Westerwelle Startup House Kigali powered by Evonik Foundation officially opened!


On 1 October 2018 the Westerwelle Startup House Kigali powered by Evonik Foundation was officially opened.

On 1 October 2018 the Westerwelle Startup House Kigali powered by Evonik Foundation was officially opened. In cooperation with its partner the Evonik Stiftung the Foundation opened its Westerwelle Startup House Kigali powered by Evonik Stiftung on 1 October 2018. We will thereby foster economic growth for the region by supporting young entrepreneurs and creating new economic opportunities. The support by Evonik Stiftung is an important part of the overall strategy of the chemical company Evonik AG, Evonik already supports disadvantaged youth and refugees in Germany by providing them with vocational training and job opportunities. The company does now expand its engagement together with the Westerwelle Foundation in Africa. At a press conference in February 2017 the project was presented by Thomas Wessel, CHRO Evonik, and Michael Mronz, Chairman Westerwelle Foundation.

Among the over 100 guests were representatives from politics, business and civil society. The participation of Vincent Munyeshyaka, Minister of Trade and Industry of the government of Rwanda, showed how important the work of Westerwelle Foundation and the support of startups is for Rwanda and its economic policies. At the opening ceremony Mr Munyeshyaka emphasized that the aim of the Westerwelle Startup House powered by Evonik Foundation is in accordance with the intention of the government to support small and medium sizes companies. He also highlighted the longstanding and trustworthy partnership between Rwanda and Rhineland-Palatinate.

Besides politicians from Rwanda the Minister-President Malu Dreyer from the state of Rhinland-Palatinate also participated in the opening ceremony. Minister-President Dreyer also praised the longstanding partnership between Rhineland-Palatinate and Rwanda. Her participation also showed how important the startup ecoy-system of Africa is for Germany. Minister-President Dreyer stated: "I appreciate that Westerwelle Foundation and Evonik Foundation support entrepreneurs by realising their business ideas. Entrepreneurs hold great potential for the creation of jobs in Rwanda."

Thomas Wessel, Chief Human Resource Officer and Director of Evonik Industries, highlighted the importance of the Westerwelle Startup House powered by Evonik Foundation for offering not only traditional co-working services but serving especially for young entrepreneurs as a hub to gain practical and technical skills. He stressed how important it was for young people to have a good education, and that the Startup Haus in Kigali would do its part to support young people in Rwanda to gain practical and useful skills.

On over 1,200 m2 the Westerwelle Startup House offers not only 150 workplaces but also consulting and training packages. Since its soft-launch in August 2018 the Westerwelle Startup House has welcomed more than 80 associates from 21 different startups.

About Evonik Foundation

Evonik Foundation has its headquarters in Essen, Germany. It implements the social commitment of Evonik Industries, one of the world’s leading specialty chemicals companies. The charitable work of Evonik Foundation lies within education and science as well as social projects.

Media contacts:

Kai Meesters, Widdersdorfer Straße 190, 50825 Cologne (Germany), 0221 94 05 77 21 kai.meesters@mmpevent.de