Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for the IGNITE Challenge 3.0?

  • Click on the following link : bit.ly/IGNITEChallenge3.
  • Review the Eligibility criteria
  • Click on the ‘Apply Now’ button
  • Complete the application form
  • Click on ‘Submit’ to submit your application.

What are the key dates to keep in mind? OR What is the Program Timeline?

  • Applications open: 20th May
  • Applications close: 23rd June 2024 at 11:59 PM CAT
  • Announcement of selected startups: June – July 2024
  • Pre-acceleration phase: July – August 2024
  • Selection of up to 6 ventures and diagnostics: August 2024
  • 5 months acceleration phase: September – January 2025
    Info sessions
  • 1st Info session: 10th June 2024. Register here to attend
  • 2nd Info Session: 18th June 2024. Register here to attend

Who is eligible to apply?

  • Startups, MSMEs, and cooperatives with commercially viable solutions aimed at enhancing the livelihoods of refugees are invited to apply. We highly encourage businesses owned by refugees and women-led businesses to apply.
  • While all solutions are invited to apply, solutions that address the following areas are particularly encouraged to apply:
    – Refugee Empowerment and Livelihood Solutions
    – Food Systems Innovations to Benefit Refugee Communities
    – Leveraging Digitization to Improve Refugees’ Access to Food and Resources
    – Facilitating Access to Financial Resources
    – Enabling Entrepreneurship Opportunities for Refugees
    – Enhancing Refugees’ Access to Employment Opportunities and Markets
    – Infrastructure Development to Support Refugee Settlements and Communities
    – Promoting Social Enterprise and Cooperative Models to Benefit Refugee Entrepreneurs
  • Your entity must possess a valid registration/certificate of incorporation for operating in Rwanda and at least 1 year of operation
  • Be a team of at least three full-time members dedicated to the MSME/cooperative, including the founding team
  • At least 50% of the founding and/or senior management team must be from Rwanda/East Africa. In the case of businesses owned by refugees, the refugees must be registered in Rwanda.
  • Be a refugee-owned business, a business directly impacting refugees in Rwanda, or a business looking to enhance the livelihood of refugees.
  • Have proof of a revenue-generating business (total turnover in the case of cooperatives) of at least the equivalent of RWF 4,000,000 for the full year of 2023
  • Have existing key operations in Rwanda

*Businesses and cooperatives owned by refugees are especially encouraged to apply.

How many ventures will be selected to proceed to the different stages of the program?

  • Up to 10 ventures will be shortlisted to proceed to the pre-acceleration phase.
  • The selected ventures will be given guidelines to submit proposals and budgets for investments. With this, up to 6 ventures will be selected to proceed to the 5 months acceleration phase.

Does the venture have to work with refugees already?

No, an existing venture that is looking to work with refugees is also welcome to apply to the program.

What is the selection criteria?

  • We will select ventures who qualify to proceed to the pre-acceleration phase and acceleration phase based on six selection criteria:
  1. Level of innovation: Assessing the extent to which the solution innovatively improves the livelihoods of refugees.
  2. Impact on refugees: Gauging the extent to which the solution positively affects the lives or circumstances of refugees.
  3. Financial sustainability: Determining the ability of the business model to generate revenue and maintain viability over the long term.
  4. Level of traction: Evaluating the current traction of the business, demonstrating impact already achieved, and the level of engagement with users within refugee communities.
  5. Scalability: Examining the potential for the solution to grow and expand its reach to serve more refugees or communities.
  6. Team: The team combines the right experience and demonstrates commitment to scale the solution.

At what stage should my venture be to be eligible for this opportunity?

We are looking for growth-stage ventures operating in Rwanda, with revenue of RWF 4,000,000 for the full year of 2023

Do we have to be based in Rwanda?

Yes, your venture needs to have active operations in Rwanda. You will also need to be present to participate in the different activities of the acceleration program if you are selected to join the program.

What are the benefits of this program?

  • Funding: Up to USD 25,000 in equity-free funding per venture if selected for the acceleration program for up to 6 ventures
  • Skills training
  • 5 months acceleration support: access curated technical support to strengthen your skills and address business gaps. Receive a tailored curriculum and connect directly with experts and mentors
  • Networking and exposure: Leverage WFP’s strong network of government, public, and private sector partners

How is the pre-acceleration phase structured?

The pre-acceleration phase is designed to strengthen the capacities of the shortlisted ventures to support them in better articulating their business impact. There are three components within the pre-acceleration phase: due diligence process, bootcamp training and submission of proposals for the acceleration phase.

What should I expect at the Bootcamp training?

The shortlisted ventures undergo a 2 day bootcamp training to work with experts and coaches in developing their skills in storytelling, leadership, sales, pitching preparation and more. In addition to this, 1 extra day of a curated site visit to a refugee camp for participants to have first hand exposure to real-world challenges and opportunities.

How will the due diligence process be conducted?

The due diligence process is one of the components of the pre-acceleration phase. This takes place in parallel to the bootcamp training, and is designed to further assess the eligibility of the ventures’ fit into the program acceleration phase. During the due diligence process, a team of experts conduct site visits at each of the venture’s business locations to evaluate the ventures’ solution/product, financials, traction, market & readiness to scale, team/HR, and corporate documents. Each venture will be asked to provide documents for the experts to evaluate all the components above.

How is the acceleration phase of the program structured?

  • 5 months of curated technical support throughout the acceleration phase including:
  1. Business diagnostics, scaling plan and action plan development
  2. Tailored expert support based on your scaling needs
  3. Individualized coaching support
  4. Mentorship support
  5. Partnerships and investment opportunities
  6. Networking events, conferences, masterclasses, and peer to peer sessions
  • Receive up to $25,000 financial support to scale your venture

Can I attend an information session?

  • Yes, we will host two virtual information sessions.
  1. 1st Info session: 10th June 2024. Register here to attend
  2. 2nd Info Session: 18th June 2024. Register here to attend

What language will the program be conducted in?

The application, pre-acceleration and acceleration phases of the program will all be conducted in English. You will need a team representative who speaks and understands English well

What kind of funding is provided and how is it disbursed?

The grant funding provided is equity-free that is unlocked once selected for the acceleration phase of the program.

Are there costs associated with program participation?

No, the program is free for those selected to participate in the Ignite 3.0 – Empowering Refugee Communities in Rwanda Acceleration Program.