On Tuesday, 14 November, the University of Westminster and the University of Rwanda held official celebrations simultaneously in London and Kigali to congratulate the forty students from both universities who have been selected to collaborate on the Quintin Hogg Trust funded Social Enterprise Rwanda programme.
Using the latest technology in our Westminster Boardroom at Marylebone Campus, the celebration event was attended by students and faculty in the presence of Mr Fidelis Mironko, the Rwanda High Commission’s First Counsellor and was linked by video conference with the British High Commissioner’s residence in Kigali. From there, the British High Commissioner, 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, as well as the British Council.
Speaking from Kigali, the Social Enterprise Rwanda Project Director (and Undergraduate Marketing Course Leader), 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.”
The forty students were selected from over 200 applicants on the basis of their motivation and desire for wanting 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.
In the Spring vacation, the students from University of Westminster will attend a ‘social enterprise and cultural retreat’ at the University of Rwanda to work with their Rwandan colleagues. This will be in order to 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.