TechInAfrica – The Westerwelle Startup Haus Kigali has been just officially opened on October 1, 2018. The grand opening ceremony was held through a partnership with Evonik Foundation. The partnership aims to increase its devotion and commitment for young entrepreneurs in Africa as well as strengthen the Rwandan middle class and generate the creation of economic opportunities for the long-term.
There were over 100 guests attending the grand opening event including politicians, entrepreneurs, and people from civil society. One of the guests was the Rwandan Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Vincent Munyeshyaka. He emphasizes how major and significant the engagement of Westerwelle Foundation in the region is as well as the important role of startups to the economic growth and policy. He stated: “I’d like to take this opportunity to appreciate the partnership we have between Rwanda and Rhineland-Palatinate. It is a very long-lasting one for now 36 years. What I like from it: it is a people to people partnership but also business to business partnership. And I like to take this opportunity to appreciate the launch of this Startup Haus. Actually, it is in line with our government program of promoting SMEs for job creation but also for economic growth for actually promoting our export. This is a good opportunity and I am very happy that we have launched this Startup Haus in Kigali.”
As the Rwandan ministerial representative, Mrs. Malu Dreyer also showed her impression of the grand opening event and the partnership between the two organizations. She remarked: “I welcome the commitment by the Westerwelle Foundation and the Evonik Foundation to support young entrepreneurs in realizing their business ideas. Entrepreneurs have a great potential to create new jobs and shape the future of Rwanda.”
Additionally, the Chief Human Resources Officer and Labor Relations Manager of Evonik Industries AG, Thomas Wessel made his statement on behalf of Evonik Foundation. Wessel said: “When we announced our idea for the start-up house to the public in February last year, our common vision and intention is to create something special. We had the idea to build a start-up house with two different areas. We wanted to create a place where young founders are able to access all the shared services and technical equipment they need for the start-up of a new business. We also wanted to establish a place for young people aiming at developing their manual, technical and practical skills. The simultaneous creation of a Co-Working Space and a Maker Space is the result of our work. And standing here today, I must say that we successfully combined both. At Evonik, we recognize on a daily basis how important good education and training is for young people.”
Africa has always been seen as ‘a continent full of opportunities’ by the Founder of the Westerwelle Foundation and Former German Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Guido Westerwelle. This way of thinking should make the Westerwelle Startup Haus Kigali be a one-stop-shop for the local startup scene. With a total of 1.200 square meters of space, the startup offers a flexible co-working with a focus on the design of product, innovation, workshops, and training. There is a total of 80 members of startups have joined as its members.