Rwanda is turning global start-up stats on their head

by Tendai Dube 0

African Entrepreneur Collective has fundamentally changed the accelerator model.

Globally the majority of start-ups fail but Rwanda appears to be turning this figure on its head. 

According to statistics, about 90 per cent of start-ups fail, that three out of four new companies but not in Rwanda. 

Julienne Oyler, the Executive Director at African Entrepreneur Collective, works with a collection of business accelerators and helps support and amplify their chances of success.

“Rwanda is a really great place to be an entrepreneur, the government is incredibly supportive of entrepreneurship development and there are many barriers that have been removed by the structures in place here,” said Oyler

Rwanda is ranked 46 in the world in ease of doing business, according to data from the World Bank.

Rwanda - Ease Of Doing Business

“We really feel that this is an exciting and innovative industry to be in,” added Oyler.

Since its inception in 2012, African Entrepreneur Collective has worked with about 200 start-ups of which six have failed which she feels is reversing global statistics.

Its model has helped create approximately 700 jobs in the three years that it has been around and the company expects this number to grow.

“We see that over the next five years this group of entrepreneurs will create thousands of jobs for the communities in Rwanda, so we are definitely on track and very pleased with that,” said Oyler.

Rwanda’s unemployment rate currently sits at 3.4 per cent.

The African Entrepreneur Collective model is different from most as it casts “a wider net”. Usually business accelerators prefer to take a small group of five or ten businesses in a year but it chooses about 100 and makes a 12 month commitment to the start-up.

“We believe in order to be a successful business, you have to be doing your business and so we go out there and support our entrepreneurs where they are and how they are doing it.”

It’s a mutually beneficial business, it provides capital for these start-ups and has loaned up to 250 thousand dollars in total but more importantly the accelerator uses a system where it purchases the equipment and rents it out to its clients – meaning it does not require as much capital as other financial institutions do.

Another reason for its success is that it tries to be more flexible, allowing for a case-by-case handling of each company’s payment plan – which African Entrepreneur Collective believes makes it mutually more successful.