Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

IWPR Grant Awards for Rwanda Creative Industries

"We were always looking for someone who would invest in us and grow with us," grantee says.

After the biggest applications round yet, the Rwanda Creative Hub has announced 13 new grant awards.

Launched a year ago, the Rwanda Creative Hub serves as an accelerator for businesses in media, ICT and the arts. Its mission is to help Rwandan start-ups grow into thriving businesses that generate income and employment opportunities.

Grantees receive seed funding of up to 20,000 US dollars, office space and equipment, plus mentoring to help them make the most of their businesses.

The latest round was extremely competitive, with 175 applications received. This is the third round of grant awards by the Creative Hub, and brings the total number of awards to 27.

One of the winners this time is Huza Press, a publishing house that promotes Rwandan authors.

“Usually a publishing house is an idea that is associated with big budgets,” said Louise Umutoni of Huza Press. “Lots of people did not think we could make it by starting with a limited budget and growing from there. We were always looking for someone who believed in humble beginnings, who would invest in us and grow with us. To us, that someone is Rwanda Creative Hub, and from here we can give local writers a platform to share their inspiration.”

Another is production company Legacy 45, a previous grantee which we are continuing to support as it produces the innovative breakfast TV show Rise and Shine.

Samples Studio, a company that helps improve technical standards in Rwandan filmmaking, was awarded funding on its second attempt.

The studio’s Richard Mugwaneza said that after being turned down in the second round, we “came to see [the Creative Hub manager] and he told us we were trying to do too much and our idea sounded a bit vague. We reapplied for the third round with a much better application.”

“With this grant, we want to help professionalise the Rwandan film industry,” Mugwaneza continued. “In years to come, our children will not know a bad Rwandan movie, since there will be none.”

The awards ceremony was attended by Olivia Kabatesi from the Rwanda Governance Board, which has been a strong supporter of the Creative Hub, as well as by Netherlands Ambassador Leoni Cuelenaere and Swedish Charge d’Affairs Maria Håkansson.

For more information about the winners and the project generally, see the Rwanda Creative Hub website.

The Rwanda Creative Hub is always looking for businesspeople from the creative industries who are interested in donating their time and expertise to mentor grantees. Anyone interested in being a mentor can contact aloys@iwpr.net.

Here is a complete list of winners in the third grant awards round:

1. Agasaro Publishing Ltd, for a print magazine aimed at female entrepreneurs;

2. Cyuda Ltd – digital applications to help farmers get market information and communicate with one another;

3. EA Production Ltd –media production house with a talk-show format;

4. E-Aunt Initiative Ltd – an anonymous sexual health information line for young people;

5. Glocal Dubbing Ltd – dubbing foreign-language television and films into Kinyarwanda and Kiswahili;

6. H Magazine – interior design magazine;

7. Istayconnected LLC – a school management and communications system for teachers and pupils;

8. Huza Press – publishing house that supports Rwandan literature;

9. Legacy 45 – TV production company producing Rise and Shine Rwanda;

10. LycaMedia, for an online platform where students can practice for national exams;

11. Mago Media – a regional news agency providing stories from Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo;

12. Markets Merger Ltd, for a mobile application allowing expat Rwandans to pay airtime, tuition fees and utility bills for dependents in the country;

13. Samples Studio – a post-production house that re-edits, retints and remixes locally produced films to improve their quality.

The Rwanda Creative Hub is funded by the Netherlands Embassy and the Swedish Embassy to Rwanda. It is part of IWPR’s wider programme work to support ongoing media reforms in Rwanda.

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