SPEECH BY THE DIRECTOR, CENTRE FOR GENDER & ENTREPRENEURSHIP, MRS. EUGENIA NKECHI IRECHUKWU

Representative from the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion
Vice Chancellor, KIM University
Representative from the Rwanda Development Board
Representative of the Business Development Fund
Representatives from the Private Sector Federation
Distinguished members of Academia
Students here in attendance
Ladies and gentlemen
All protocols observed

GOOD MORNING.

In developing countries, entrepreneurs are very critical for creating employment, wealth and dynamic innovations. They make up a large share of economic, political and social activities. According to the Global Gender Gap Report, Rwanda has recently been ranked the Best Place to be a Woman in Africa and 6th overall in the world in terms of closing gender gaps. Rwanda is one of the most encouraging and supportive places to be a woman entrepreneur in Africa. Rwanda is highly progressive in seeing entrepreneurship as a key driver for transformation, economic development and business growth in the country, especially for women.

The fact remains that as the number of graduates who complete their bachelor education every year in Rwanda increases, youth unemployment rapidly increases. Young people seem to face difficulties finding employment. 4thRPHC_Youth (2012) says that Unemployment is highest among young women living in urban areas and mostly, among young university-educated women.

Most universities in Rwanda including KIM University offer entrepreneurship development as a module, but, the KIM University Centre for Gender and Entrepreneurship is interested in going beyond the traditional lectures which is a fundamental process by seizing the supportive opportunities in Rwanda to develop entrepreneurial culture among the young Rwandans in general and the young women in particular. It is inevitable that the young people integrate the traditional knowledge gained in financial management, business management, business innovation, e-commerce, procurement, etc, into practical exploitation and application by being resilience in creating and doing business without waiting for employment endlessly.

This is achieved by:

  • Instilling in the minds of the young Rwandans the drive to become job creators, and not mere job seekers.
  • Imparting the entrepreneurial mindset and enable them to go beyond mere dependence on the few vacant positions in the labour market.
  • Inculcating in them prudent risk-taking spirit, and enable them overcome fear and apathy towards running own business.

It is important to note that these students are becoming aware that youth micro entrepreneurship endeavours are appealing because of its flexibility, creativity, enrichment and economic imperatives. The Centre for Gender and Entrepreneurship accomplishes this by making these students to actively participate in generating business/project ideas, developing and debating the ideas, writing business plans and trying to practically implement the ideas to get the needed experience for the future.

The centre is gender-responsive, in that, it considers the needs of both male and female students as practically becoming entrepreneurs that will boost the economic activities in Rwanda and beyond. Gender equality in this case means that boys and girls must have equal participation in development and get benefit from it equally. The males are working in partnership with the females, synchronizing and supporting their entrepreneurial activities in order to bring the required socioeconomic transformations in their lives and in the nation.

Our young ones, especially the females are not only expected to be sources of competitive advantage, but also achievers of competitive advantage.

Thank you.

For further information, contact the Director of the Centre:
Mrs. Irechukwu Eugenia Nkechi (PHD Cand. JKUAT)
+250788834116 or irenkechi@gmail.com, irenkechi@kimuniversity.ac.rw.

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