Liquid Telecom to offer free internet to Westerwelle Startup Haus in Kigali, Rwanda




Liquid Telecom is supporting young entrepreneurs at the Westerwelle Startup Haus Kigali through its high-speed internet and cloud-based services.

Soft-launched in early August (but officially opened this week), the Westerwelle Startup Haus is a hub for entrepreneurs, which offers a range of services such as events, advisory services and professional development workshops. Run by Westerwelle Foundation in partnership with Evonik Foundation, it also includes a makerspace providing machines such as 3D printers and a laser cutter among others.

The hub has a capacity to serve 200 people, who will be able to enjoy access to Microsoft Azure developer tools provided by Liquid Telecom via its leading-edge fibre network.

Liquid Telecom will support Westerwelle Startup Haus through the provision of high-speed internet, helping it to become a major driver of innovation and further positioning Kigali as a tech hub in the region.

Through its Innovation Partnership initiative, Liquid Telecom is taking a leadership position in driving tech-based innovation in Rwanda, and earlier this year also entered into a partnership with Impact Hub Kigali. Liquid Telecom’s range of digital skills development programmes, which focus on areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, data science and game development, will help Rwanda prepare for the arrival of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“We’re excited to be supporting the Westerwelle Foundation with its new venture in Rwanda. The opening of the Westerwelle Startup Haus Kigali will help nurture more young entrepreneurs that are laying the foundations for the country’s digital future,” said Oswald Jumira, Head of Innovation Partnerships at Liquid Telecom.

Liquid Telecom and the Westerwelle Startup Haus Kigali will also explore ways to attract more leading events and startup competitions to the Rwandan capital. In July, the Westerwelle Startup Haus hosted Seedstars Kigali, part of a major startup competition held in over 20 different African countries. Entries included an artificial intelligence (AI) enabled device that helps the blind see and a talent match-making platform.

The hub is run by the Westerwelle Foundation, a German non-profit organisation which aims to promote entrepreneurship and collaboration among innovators in emerging markets, in partnership with Evonik Foundation. Run by Evonik Industries, one of the world’s leading specialty chemicals companies, Evonik Foundation promotes education and science.

“Kigali is rapidly establishing a bright and innovative start-up sector. With Liquid Telecom’s support, we will be able to foster the entrepreneurial spirit of Rwanda’s youth and make a meaningful contribution to the country’s digital economy, overall economic growth and job creation,” said Michael Mronz, Chairman of the Board at Westerwelle Foundation.

The Liquid Telecom Innovation Partnerships initiative was launched in 2017 and is aimed at supporting the growth of digital technology innovation across Africa. By bringing together key players from within the region’s innovation ecosystem, Liquid Telecom is helping technology companies originated and founded in Africa to scale through mutually beneficial partnerships. Under the Innovation Partnerships initiative, Liquid Telecom is providing start-ups in the region with connectivity and cloud-based services, and through Go Cloud – a new programme launched by Liquid Telecom and supported by Microsoft – is also raising awareness, adoption and usage of Azure Cloud across Africa.

The Westerwelle Foundation for International Understanding with headquarters in Berlin, Germany is a nonprofit organization. The foundation was established in 2013 by Dr. Guido Westerwelle, former German Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Ralph Dommermuth, CEO and Founder of United Internet AG. Its mission is to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in developing and emerging markets to foster economic development and job creation.

The Evonik Foundation with headquarters in Essen, Germany emerged in 2009 from the former Degussa Foundation. The social involvement of Evonik Industries AG, one of the world’s leading specialty chemicals companies, is bundled under the roof of the Evonik Foundation. The focus of the Evonik Foundation is on promoting education and science as well as on social projects.




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