The Westerwelle Startup Haus has opened its doors in Kigali, offering co-working space, a makerspace, and training sessions to local entrepreneurs.
Launched by German organisations the Westerwelle Foundation and Evonik Foundation, the Startup Haus aims to provide a central meeting and support place for startups in Kigali, with a view to growing economic opportunities in Rwanda through entrepreneurship.
The Startup Haus covers 1,200 square metres of space – featuring a flexible co-working area with 150 desks, and a makerspace with a focus on product design and innovation. A range of workshops and training sessions will also be run from the hub.
Since its soft launch in August 2018, 21 startups with over 80 members have already joined the Startup Haus.
“When we announced our idea for the Startup Haus […] we had the idea to build a startup house with two different areas. We wanted to create a place where young founders are able to access all the shared services and technical equipment they need for the start-up of a new business. We also wanted to establish a place for young people aiming at developing their manual, technical and practical skills,” says Thomas Wessel, chief human resources officer and labor relations manager of Evonik Industries AG.
“Rwanda is a country full of opportunities. The Westerwelle Startup Haus Kigali powered by Evonik Foundation should function as a place where entrepreneurs can turn their business ideas into reality. We are convinced that the Startup Haus will become a central place for startups from Kigali and East Africa as well,” Michael Mronz, chairman of the Westerwelle Foundation says.
The Westerwelle Startup Haus Kigali officially opened its doors this week with an opening ceremony attended by over 100 guests, including Rwandan government officials, the private sector, and civil society.