Scaling digital products and entering new markets is important for tech companies to succeed in the long run. However, scaling for Rwandan startups often proves difficult due to the country’s size. Read here why opening new markets is essential for Rwandan tech start-ups.
With a population of around 12 million and a smart phone penetration of 14.6%, Rwandan tech companies have a unique challenge of getting their products and digital platforms to market-scale. Entrepreneurs in Rwanda need to be particularly creative and innovative to make their digital product a success.
Tapping new markets in Africa
For these entrepreneurs it is particularly important to develop their products with alternative markets. One possibility is to leverage the market of the immediate East African region. However, the Kenyan market, for example, is already saturated with its own digital products and does not necessarily depend on Rwandan products. That is why, it is worth considering other countries that have a similar context to Rwanda (e.g. population, climate, etc.).
Consequently, the DigiCenter focuses not only on supporting the development of digital solutions, but also on scaling them within Africa. Another important aspect is the nature of the digital solutions developed in the DigiCenter. These solutions address social challenges and offer a solution that is not only attractive for Rwanda. Therefore, the motivation is not to reinvent these solutions in every country, but to create and use synergies.
How the DigiCenter supports developer teams in scaling
GIZ’s internal network offers a good basis for using existing contacts in other countries and identifying relevant target groups. In addition, some of the solutions have already been presented at conferences. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has eliminated many physical touch points. That is why, the DigiCenter currently uses more online formats such as the Leverist platform or the DigiCenter website to reach potential partners. Moreover, the DigiCenter collaborates closely with the Smart Africa Secretariat to leverage existing solutions for similar problems.
So far, the Digital Ecosystem Mapping tool has been successfully presented to the GIZ project Special Initiative Jobs in Ethiopia which wants to modify the platform as a directory for SMEs. Furthermore, the DigiCenter currently supports the Rwandan company WatchIT Group to scale their IoT learning kit all over Africa.