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Opening ceremony of the Westerwelle Startup Hauses Kigali powered by Evonik Foundation on 1st October

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The Westerwelle Foundation for International Understanding with headquarters in Berlin, Germany is a nonprofit organization with legal capacity under civil law. The foundation was established in 2013 by Dr. Guido Westerwelle, former German Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Ralph Dommermuth, CEO and Founder of United Internet AG.

The foundation wants to create more opportunities for more people around the world. The foundation promotes international understanding and fosters values of democracy, market-economy, rule-of-law and tolerance. We believe in the correlation of economic success and democratic participation. Our focus lies on empowering the middle class as a socioeconomic model, comparable to the idea of the German Mittelstand. Therefore, we support young entrepreneurs from emerging and developing countries.

An important part of our work is the Westerwelle Startup Haus Programme. The aim of the programme is to support young local entrepreneurs, thereby helping to create more economic opportunities in Africa in the long run. The programme was conceptualised in 2014 and a year later the first Westerwelle Startup Haus was opened in Tunis, Tunisia.

In cooperation with enpact e.V. it is offering a one-stop-shop for the local startup scene. Due to its impressive economic growth, its favorable and stable development as well as its focus on the development of the SME sector Rwanda was chosen as location for the second Westerwelle Startup Haus.

With the Westerwelle Startup Haus powered by Evonik Foundation the Westerwelle Foundation in cooperation with Evonik Foundation as partner is strengthening its
commitment for young entrepreneurs in East Africa.

Located next to the Kigali Convention Centre, the Startup Haus is offering flexible co-working space and a maker space with a focus on product design and innovation. Events, workshops and trainings cater to the needs of entrepreneurs but also to people interested in learning new skills.

The Startup Haus operates according to market forces of demand and supply and aims to achieve operational breakeven in order to be truly sustainable and self-sufficient. As of September 2018, startups in the Haus are, among others: BeneFactors Ltd (a Rwandan factoring company and winner of the Seedstars Competition Kigali 2018), Umva (Translating platform for Kinyarwanda), Pikiwash (service provider for moto taxis), Sana Initiative (platform for mental health), FinanceYOU (finance and bookkeeping startup) and Ki-pepeo Kids (social fashion

The Grand Opening of the Westerwelle Startup Haus powered by Evonik Foundation will take place on October 1st, 2018. International and local representatives from politics, the private sector and civil society are invited to the official opening ceremony.

To inaugurate the Startup Haus the Westerwelle Foundation is organising a two-day conference for young entrepreneurs in Rwanda on October 1st and 2nd. The conference programme offers a diverse range of workshops catering to the needs of local founders.

The participants of the conference have the opportunity to join workshops on product design and startup finances, talk to international investors, improve their pitch and discuss various topics concerning the Kigali startup scene with renowned panelist such as the CEOs of ARED and Irembo as well as MiTEC representatives. (End)


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