Startup Haus or Westerwelle Startup Haus Kigali, a German NGO that aims at supporting local entrepreneurs to improve their business and promoting SMEs for job creation, was officially opened in Kigali on Monday October 1, 2018.
Startup Haus was officially opened by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Vincent Munyeshyaka in presence of more than 100 guests.
Since its soft launch in August 2018, more than 21 startups with over 80 members in total joined Haus as members
Speaking after the official opening of the Westerwelle Startup Haus Kigali, Munyeshyaka said the engagement by the Westerwelle Foundation in Rwanda shows what important role startups are playing in national economic policy.
He said: “I 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,”Minister Munyeshyaka added.
Thomas Wessel, Chief Human Resources Officer and Labor Relations Manager of Evonik Industries AG which partnered with Westerwelle Foundation to open Haus Startup in Kigali, said that Haus Startup is in Rwanda to help young entrepreneurs get technical equipment to develop their practical skills.
“When we announced our idea for the start-up house to the public in February last year, 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 and we also wanted to establish a place for young people aiming at developing their manual, technical and practical skills,” he said.
Mrs. Malu Dreyer, Minister-President of Rhineland-Palatinate, who also attended the ceremony highlighted the long-standing cooperation between Rwanda and Rhineland-Palatinate and stressed the joint efforts to create new perspectives for Rwandans.
“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.”
On the goals of the Startup Haus Kigali, Michael Mronz, the German Sports and Event Manager and partner to Westerwelle Foundation said: “Rwanda is a country full of opportunities.
The Westerwelle Startup Haus Kigali should function as a place where entrepreneurs can turn their business ideas into reality. We are convinced that the Startup Haus will become a central place for startups from Kigali and East Africa as well.”
Startup Haus is the work of Westerwelle Foundation, a German nonprofit organization that was established in 2013 by Dr. Guido Westerwelle, former German Minister for Foreign Affairs. The foundation works to promote international understanding and fosters values of democracy, market-economy, rule-of-law and tolerance.