Zambian President, Hakainde Hichilema, wants the exact concept of Rwanda’s Norrsken House established in his country in the quickest time possible.
Hichilema expressed his wish on Wednesday, June 21, as he toured Norrsken House and challenged Rwandan officials to work within the framework of south-south cooperation and have the concept extended to his country.
He cited that he was impressed with what the local and international startups had achieved from the hub.
President Hichilema made the remarks after touring the facility that is currently home to over 1000 start-ups, incubators, accelerators, investors, lawyers, accountants, and different other corporations.
Following his tour, Hichilema said that he was informed about Rwanda’s decision to expand Norrsken hub beyond the country.
“The next stop should be Zambia,” he said, adding that he had already initiated talks with officials including the Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire.
President, Hakainde Hichilema flanked by Minister of ICT and Innovation Paula Ingabire during a guided tour of Norrsken House in Kigali
Established in 2019, Norrsken House Kigali, an entrepreneurship and innovation hub aims at giving Rwandan start-ups a platform to exchange ideas and knowledge, as well as generate innovative ideas that help grow their business ideas.
Data from the hub indicate that in the first quarter of 2023, startups within Norrsken have raised more than $30 million. That is in spite of a 67 per cent reduction in funding for startups globally.
This, President Hichilema argued, makes case for Zambia’s startups and entrepreneurs to build and grow their businesses.
“Technology is the way to go. We thought that it was an independent sector but now we know that technology is a platform for all the sectors,” he said, adding that, “I think it is important that we realize that we can’t avoid technology in anything we do.”
Rwanda is positioning itself to be a proof of concept hub, said Minister of ICT and Innovation Paula Ingabire.
“We are nurturing entrepreneurs and startups that are really solving global challenges, solving for African challenges, and that diversity of teams is really what has enabled us to build solutions, not just for Rwanda, but for Africa and the world.”
Minister Ingabire pointed out that Norrsken fit into the country’s vision.
“As we aspire to be a digital economy, startups, innovators are going to be very central to driving our country at an accelerated growth rate.”
In Norrsken, “you’ll see a set of entrepreneurs and startups and a set of entrepreneur support organizations that really work hand in hand with the startups, helping them to model their businesses to make sure that they have a great market fit when they do get to the market.”
“So we look forward to hearing more from the startups, hearing from you, but also forging very strong ties and synergies with Zambia as we think about building solutions for problems and challenges that we share across the continent,” she added.
Delegates follow President, Hakainde Hichilema’s remarks as he gives his key notes at Norrsken in Kigali.
Hichilema expressed his wish as he toured Norrsken House and challenged Rwandan officials to work within the framework of south-south cooperation and have the concept extended to his country.