A physical space where ideas on the basis of Internet of Things technology can be tried out is a great support and financial relief for startups. This allows them to check whether an investment is worthwhile and to test and further develop prototypes with the necessary technology. For this purpose, DSSD has set up an Innovation Lab at the DigiCenter and has now opened its premises to interested entrepreneurs.
An innovation lab can boost digital transformation initiatives by streamlining the process from idea generation to implementation. The creation of an innovation lab is a popular tactic among technology leaders to foster growth and promote new ideas. DSSD has established an innovation lab in partnership with local partners such as RISA, NIRDA, MINICT, and the private sector to serve as an entrepreneurial hub for the community. The aim is for startups to exchange ideas, develop their business plans as well as to develop and produce electronic devices in Rwanda.
Digital Transformation Center Innovation Lab in a Nutshell
In collaboration with the IZM Fraunhofer Institute, DigiCenter has established an Innovation center workspace as a nurturing environment for startup companies. The space is dedicated to innovators and entrepreneurs to turn innovative ideas into products specifically in the hardware and electronics domain. On the one hand, the main focus is the support of these often-small companies with individual hardware solutions on a very small scale. On the other hand, those startups are pushed to think and act big. Moreover, the space provides a platform for capacity building and integration of hardware skills with software knowledge. The purpose is to quickly bring Rwandan innovators closer to the Internet of Things era.
Furthermore, the space promotes a collaborative community, knowledge base and innovation business model. It provides guidance to increase Rwanda’s competitiveness in the fields of design, engineering, electronics, fabrication and high-tech innovative business. Also, the innovation lab offers free access to a working space, free mentoring and internet access to young entrepreneurs, graduates and students.
Start a Factory Program
In order to promote and back up ICTs solutions, DSSD and IZM have joined forces to launch the Start a Factory Program. The aim of the program is to attract ideas from young Rwandese while helping them solidifying these ideas. The purpose is to the develop a strong community of entrepreneurs being able to boost the economic growth of the country. The start a factory (SAF) training program is currently underway with 10 startups attending. After a national call for application, more than 25 applications were received to participate in the Start a Factory Program for hardware programming.