raw materials, add more value to our products, and ‘close the loop’, leaving our environment unharmed. 

What does adopting a Circular Economy model (circularity) look like for entrepreneurs and startups? What if all startup incubators and accelerators took the step towards integrating design principles that foster circularity. How would this impact ventures going through these programs and the environment at large? These are some of the questions that the Impact Hub Global Network has been exploring over the past year. From the initial questions, the network moved to testing and piloting with local Impact Hubs. At the moment, 12 Hubs across Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America are integrating circularity into their programs.

Impact Hub Kigali is very excited to be part of the process and to have recently launched the Circular Economy Acceleration Program, a unique 6-month program to enable startups to become more circular. The CE program is supported by the DOEN Foundation, the MAVA Foundation, and the GIZ Digital Transformation Center. 

The pilot acceleration program in Rwanda is supporting  six startups to become more circular. The startups will have access to a series of circularity workshops and trainings such as product/material journey mapping, circular opportunity identification, circular collaborations, and circular business modeling. The startups will be coached by sustainability experts and will have access to seed funding to test their circular innovations. In addition, the pilot will aim to raise circular economy awareness in the country through circularity themed events and communities of practice. The program will culminate in a circular Demo Day where startups will have a chance to showcase their progress and pitch in front of potential partners and investors.

Representatives from the six selected startups, and Impact Hub Kigali team at the program kick-off session. The startups shared their expectations about the program, and went through an introductory session on understanding what circular economy is. 

At the program kick-off, startups expressed their desire to become more circular through their various business models and stressed how important this program would be in driving change towards promoting sustainable living. 

We only have one planet. If we waste it today, what will happen tomorrow?” – says Nshimiyimana Alexandre from Sanit Wing.

“I thought that I knew so much about the circular economy, but now I realize that I don’t. I like the feeling of not knowing and the opportunity to learn.” – Plante Josue from Aflimba (one of the six selected startups). 

Do you want to know which are the StartUps taking part in the Program? 

Scroll down to read more about them! 

The six selected startups are from different sectors: agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, and health with a technology aspect embedded within some of their business models.  

Aflimba: AFLIMBA is a creative space for rural artisans based in Rwanda to elevate the craftsmanship in rural communities and improve the livelihood of rural artisans at the same time bring to life finest-handcrafted bags, they call them ‘LIMBAGS’. Their main purpose is to employ all possible strategies that improve and sustain the lives of the maximum number possible of artisans in the rural communities, at the same putting their creative and leadership skills on another level, while maintaining and growing the good reputation of AFLIMBA as a brand.


GreenRev: GREENREV GR is a Youth led agribusiness social enterprise.  They focus on reducing horticultural harvest losses, as perishable crops and fight against malnutrition by adding micro- nutrient, to improve livelihoods through high profits and diversified nutrient-rich diets. They are interested in vegetables, tubers, fruits and cereals from seed to their processing to improve and modernize the agricultural sector through technological services.

Sanit Wing: Sanit Wing is a processing and manufacturing industrial company that produces a variety of oils, cosmetics and soaps from raw materials like avocado. Sanit Wing processes avocado into pure avocado oil, avocado hair cream, avocado vaseline and avocado soap. They produce cold pressed Avocado oil for industrial and Pharmaceutical use, and Organic pesticides free cosmetics that are affordable and custom to customer needs.

Kosmotive: Kosmotive produces and distributes breathable, non-toxic and super absorbent reusable sanitary pads that last for two years. They offer to all their end users to bring back all used products they bought from them, and they give them new ones at half the price. They recycle them and make other useful products from used products.

Croptech: Crop Tech Ltd is an agri-tech company that provides modern on-farm harvest handling services to maize growers in Rwanda and aid them in accessing the higher market through provision of transport and logistic services. They have developed a comprehensive on-farm harvest handling service (Maize threshing, maize drying and crop logistic service) through which they take the dryers at the farmers location and dry the maize harvest in a period of three hours instead of three weeks and help the farmer to sell to the high end market .

Ngozi Naturals: Ngozi Naturals is a conservation enterprise that amplifies local plant benefits through manufacturing natural beauty products. They currently manufacture 6 different handmade soaps that are meticulously developed for 4 skin types (Oily skin, Dry skin, Sensitive skin and a combination of skin). All our products are 100% natural, biodegradable and the packaging is 100% recyclable.

Stay tuned as we journey together with the startups, coaches, our partners, and our community towards a more circular future. 

To learn more,  visit

Ye! Chapter Rwanda explores financial management for early stage entrepreneurs

January 13, 2022

This past December, the Ye! Chapter Rwanda hosted an expert-led discussion on financial management for early stage entrepreneurs. Organised by the Ye! Ambassador (Aline Uwase) and Ye! Anchor Organization (Impact Hub Kigali), the event took place in person at Impact Hub Kigali (The Rooftop Ikawa Cafe). Check out the full recap and key learnings shared by the experts below!


About the event


To mark the last Ye! Chapter Rwanda event of the year, we hosted a panel discussion on investor readiness themed “Financial Management for Early-Stage Entrepreneurs.” Looking back at our past events in 2021 that span skills building, networking and fund raising through events on Digital Marketing For Entrepreneurs, Youth Networking Nights, Overcoming Failure Nights and Youth Startup Products Exhibition at The Sunday Market, it felt only right to end the year with a bang and talk about everything finance for early stage entrepreneurs.


We had a fantastic panel featuring: Philip Gasaatura – Investor, Strategy Consultant and Country Director at Katapult Africa; and Kenny Ntwali – Entrepreneur and Founding Member of Business Angels Rwanda. We closed the event with a contribution from Ye! Chapter member, Peter Ndahiro – Founder of AGNetwork about his journey seeking funds, closing the event out with the early stage youth perspective.


The event’s objective was to expose early-stage entrepreneurs to Rwanda’s  investment climate and help them understand the different investment vehicles available to tap into as an early stage entrepreneur. The event also worked to instill in the audience proper basic financial management techniques at the founding stage of an entrepreneurial journey and beyond. Lastly, the audience had the opportunity to hear from the panelists regarding some of the mistakes they have made in the past in regards to financial management, both from an investor and entrepreneur perspective.

Key takeaways


While there were many interesting takeaways from the session, we have compiled some of the top ones:


  1. Financial Management is “financial stewardship. As an entrepreneur,  you are managing resources which can support you in managing bigger resources later. Protect your cash. Invest in learning basic bookkeeping. Tap into resources including friends who are accountants. Be resourceful.” ~Philip Gasaatura

  1. When looking for investment opportunities in Rwanda and elsewhere “bring an investment that you believe can work. You need to de-risk many elements before bringing it to an investor. Their job is not to de-risk. Life is too short to make something no one wants, so don’t. Then figure out who will pay for it. Far fewer options for the early stage. Grants and bootstrapping are mainly the biggest tools at your disposal. Private equity and venture capital won’t come this far down the food chain.” ~Philip Gasaatura

  2. At Business Angels Rwanda, “ we help entrepreneurs to connect them with relevant linkages” and what we mainly look for in entrepreneurs is “have you made sales? From my personal experience as an entrepreneur, making sales and bootstrapping is your best bet at an early stage” ~Kenny Ntwali

  3. Top tips for financial management for early-stage entrepreneurs. At an early stage, “taking loans is extremely risky. DON’T take loans. Use different alternatives such as finding a side hustle. Bootstrap as much as you can and delay payments” ~Philip Gasaatura

  4. Some common errors early stage entrepreneurs make include “you want a perfect business on day one, a beautiful presentation, and spending too much on capital intensive assets. If you can, beg, borrow or steal. Spend more on revolving cash. Become wealthy with assets, and cash broke. It will take a while. Be ready for the long journey.” ~Philip Gasaatura

  5. How do we break this stereotype that young entrepreneurs will be successful right off the bat? “Get comfortable that it will fail at some point. Be ready to stand strong when it does. Learn from the mistakes and carry on. Failure doesn’t indicate you need to stop or that you’re not good enough. It’s part of the path to success.” ~Kenny Ntwali


Next Up 


Ye! Chapter Rwanda will continue supporting young entrepreneurs in Rwanda as we enter the new year of 2022. Over the past year, we have worked with mainly both aspiring entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas to change their communities and the world at large, as well as early-stage entrepreneurs looking to scale their products and services. In the coming years, we envision to expand our support to this community through activities such as pitching events to allow them to utilize and apply knowledge learnt from 2021 into scaling their businesses or turning their ideas into working enterprises.


We like to hear from you – what was your experience participating in the Ye! Chapter Rwanda’s events in 2021? Get in touch with us by emailing [email protected] today.


On Saturday, 8th September 2018, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation (CTA) concluded a five-day Pitch AgriHack final, with the awarding of best startups in the presence of African heads of states and heads of governments, in Kigali, Rwanda. The initiative was conducted during the 2018 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), with the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Suguba Africa and with the collaboration of partners including Impact Hub Kigali.

All 26 finalists involved in the start-up competition (including 14 women-owned companies) participated on 04 and 05 September in a training on investment readiness and financial management organised in collaboration with Suguba Africa. The objectives of the training were to help finalist start-ups identify key limits of their financial management strategy and identify actions they need to put in place to better manage their finances, and improve their readiness to raise capital (grants, loans, equity investments, etc.) from potential investors and development organisations.

Awards were given on 8th September during the closing ceremony of the AGRF, after a presidential exchange session, in the presence of officials including: H.E. Paul Kagame, President, Republic of Rwanda; H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President, Republic of Ghana; H.E. William Samoei Arap Ruto, Deputy President of Kenya; H.E. Emmanuel Issoze-Ngondet, Prime Minister, Republic of Gabon.



The following four winners were announced in the early stage category:

  1. Illuminum Greenhouses Kenya, Kenya (€7500)

Illuminum Greenhouses™ Kenya is a farming solutions company providing affordable greenhouses equipped with solar powered sensors that automate irrigation; it therefore enables the Internet of Things (IoT) to penetrate and reach the base of pyramid farmers. So far, they have built about 1,200 greenhouses across East Africa, with 5,500 Smallholder farmers using their technology.

  1. Fenou Foods/Fenou Packaging, Benin (€7500)

The young company offers AgriPack, an online platform that allows agrofood stakeholders to find and buy the right packaging for their products. It offers a selection of biodegradable bags and advices young agripreneurs on how to pack food in an environmentally friendly way. The company also produces agro-processed food.

  1. Develop Digitally, Jamaica (€5000)

The startup offers Farm Credibly, a platform that allows unbanked farmers in Jamaica to easily access credit. By getting data from suppliers and distributors, a trusted and secure farmer profile is established. FarmCredibly empowers creditors with the means to reduce risk in issuing loans and insurance to farmers by leveraging Blockchain technology. They recently won an IBM hackathon.

  1. Farmignite Company, Nigeria (€5000)

Farmignite gives you the opportunity to fund a farm, empower small-scale farmers and share in the harvest. The system facilitates the aggregation of investors’ requests. Farm Ignite is helping to increase farm output, reduce food importation, and increase revenues for farmers and investors.


In the advanced stage category, the winners included:

  1. CowTribe Africa, Ghana (€15000)

Cowtribe is a cloud based demand aggregation and last mile animal vaccine delivery management platform. On the client side, farmers can place orders for vaccines via a USSD platform or android app. The system then aggregates these orders by zones and region for optimized deliveries. The mobile app allows service providers to receive job notifications, manage and optimize delivery tasks. More than 9,000 vaccine requests have been fulfilled.

  1. Agro Innova, Ghana (€15000)

AgroInnova offers “Akokotakra“, a mobile and web based management software which helps poultry farmers to record, monitor and keep comprehensive records of their farm operations in real time, both online and offline. More than 100 poultry farms signed up on the platform three month after its launched and they are steadily generating revenues.

  1. Ankora Global Services, Nigeria (€12000)

With their product SmartFarm, Ankora Global Services provides commercial farming hub where busy professionals and beginning farmers can get access to land, modern farming facilities, professional management and market. They provide various ICT-enabled services including using drones. They have collaborated among others with the Central Bank of Nigeria to empower farmers.

  1. CLIN SARLU (e-agribusiness), Togo (€12000)

CLIN SARLU is an agricultural information system equipped with a call centre in local languages, a USSD, SMS, web and mobile applications. It enables farmers to find new markets for their products. It provides buyers with relevant information to facilitate their purchases. The start-up has just been selected to provide services to government projects in Togo and Côte d’Ivoire.

In addition to the above-mentioned prizes, Suguba Africa offered a special award to the best Francophone start-up led by a woman. The prize worth 2,500 was awarded to FENOU PACKAGING from Benin.

Best Pitch AgriHack final ever


Pitch AgriHack has been fantastic. First of all, just being in Kigali has been an eye-opening experience. Specifically, the investment readiness workshop has been extremely useful for us. We take home a lot of lessons and we will be certainly using them to keep propelling us forward; we’ll definitely make better use of funding having gone through this training” – said Varun Baker, CEO of Develop Digitally and winner of Pitch AgriHack 2018.

Prior to the announcement of results, the start-ups pitched their solutions to AGRF participants and a panel of judges on 06 September, in a very lively, fascinating and entertaining day. Before the pitching day, the entrepreneurs had the opportunity to attend a pitching training session delivered by Impact Hub Kigali. They learnt useful tips on how to structure their pitches, and were able to practice and receive feedback from mentors and peers.

The 26 entrepreneurs highly valued the Pitch AgriHack experience as they had the opportunity to interact with other young entrepreneurs, network with potential investors and with high-level officials and agribusiness leaders.

This was by far the best Pitch AgriHack final we have organised so far in three editions, said Ken Lohento Senior Programme Coordinator in charge of the activity at CTA. “With the theme of the competition focused on women entrepreneurs, we had over 50% of women finalists; we had an audience of close to 3,000 AGRF participants and the quality of start-up services have much improved”. The start-ups will now be benefit from various opportunity to grow, apart from cash prize won.

Pitch AgriHack 2018 is a competition that aims at accelerating e-agriculture entrepreneurship for improved livelihoods in the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. It targets start-ups founded by young entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 35 years. 325 start-ups applied initially. The finalists come from 9 different countries (Nigeria, Kenya, Benin, Uganda, Ghana, Jamaica, Togo, Suriname and Rwanda) and are both at early-stage and advanced-stage of their business development. Other partners involved in the organisation of the competition are Women in Tech Africa, Wennovation Hub (Nigeria), East African Trade and Investment Hub, Jokkolabs (international), Impact Hub Bamako (Mali), Impact Dakar (Senegal), BongoHive, the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND) and Yeesal AgriHub (Senegal).

More information on Pitch AgriHack: check and the project page on CTA’s corporate website. Email contact: [email protected]

Written by Impact Hub Kigali

Contact IHK:

Mafer Betancourt

Project Manager – Impact Hub Kigali

[email protected]


Hackathon for Climate Early Warning- ‘Internet of Things (IoT) for Climate Early Warning and Recovery in Rwanda’ Project

On Tuesday July 24th, the Rwanda Meteorology Agency (Meteo Rwanda) with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) concluded a 5-day Hackathon on the application of IoT for Climate Early Warning.

The Hackathon brought together different developers and climate data scientists across the region to test technology and applications to address Disaster Preparedness and Early Warning Systems through ‘real time’ environmental data collection, analysis and dissemination.

Rwanda is a country highly prone to disaster, including landslides, flash floods, droughts, windstorm, lightning and earthquakes. Over 157,000 people vulnerable to drought, 7,431 are vulnerable to landslide, and over 5,000 houses are vulnerable to windstorm in the rural areas. Real-time micro level climate data is critical for disaster risk management, early warning and for rapid response to disaster. However, collection of this data is challenging. A large part of present data collection is done manually, with data being sent monthly by phone and paper forms. This can delay the early warning mechanism and in the face of large scale disaster, be inefficient to provide first-hand scoping information, and moreover lead to loss of data.

In order to pilot new and innovative methods to effectively collect and disseminate micro-climate data that matches the needs of the people, Meteo Rwanda with the support of UNDP and funding from Noreps has been implementing the ‘Internet of Things (IoT) for Climate Early Warning and Humanitarian Recovery in Rwanda’ project. Through multiple workshops and consultations with local stakeholders facilitated by Impact Hub Kigali, the project identified opportunities for technology innovation to support data collection, analysis and dissemination.

The 10 teams, total 34 engineers and climate data scientists set out to prototype solutions to these opportunities during the 5-day Hackathon in Kayonza district. Meteo Rwanda, MIDIMAR, RISA, RAB, RWFA,Tumba College of Technology (TCT), District & Sector officials together with representative farmers and other stakeholders from the relevant government institutions and non-governmental organisations were present for the the first half of the Hackathon to talk with the developers to better clarify the pain points and
challenges that the organisations face with disaster preparedness and early warning systems.

In addition, Meteo Rwanda staff and students from Tumba College of Technology were given training sessions on IoT devices including communications, calibration and data analysis, durability and security, and their maintenance. Education and knowledge transfer was present throughout the entire hackathon as the students, staff and hackathonparticipants benefited from the expertise and the presence of mentors from the Rwanda private sector, Ghana and Kenya, University of Tokyo professors, and the Impact Hub Kigali
technical team.

Serge Senyana, Meteorological Applications Officer at Meteo Rwanda noted “ when the weather patterns become disastrous, you get smarter to reduce vulnerability; so, you need design thinking and hacking capabilities to provide good solutions.”

A partnership workshop for the main stakeholders was held on Tuesday morning to work on ideas for scale up of the IoT project after this phase, validate the applications/solutions that were developed from the first phase of the IoT project which was concluded in February, and as well as present awards to the teams that participated in the Hackathon.

René Kabalisa, Principal Research and Development at RISA enthusiastically noted “Wonderful to find more than 40 young innovators with an eagerness to come up with ideas to solve issues in our society utilising ICT and taking leadership in implementing these solutions for our community and the country as a whole”.

Elisabeth Yambabariye, Flood Risk Management Engineer at MIDIMAR echoed this sentiment about the hackathon: “The Hackathon was really amazing and Rwanda is lucky to have young engineers like these young people! The future free of vulnerable people to disasters is secured.”

Gaspard Twagirayezu, Science and Technology Policy Analyst at the National Council for Science and Technology, who was present at the Hackathon as one of the mentors for the teams said “The hackathon is proof that we have young people who are able to create solutions to our challenges using technology”.

Participants demonstrated a good understanding of challenges in disaster management and worked hard to come up with solutions that have potential to transform the sector. The participants need to be encouraged
and supported to ensure their solutions are successfully deployed. “Indeed, the participants are going to be supported to implement their solutions. Meteo Rwanda and MIDIMAR will be implementing some of the solutions and RISA has expressed interest to fund implementation and scaling of some of the solutions.

Final prototypes awarded included the below three Grand Prizes. Four teams were awarded Silver Prizes and 3 teams awarded Inspirational Prizes.

Team Ecodev – Applied machine learning to disaster risk assessment and prototyped an initial model which can be ‘trained’ by adding historical weather and disaster information.

Team Binary Earth – A coordination platform between Meteo Rwanda, MIDIMAR and other institutions using a dynamic Geographic Information System (GIS) to pass on weather hazard information and disaster risk assessments in a timely and effective manner.

Team STES- Prototyped a solar powered WMO standard compliant soil moisture sensor mesh network system using radio transmission so that can be set up in remote areas. Soil moisture data is critical for flood and drought disaster prediction.

Institutions involved:
Meteo Rwanda: Rwanda Meteorology Agency was present to ensure that the technologies and applications being developed are relevant and meet the needs of the users. Meteo provided further clarification of existing systems and the current gaps/challenges.

RISA: Rwanda Information Society Authority in charge of implementing the national Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) policies and programs to fast-track socio-economic growth. RISA will be supporting some of the solutions to be scaled up and will play a big role in the next phase of the IoT project.

UNDP: The United Nations Development Programme was the lead agency implementing the whole project based on partnership with Meteo Rwanda.

NOREPS: Network of humanitarian organisations and private companies facilitated by innovation Norway. They were the overall funder of the project.

MIDIMAR: Rwanda’s Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs. MIDIMAR was present to provide meaningful insights on disaster related issues and what specific challenges they face in regards to early warning systems.

RAB: The Rwanda Agricultural Board was present to share the specific challenges from the Agriculture point of view, and to ensure the needs of the agronomists and farmers will be considered as solutions are developed.

RWFA: Rwanda Water and Forestry Authority. RWFA provided insights on issues related to deforestation and landslides and opportunities available in regards to early warning systems.

University of Tokyo: The University of Tokyo helped in capacity building by training students on setting up and use of IoT sensors.

Impact Hub Kigali: part-innovation lab, part-incubation center offers a  unique ecosystem of resources to grow positive impact. IHK was the overall facilitator of the project, provided technical mentorship to the teams, and held training sessions on IoT.

Contact : Maria Fernanda (​ [email protected]​ )
Reina Otsuka (​ [email protected]​ )
Leonard Tukamwibonera (​ [email protected]​ )
Ritha Bumwe (​ [email protected]​ )