May 09th,2016

The nFrnds Young Entrepreneurs Fellowship Program being run by nFrnds in partnership with the Rwanda ICT Chamber, kLab, Africa Innovation Prize, RwandaOnline, Balton Rwanda and Microsoft is being launched this week in Kigali with an intensive boot-camp designed to provide hands-on experience and entrepreneurial training to young Rwandan graduates. Participants taking part in the boot-camp will receive training in marketing, sales and business development and have an opportunity to put their skills into practice while receiving support and mentorship from the nFrnds team, local facilitators and guest lecturers. Throughout the program fellows will continue to receive practical training and first-hand experience and upon completion of the program fellows will be accredited as nFrnds Entrepreneurs with the opportunity to continue running their own micro-businesses developed during the fellowship and gaining commission from sales of nFrnds or its partners’ services. Whichever path graduates choose they will benefit from the practical experience and new skills sets developed during the fellowship regardless of whether they stay on with nFrnds or our partners, go on to join a company or start their own venture.

As part of the program nFrnds will be co-hosting together with Rwanda Online a Speed Mentoring Cocktail where fellows will present their new business plans and receive feedback from visiting World Economic Forum delegates and local business leaders. As part of the week long activities, nFrnds, a technology company providing a managed cloud platform accessible from any mobile phone announced it has selected Kigali as its African Head Quarters, according to CEO Dorron Mottes, "Rwanda is the obvious choice to make our base in Africa given our great partners, the warm and welcoming business environment and exciting developments in the ICT field that are going on in this country" nFrnds is committed to playing it role in developing the capacity of young graduates to play a part together with its local partners in the ICT transformation that is already taking place in this country. For more information contact: info@nfrnds.com

April 27th,2016

Last October, I had a great opportunity -- which I came to see later -- to learn Scratch, a programming code language designed for young  people by MIT. Soon, I wanted other people, especially kids to also learn this great tool and program.

In this line, we started a program where we teach kids Scratch using RDB ICT buses. During our journey, which is still continuing, I have come to realize that kids, who use or see a computer for the first time, are fast learners though I do not have facts and evidence to back this up; it is just my pure observation!

Recently, I went to Jordan to teach the same coding program language to refugees at the Zaatari camp with SAP, Galway Education Center people. Also, I remarked that kids, though they are refugees, learn pretty much faster than I had expected!!

Going from one country to another, one cannot help but observe that there are numerous and different posters and flyers in cities and towns of kids studying, reading or writing. As far as I am concerned, that shows me the power and importance of education, pertaining especially to kids, either refugees or not.

I remember a story that I read on the Daily Mail online magazine of Adi Hudea, who was 4 years old, a Syrian refugee girl in Turkey, who surrendered when a photographer pointed a camera on her, for the little angel assumed it was a gun.. Also, I read another article, written by The Guardian, that talks about a young Syrian boy -- 3 years of age -- called Aylan Kurdi who drowned trying to access the Greek island of Kos swimming a sea; his brother, who was 5 years old, also passed away through the same circumstances. All these stories show that the refugee crisis in Europe and America is alarming and needs solution. I have been pushed by my penchant for kids and education; after reading those stories, I melted in tears and could not do nothing but go to the rescue of these poor kids. Another fact that I heard during my time in Jordan is that refugees are not a lost generation. Through this blog and my Twitter account, I want to raise my voice to say that refugees are not a lost generation whatsoever!

I strongly believe -- I am not alone -- that every kid on this earth should have equal opportunities to education, as they are avid learners and backbone of a country’s development and progress. That  is why we have been teaching refugees kids to code so that they may gain a crucial skill that can help them in a near future.

Following this is the schools of coding project, in which we will partner with different stakeholders and key partners for the success of it. The aim of this project is the same; empowering kids between 5-18 years through digital education i.e. coding software languages training. This work is, not to forget to mention, in line with Phil, the Minister of Youth and ICT of Rwanda’s vision,“Today literacy should go beyond just knowing how to read and write, even beyond digital literacy- knowing how to use computers. Basic literacy for the next generation should be about coding.”

With schools of coding is that we will not only teach Scratch as software code language but also12 coding programming languages as to know:Scratch 1&2, Alice, Daisy the Dinosaur, Hackety-hack, Code Monster, Codecademy, Javascript Games, HTML5 Games, App Inventer, Ruby Games and others.

Coding is a great skill, especially in the 21st century, to have to be able to thrive. Refugee kids are not forgotten and also are to be taught this skill in order for them to use it in the future so as to impact their lives and others’ on the way.

A fact of matter in all is that refugees are able and are avid learners, which makes them worthy and not less. Indeed, they are not a lost generation!

This post's writer is Aphrodice Mutangana

April 20th,2016

Who said young girls cant have or run businesses?? If you're among the people with such a myth,you are most probably fooling yourself.Over 30 young girls aged between 13-18 years who'd formed 6 groups gathered on 16th April 2016 at kLab for technovation challenge Regional Pitch.

3 new school successful tech entrepreneurs: Louis Antoine Muhire, Patrick Buchana and Jean Niyotwagira as panel of the jury and H.E US Kigali Ambassador Erica J. Barks-Ruggles as the guest of honor, they all participated in full swing.

How often have you stood in the crowd to pitch your business ideas,moreover in front of experienced jury? I can bet, the majority and fear to even give it a try. But these young girls did it with amazing ideas.

6 groups of young girls boldly and eloquently pitched their ideas, namel, HeLIFE, an app that tracks if retail products are fake or not using bar code scanning technology. Lighten Me , a matching app of unexperienced young people with mentors in technlogy. iShop, an app that connects farmers with nearest customers to eliminate all distribution channels in the process from harvesting a particular crop till it reaches the market. Go Green an app+device that is to be installed in cars' engines to track the amount of carbon emitted on the atmosphere. Global Rock, a medical app that gives real time information about most trending epidemic diseases and general health information.Last but not least Health Medical Care,a medical app for interactions among doctors and their patients.

Only 3 teams were to be selected as grand winners by a panel of jury for the next round of technovation challenge on the global level. Global Rock, iShop and Go Green were selected respectively. The jury based on different parameters such as innovation,team perspective,market feasibility and realities,... to mention a few.However the 1st grand winner Global Rock was selected by the jury unanimous votes.

The panel of jury critically emphasized to the grand winning teams that: "Though selected,it does not guarantee overnight success on the market.'' "You still have a long way to go..." Patrick Buchana added. "For the remaining teams that are not grand winners, it does not mean that your ideas wont succeed in the market place. You're still young, keep ambitious and put in actions for your ideas.." Louis Antoine Muhire advised.

"Given the fact that 67% of entire global businesses are owned by women. As young girls, this means you can increase the number ceaselessly. If other women can do it, you can do it and your competitive advantage is that you're young." H.E US Kigali Ambassador Erica J. Barks-Ruggles emotionally said, in her commencement speech for this event.

''Truth be told,you cant teach an old dog new tricks. This is why we've been engaging young girls in technology and help them participate in such challenges to unlock their full potential. At the end of the day, we need an increasing number of women doing businesses here in Rwanda.'' Those are quoted words uttered by Emma Ndoringoma and Murekatete Marie Claire, some of the Rwanda techwomen alumni and technovation challenge mentors who participated in this event.

All big up goes to all girls that participated in this challenge and the panel of jury that invaluably spent roughly 5 hours in this event as a result turning it into a colorful event.

However, a wake up call goes to all other entrepreneurs who're slow learners. Be aware of young kids scattered all over the world who've have breakthrough ideas and are tirelessly working on them to change how things(your businesses) are done today. Learn as much as you can, as fast as you can,because you can anytime be wiped out by disrupting innovations of young people, these young girls that participated inclusive.

The challenge is a global technology entrepreneurship program and competition for young women that put together throughout an intensive 3- month, teams of young women to imagine, design, and develop mobile apps, then pitch their “startup” businesses to judges and be able to sell it in their markets.

Rwanda techwomen are Solange Tuyisenge, Chantal Iribagiza, Neza Guillaine, Angel Bisamaza, Enatha Mukantwari, Murekatete Marie Claire, Emma Ndoringoma, Francine Gatarayiha, Umutesi Veronique , Gahongayire Anatole, Winnie Ngamije, Diane Ukwishaka, and Placidie Benamahirwe.

Neza Guillaine and Murekatete Marie Claire are technovation challenge coordinators in Rwanda. Notably some of the Rwanda techwomen are technovation challenge mentors.

Roughly 80 people attended this event, young girls also inclusive.