Rwanda: Young Entrepreneurs


Children who survived the Genocide against the Tutsis typically lost all of their family and most of their acquaintances, leaving them without a support network. AERG (Association des Etudiants Rescapes du Genocide) is an NGO founded by those survivors to help each other go through their schooling and higher education through the creation of “virtual families”, each made up of a group of about 20 survivors.

The Young Entrepreneurship Training Program (YETP) is a four-month program run in partnership between SURF and AERG  whose aim is to provide Genocide survivors with formal training in work readiness and entrepreneurship. In a country  with high youth unemployment like Rwanda, Genocide survivors are at a particular disadvantage in finding a job because they do not have a network of family and friends to help them.

YETP equips them with basic skills to help them find a job. It also trains them on entrepreneurship, with the ultimate goal that its graduates will start a business and create more employment as their business expands.

The 150 students who just completed YETP have each worked on a business proposal to start a business. A panel of judges selects the top five plans on the basis of the business concept, feasibility, profitability, degree of innovation and experience/engagement of the candidate. The winning plans get a micro-finance loan and technical support to help them start the business.

I sit on the panel of judges to select the top business plans and lead a mentoring session with the winners.

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the winners of the YETP 


mentoring session with the winners



the judges hard at work…


recognizing the winners


field visit