Rwandan government starts process of putting in place a Startup Act

The Rwandan government has become the latest on the continent to start working on implementing a Startup Act, which it hopes will spur the development of the country’s tech-based services industry.

The aim is to establish a continent-leading startup ecosystem, and to legislate for this the Rwandan government has recruited the Innovation for Policy Foundation (i4Policy) to draft a national Startup Act.

i4Policy has been central to the development of other African Startup Acts, with a Tunisian act already in place and a Senegalese version set for implementation soon. The foundation’s Jon Stever told the latest episode of Disrupt Podcast that a Startup Act will soon go to parliament in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and related laws and decrees are being worked on or explored in almost 20 African countries.

In Rwanda, i4Policy will follow its usual method of launching a Policy Hackathon, The Policy Hackathon is a proven format for engaging entrepreneurial ecosystems constructively in policy reform dialogue, which will bring together important local founders and investors to ensure the Rwanda Startup Act is informed by their experiences building and growing businesses. 

It will be split into three sessions, with the first organised as a public webinar on Thursday, August 27 to introduce the Startup Act to inform the wider public about the reform initiative. The session will be live-streamed on the Ministry of ICT and Innovation Facebook page, with registration open here.

The second and third sessions (September 1 and 2) will target a cohort of 60 entrepreneurs, investors and service providers. Participants will be selected from amongst the attendees and registrants of the public webinar.

Stever explained to Disrupt Podcast the benefits of a Startup Act and how they were co-created and implemented.

“I don’t think any country needs a Startup Act, but I think all governments could benefit from one,” he said.

“We should think of it as a dialogue between the government and the startups within the ecosystem. The nice thing about a Startup Act is that it is big enough to bring the whole ecosystem together, because everyone has an interest in putting these reforms in place.”

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The latest episode of Disrupt Podcast is available now, featuring in-depth interviews with Stever as well as WorkPay co-founder Paul Kimani.

You can listen on SoundcloudSpotifyApple Podcasts, and all other podcasting platforms.

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