Transformational Entrepreneurship: The Role of Women and What Might Be Holding It Back #GEW2017

With unemployment levels rising as high as those of innovation, it is safe to say that the entrepreneurial revolution is underway. Except any aspiring business owner needs financial capital; yet not nearly enough people can raise it on their own. Thankfully, financial institutions are open to providing loans for these aspirations. But what does that mean for women in many of our communities who legislation and culture denies the right to property ownership and therefore collateral? How then do we ensure that aspiring women entrepreneurs too have access to financial capital?

The Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), Rwanda last week examined this issue and many more through different activities. The week was kicked off by an official opening ceremony and a panel discussion at the Kigali Innovation Village on the theme, Transformational Entrepreneurship. Among the issues this conversation sought to achieve was to: encourage entrepreneurship that alongside generating profits – meets social needs, appeal to youth to consider entrepreneurship as a career as well as to highlight the impact of various sectors within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The panel and discussion moderator (center) at the opening ceremony

Activities throughout the week included baking demonstrations from the Women’s Bakery, a discussion on how to make one’s business investment-ready and insights on leveraging technology to grow businesses. Pamela Munyana, Country Director of Idea 4 Africa, Rwanda noted that Global Entrepreneurship Week was a great way to encourage the community to explore the ideas of business creation and problem solving in an approachable format.

Part of the audience listening intently

Idea 4 Africa, a non-profit organization that fosters economic growth is the host of the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week in Rwanda. A series of workshops, panel discussions and pitch competitions coming to a total of 30 events were held throughout the week across the country during the week. Global Entrepreneurship Week, started by the Kauffman Foundation is the world’s largest celebration of innovators and job creators who aid economic growth and extend human welfare.

Cynthia Kamikazi, of African Development Bank who sat on the panel revealed that the bank has been working with different stakeholders to influence the setup of legislation which shall accord women rights to property ownership and acquisition. “We’re working in partnership with parliamentarians to ensure that where there are no laws, the laws are provided and where the laws are already in place, they are implemented.”

GEW, Rwanda has been hosted in the country for the seventh consecutive year now.