The week consisted of two entrepreneurship training’s and two very different experiences. The first training session was a two day workshop with the Bridge to Rwanda scholars program, a collection of the brightest high school seniors in Rwanda, and surrounding east African nations. A picture of the students of the previous graduating class wearing the shirts of the colleges they were accepted to was littered with the likes of Yale, Harvard, and Dartmouth. Needless to say I was nervous about teaching these students, but as we started our icebreakers and training modules that fear melted away. This group was amazing, they were eager to learn about entrepreneurship and quickly absorbed the information they were given. Students were lead through a Human Centered Design training where they learned to consider the needs of the customer before creating a product. Many of them came up with ideas for sustainable businesses that had positive effects on their communities.
The second training was at the University of Agriculture and Medicine at Musanze, in the northern province of Rwanda (about a 2 ½ hour drive from Kigali). It was very difficult to say the least, many of the students did not speak English very well and we were met by many blank stares at times when presenting material. It was nearly impossible to facilitate discussions with the students as they were nervous about speaking English. However many of them created business ideas and from examining what they wrote down during exercises it was obvious they had learned from the training. It lasted two days and by the end a few students had nearly complete business plans. The vast majority of the plans related to Agriculture and helping the poor farmers of their region improve their lives through advanced farming techniques.