Ministry of Youth, UNDP and the European Union Join Efforts to Launch Aguka, a New Initiative to Unleash the Potential of Youth-led Businesses in Rwanda

Press Release

May 10, 2023

Aguka, a vehicle aimed at empowering #youth-led businesses is launched

Ministry of Youth


Ministry of Youth, UNDP and the European Union Join Efforts to Launch Aguka, a New Initiative to Unleash the Potential of Youth-led Businesses in Rwanda

Kigali, Rwanda - May 10th, 2023: The Ministry of Youth, UNDP and the European Union have come together to launch Aguka, a 4-year innovative programme aimed at unleashing the potential of youth-led businesses in Rwanda.

The programme that will tun till 2026 will provide comprehensive support to young entrepreneurs, from ideation to business expansion, ultimately contributing to the creation of jobs and opportunities for young Rwandans, contributing to the private sector development and the socioeconomic transformation of the nation. The programme aims to impact directly 6,600 youth led businesses (both girls and boys) with adequate skills, seed funding and exposure that will contribute to boost youth employability and potentially create more than 100,000 jobs1 for their peers.

During the full journey from ideation to pre-incubation, incubation, and post-incubation, the programme will offer services to youth-led micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, including access to finance, advanced business development training, mentorship, networking, investment, and market linkages. The goal is for the young entrepreneurs to develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the competitive business landscape, and to encourage them to become leaders and innovators in their sectors.

Hon. Utumatwishima Jean Nepo Abdallah, Rwanda’s Minister of Youth said, “As we celebrate the remarkable achievements of several impactful initiatives that are supporting young entrepreneurs across our partners, we recognize that our collective efforts are contributing to the desired transformation of our nation. The Aguka programme has been launched to further propel the results of existing initiatives such as YouthConnekt and to support the building of a comprehensive spectrum of youth-led enterprise development. We are grateful for the support of the European Union, UNDP, and other strategic stakeholders in this endeavour.”

Ms. Belén Calvo Uyarra, Ambassador of the European Union to Rwanda, said, “Our cooperation will focus on addressing post-incubation gaps, such as a lack of technical, management, and financial support for innovative start-ups. The European Union will continue working together with the Rwandan entrepreneurs’ ecosystem in responding effectively to the high expectations of emerging entrepreneurs”.

The job creation estimates (100,000 in 4 years) have been calculated by benchmarking from the data of recent tracer studies specifically considering the number of jobs created by entrepreneurs individually and their survival rate, in addition to specific interventions that the project will introduce to reach a large number of beneficiaries as well as ensuring their sustainability and growth.

To ensure effective implementation, the programme signed partnership agreements with the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Norrsken and African Management Institute (AMI). Through their flagship entrepreneurship programme, TEF will empower 1,600 young Rwandans over the next four years. This will include training in entrepreneurship, seed funding for the young entrepreneurs, and one-on-one mentorship by experts nationwide. The partnership will target 50% of young women. Under the partnership with Norrsken and AMI, 100 advanced youth-led SMEs will receive post-incubation support, involving entrepreneurship capacity building, financial start-up support, business mentorship and investments.

Mr. Maxwell Gomera, UNDP’s Resident Representative in Rwanda said, “The partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the private sector will directly benefit Rwandan youth, fostering business development and expansion. These businesses, led by a new generation of entrepreneurs, will create jobs and livelihood opportunities. UNDP is committed to empowering young individuals and positioning them at the forefront of Rwanda's development journey.”

Mr. Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, the Chief Executive Officer of Tony Elumelu Foundation said, “The Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme was developed on the principle that the economic empowerment of African youth is pivotal to economic growth and sustainable development across the African continent, and we believe that this partnership will move us closer to our shared vision to support African youth through entrepreneurship by creating sustainable opportunities for transformative development across the continent.”

Malik Shaffy, Rwanda Country Manager of African Management Institute said, “Our partnership with the Aguka Programme together with Norrsken foundation is providing advanced mentorship to selected youth-led SMEs identified from YouthConnekt and Hanga Pitchfest programs. Through an intensive program involving entrepreneurship capacity building, financial start-up support, one-on-one mentorship, and access to investment opportunities, we're empowering these entrepreneurs to succeed.”

The programme builds on the synergies with the YouthConnekt initiative and the national youth SMEs and start-up ecosystem, including incubation hubs and national business development initiatives. The programme will leverage complementarities with existing initiatives and create a new crop of innovative enterprises that will radically boost Rwanda’s socioeconomic progress and can be scaled up across Africa.

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Ministry of YouthUNDPEuropean Union
Murindabigwi Eric IvanImmy MulekateteFlora Kaitesi
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About Ministry of Youth: The Ministry of Youth is a Central Government Institution mandated to create an enabling environment for youth socio- economic empowerment, as the foundation for national transformation. For more details, visit

About UNDP: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustices of poverty, inequality and climate change. Working with a broad network of experts and partners in over 170 countries, UNDP helps nations to build integrated and lasting solutions for people and planet. UNDP is committed to addressing the youth unemployment and underemployment challenge through equipping youth with vocational skills, increasing the competitiveness of youth within the labour market, building capacities of national institutions to mainstream youth employment, and supporting youth-led enterprises to pilot and scale innovative ideas.For more details, visit

About EU: The European Union (EU) is a supranational political and economic union of 27 member states in Europe, which have conferred certain policy-making powers to the Union, while retaining others. Through the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the EU has developed a role in external relations and defence. It maintains permanent diplomatic missions throughout the world and represents itself at the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G7 and the G20. The EU’s foreign and security policy, as well as political dialogue between the EU and Rwanda are conducted by the High Representative and the Commission, represented in Rwanda by the EU Delegation. Regular political and sector dialogues covering the whole breadth and depth of the relationship provide platforms for discussing respective policy priorities and reforms and underpin EU development assistance in support of these. The European Union (EU) and Rwanda have a long-standing partnership focusing on promoting global governance and cooperation in international institutions, promoting sustainable and inclusive development of Rwanda, as well as increasing trade and investment between the parties. For more details, visit

About Tony Elumelu Foundation: The objective of the Tony Elumelu Foundation is to empower women and men across Africa, catalysing economic growth, driving poverty eradication, and ensuring job creation. We believe the private sector’s role is critical for Africa’s development and that the private sector must create both social and economic wealth. Founded by African investor and philanthropist, Tony O. Elumelu, the Foundation is active in all 54 African countries. Our mission is implemented through our programmes, research, communities, advocacy and convenings, including the annual TEF Forum, the largest gathering of entrepreneurs in Africa, and TEFConnect, Africa’s digital hub for entrepreneurs. The Foundation leverages its strong relationships in the public, private and development sectors to drive its mission of creating prosperity for all. In 2015, the Foundation launched the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, a $100 million commitment by Tony Elumelu to empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs over 10 years. Thus far, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has trained, mentored, and funded over 15,847 young African entrepreneurs across all 54 African countries through its Entrepreneurship Programmes, and provides capacity-building support, advisory and market linkages to over 1 million Africans through its digital networking platform, TEFConnect. For more details, visit

About Norrsken House: Norrsken is a non-religious, non-profit foundation, founded in 2016. We believe that entrepreneurs building rapidly scalable businesses are our best bet at solving some of the hardest and biggest problems in the world. Our mission is to support them on every step of that journey. We do that by connecting founders with capital, knowledge, world-class working facilities and a global network of exceptional individuals and organizations. Norrsken house Kigali is the biggest Africa’s Hub for entrepreneurship. Registered as a private sector, Norrsken Kigali house is an impact ecosystem where entrepreneurs can find everything, they need to make saving the world their business. For more details, visit

About Africa Management Institute (AMI): AMI enables ambitious businesses across Africa to thrive through practical tools and training. We equip entrepreneurs with tools to build their businesses, help companies train their teams, and run work readiness programs for young people starting their careers. AMI’s programs combine online and mobile tools with in-person workshops and on-the-job practice and support. AMI has worked with a range of businesses and organizations to support entrepreneurs and managers build and grow their businesses across Africa including Uber, Nestle, Radisson Blu, Mastercard Foundation, USAID, Shell Foundation, and Equity Bank. AMI has directly trained over 27,000 people in 30+ countries through more than 100 programs. AMI has offices in Nairobi-Kenya, Kigali-Rwanda, and Johannesburg-South Africa. For more details, visit