Press release
Middle East and Africa
October 7, 2018

The Opening of Westerwelle Startup Haus in Rwanda Powered by Evonik Foundation

The Westerwelle Startup Haus Programme supports young local entrepreneurs

“We wanted to create a place where young founders are able to access all the shared services and technical equipment they need for the start-up of a new business. We also wanted to establish a place for young people aiming at developing their manual, technical and practical skills” said Thomas Wessel, Chief Human Resources Officer of Evonik Industries.

Michael Mronz, chairman of the Westerwelle Foundation, Malu Dreyer, Minister-President of Rhineland-Palatinate,
Vincent Munyeshyaka, Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Rwanda and Thomas Wessel attended the official opening ceremony on Monday, October 1, 2018. As a part of the inauguration, the new establishment conducted two days of workshops including a panel discussion with key stakeholders.

The aim of Westerwelle Startup Haus Programme is to support young local entrepreneurs, thereby helping to create more economic opportunities in Africa in the long run. The programme was conceptualised in 2014 and a year later the first Westerwelle Startup Haus was opened in Tunisia.

“Evonik operated in the Middle East and Africa for over 50 years now and we are committed to this region. Therefore, it is only natural that the Evonik Foundation contributes to those communities that we work in and help develop them” said Hendrik Schoenfelder, President for Evonik Middle East and Africa.

Located next to the Kigali Convention Centre, the Startup Haus is offering flexible co-working space and a maker space with a focus on product design and innovation. That facility also offers events, workshops and trainings that cater to the needs of entrepreneurs but also to people interested in learning new skills.

About Evonik

Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The focus on more specialty businesses, customer-orientated innovative prowess and a trustful and performance-oriented corporate culture form the heart of Evonik’s corporate strategy. They are the lever for profitable growth and a sustained increase in the value of the company. Evonik benefits specifically from its customer proximity and leading market positions. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world with more than 36,000 employees. In fiscal 2017, the enterprise generated sales of €14.4 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of €2.36 billion.