By Emmanuel Ntirenganya
After finishing their studies at colleges, young graduates do not have jobs, “because college does not teach one how to go into a job, rather teaches them theoretical knowledge and confer to them a degree,” says Munish Gupta, Adviser for India-Rwanda Innovation Growth Programme.
“College teaches you theoretical physics, theoretical mathematics, theoretical economics,” he said.
Munish, who is also Vice President and International Coordinator at People of Indian Origin’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PIOCCI), said that India realized that “you need to skill the youth, you need to train the youth on how to turn an idea into a business.”
In fact, this achievement is realised through business incubation – an approach by which young entrepreneurs acquires skill development, training, and business mentoring.
Giving an experience from India’s adoption of business incubation model, he said that “In India, we have created 30 companies that have been able to scale from $1 million to $10 million each, in a year.”
As such businesses grew; he said, they also created jobs to other youths and improved the lives of their families.
India is the second largely populated country in the world – just after China, with over 1.32 billion people in 2016, as per data from World Bank, and United States Census Bureau.
On top of that, 65 percent of Indians are youth under 35 years of age, making it the first country to have highest youthful population in the world, according to Munish.
India’s economy has been growing at a rate of 7 percent over the last 20 years, and its overall Gross Domestic Product (DGP) amounted to US$2.264 trillion, meaning that every Indian earned an average of over US$1,709 (about Rwf1.3 million) per year as indicated by the World Bank’s 2016 data.
That individual income is higher compared to Rwanda, as on average, a Rwandan earned US$740 (about Rwf590,000) per year in 2016.
According to the fourth Integrated Households living Condition Survey (EICV4) carried out by the national Institute of Statistics of Rwanda in 2013/2014, unemployment rate was higher among Rwandan university graduates – at 13.5%.
Replicating the same model by setting up an incubation centre in Rwanda
The businessman said what Indian entities want to do with the Government of Rwanda is to create a model start-up incubation and innovation centre here in Rwanda.
Speaking about what the centre is going to do, he said it will have a three-step process.
The first which is called “Step,” will support fresh graduates from any college to nurture their business idea and start-up businesses.
“It doesn’t matter what degree you have. We will select some of those youths who are enterprising enough, we will give them some time to learn from us,” he said.
“We have a three-month programme, six month-programme, nine-month programme, [whereby we will] put them in a business environment, put them in a lab with business support and technical expertise. Every three months, we will have 25 or 30 youths coming out of our programme. They will be the entrepreneurs in Rwanda of the future,” he said.
The second programme, called “Keep”, is for small and medium entreprises (SMEs), which have just started.
Talking about how it will work, he gave an example of a young person who opens a shop and wants to fix cars but, he/she doesn’t understand the business.
“He doesn’t understand how much am I buying this part, what’s the real jack, can I get a mechanized machine, can I save time, can I bill less so that I get more business? He doesn’t understand a business; he is just a mechanic. He may remain a mechanic and still be earning very little money for the rest of his life.”
“We want to create an ecosystem whereby four, five, six or 10 people can work with you and then, you become a medium entreprise. That’s how you create jobs; that’s how you employ the youth, and that’s what triggers the economy,” he observed.
The third component called “Leap”, concerns businesses that started but they do not grow after years of existence. Such businesses could be agriculture, healthcare, selling grocery, or a pharmacy among others.
“Let say somebody is earning Rw10 million, or Rwf20 million a month but he has never been able to go beyond that. We want to make them understand that, look, technology and innovation can be brought into your business, certain business practices can be adopted from India and other parts of the world that will grow your business to the next level,” he explained.
Munish noted that without giving jobs and employment, training and skills to the youth of a country, the country cannot grow rich.