By The Inspirer reporter.
Genevieve Uwamariya, is one of the three-team young innovators that were crowned yesterday as the overall best innovators in innovate4industry hackathon that ended yesterday in Kigali.
The team that developed a prototype banana the ripening machine was among 37 teams which were selected to participate in the three-day hackathon organised by the National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA).
The hackathon sought to help young innovators invent solutions industries are faced with locally and beyond.
Young innovators have been in an intense the three-day competition, being mentored by experts from both public and private experts before they pitched their final projects to the jury that selected six best teams.
It was the three person-team from IPRC Tumba that won the best award thanks to their Banana Ripening Machine.
Dubbed “Smart Urwina” the machine use high technology to ripen banana faster, efficiently and with required hygiene by industries.
“We developed the banana ripening machine because we know that banana is one of the most grown plants in the country but people still use traditional way to have them ripen before making beer or juice from it,” Uwamariya told the New Times shortly winning the awards.
The 20-year-old, together with her age mates of whom one is a classmate worked on the project while the college and found it worth developing.
However, little did the team think of winning such an award.
“We are very excited, that we won this award is a surprise but it shows us that we did a good job, we developed our project dubbed “Smart Urwina “which is a banana ripening machine that uses high technology, it is fast, efficient and hygienic,” she said.
“We are happy that our project won and we are ready to develop it into a marketable product together with our college and NIRDA (the organisers of the Hackathon),” she added.
The three-person team was able to bag home Rwf2million and will along other five best teams have access to NIRDA’s STEM Lab to acquire more skills that would help them develop their product further, organisers echoed.
Five other teams won RWf1million each after their products were found very inspirational and promising as well.
The 3-day Hackathon, that attracted over 100 young innovators was organised by the National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industries on Friday,
Speaking during the closure of the hackathon the Minister for Trade and Industry, (MINICOM) Soraya Hakuziyaremye, said that Rwanda is embarked in an in-deep socio-economic transformation journey to achieve self- reliance and sustainable economic development.
“Industry, innovation and infrastructure is one of the sixteen (16) SDGs, and the Government is massively investing in building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation.” She said.
“I congratulate the winners and I encourage them to seize this opportunity and take their innovations to the next level, with an overall goal to reach large scale commercialization,” she added.
Kampeta Sayinzoga, NIRDA Director-General, said, young innovators had impressive and fantastic ideas that could become projects and businesses that can be used to boost made in Rwanda programme leading to industrial development in the country.
“The ideas from Young Innovators were fantastic and promising and as NIRDA, we are committed to working with other partners to ensure that young innovators are groomed and mentored to become business owners,” she said.
“The money is important but the three-month incubation programme will be more important,” she told them.
Winners will have a three-month innovation programme in the join NIRDA’s STEM Lab Box that would provide technical support to the projects that have been awarded.
Five other winners included Haute Baso, a project that makes clothes out of sugar cane wastes, Reusable Life Water recycling, Affinity Engineering that embarked on a journey for safe gas systems detector in case of any leakage, Others are Step Forward innovators gas technology also dealing with gas leakage and “Umurinzi BGM Company”.
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