The 40 students were selected from over 200 applicants on the basis of their motivation and desire to make a difference in Rwanda. Over the next eight months, students from both universities, supported by academic and industry mentors, will work virtually in inter-disciplinary teams to develop their plans for Rwanda.
Official celebrations were held simultaneously in London and Kigali in the presence of Mr Fidelis Mironko, the Rwanda High Commission’s First Counsellor. The British High Commissioner for Rwanda, Mr William Gelling OBE, hosted an event attended by students from University of Rwanda and officials from strategic partners in Rwanda, including the Business Development Fund, the Development Bank of Rwanda, and the British Council. Using the latest technology in the Westminster Boardroom, University of Westminster students and faculty members joined the celebration linked by video conference with the British High Commissioner’s residence in Kigali.
Speaking from Kigali, the Social Enterprise Rwanda Project Director (and Course Leader of the University of Westminster's undergraduate Marketing courses), Darrell Kofkin said: “This is a unique opportunity for students from University of Westminster to collaborate with colleagues from another culture and to transform their lives and the lives of the people of Rwanda through developing social enterprises, which have a sustainable impact.”
Professor Philip Cotton OBE, the University of Rwanda Vice-Chancellor, said: “Both universities will be enabled to develop planned collaborative projects which embrace a range of subjects, including business, life sciences, entrepreneurship, rural development and financial planning, thus supporting the founding objectives of developing undergraduate and postgraduate social enterprise projects for implementation in Rwanda.”
During the Spring vacation, the University of Westminster students will attend a ‘social enterprise and cultural retreat’ at the University of Rwanda to work with their Rwandan colleagues. They will refine their social enterprise plans and receive feedback from a panel of business and social enterprise experts, before submitting their final plans for judging in June. The winning teams will be announced in July and funding will then be sought to kick-start their projects.
About Social Enterprise Rwanda
Social Enterprise Rwanda is a unique collaboration between the University of Westminster and the University of Rwanda, one of Africa’s top universities, with the support of Quintin Hogg Trust funds.
20 University of Westminster undergraduates will take part in a transformative nine-month programme during the 2017–18 academic year, which will see them collaborate with undergraduate students from the University of Rwanda.