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Rwanda Hosts The 5th Annual Intellectual Property Week Event in Africa

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Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in collaboration with World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) have organised the 5th Intellectual Property Week in Africa that is scheduled to run from June 24-28, 2019 in Rwanda .

The event, which enters its third day on Wednesday, started by focusing on research and development in institutions of higher learning such as universities and IPRCs within the country.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the event will put emphasis on highlighting the relevancy of Intellectual Property awareness in increasing the competitiveness of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’S).

Intellectual property contains two main categories; copy and related rights that cover artistic works, songs, literature, broadcasting rights. There is also industrial property, eg; logos, industrial designs.

The law that protects intellectual property was gazetted in 2019 in the country and it provides for protection and sanctions in case of infringement. However, that law is under review.

Speaking during the event, Richard Kayibanda, Registrar General at the Rwanda Development Board, cautioned individuals in the creative arts industry as well as innovators or researchers to always register their ideas or works quickly as failure to do so can easily allow fraudsters access their idea or information and register it first which would give them full ownership of the innovation.

News Source: The New Time 

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Funding and Raising Capital

100 Women To Win Funding of Up to $85,000 from Invest2Impact Competition

The competition is set to start on July 11 and end on November 13.

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100 women entrepreneurs from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia are set to get funding to the tune of up to $85,000 from a funding competition dubbed Invest2Impact.

Invest2Impact, an initiative from Graça Machel Trust in partnership with FinDev Canada and other finance institutions from the U.K., will see women from each of the participating countries compete for the fund. Only 20 women will be selected from each country.

The initiative was launched on Thursday at an event in Nairobi, Kenya where Graça Machel has visited tghe country to amplify women-led businesses.

Speaking during the event, Graca noted that the decision to focus on women entrepreneurs was made because of the significant contribution that they make to their economies.

“Empower a woman and a whole community will thrive, empowering women benefits everyone and is essential for communities to thrive. Research shows that increasing women’s involvement leads to improved financial management and more sustainable, thriving communities,” she said.

When women-led enterprises are empowered to achieve their full growth potential, they contribute to more job creation, enhanced regional trade, and spur more activity among budding entrepreneurs.

“Through our numerous engagements with women across the continent at the GraçaMachel Trust, we have witnessed the rise of African women who are not content running businesses for subsistence purposes only.

“Some are venturing into sectors that are traditionally male-dominated where their numbers are still small; some are bent on improving their technical knowledge and capacity to tackle even greater challenges impacting the business landscape; and some are engaging in regional trade to maximise their growth potential. The female segment cannot be generalised as ‘niche’ or ‘predictable’,” Mrs. Machel said.

Businesses whose focus are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals; seeking to reduce poverty, increase access to health and education services, reduce hunger and increase food security, promote gender equity, create decent working conditions for their employees and spur economic growth, have a greater chance of being considered for the funding.

Participating women will also benefit with business development services, mentorship programs, new networks and business visibility through partnerships.

To qualify, a business must be led by a woman or women owning at least half of the share-holding and have assets or revenues in excess of $50,000 (Sh5 million). The business must also have been in operation for at least three years and a minimum of five employees.

The Invest2Impact will categorize participants into four “tracks”: 2Xcelerate, 2Xcrowd, 2Xcapital and 2Xcatalyse.

25 finalists will compete for cash prizes of Ksh.8,749,900 ($85,000), recognition at a gala winner’s event and participation in the Invest2Impact funding readiness program.

For the 2Xcrowd track, 25 businesses will receive customized, tailored support and mentorship to implement an Africa or global crowdfunding strategy.

2Xcapital will see 25 applicants who are selected from the Invest2Impact participants benefit from access to funding programs. It is targeting smaller businesses that seek funding less than Ksh.308,700,000 ($3million).

In the final category, 2Xcatalyse, 25 female entrepreneurs will be selected to attend a major international expo, conference or event in their industry sector with sponsored travel, attendance fees and promotional material.

The Invest2Impact competition which will be on an online application portal will open to the public on Monday July 18 and will remain open to applicants for two months.

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International

20 Democrats Face Off on Wednesday and Thursday for the First Debate

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Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders

Kicking off the presidential race to 2020 in the United States, 20 candidates of the Democratic Party will descend on Miami on Wednesday and Thursday for the first Democratic presidential debate.

The debate will be held at Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida on Wednesday and Thursday night from 11pm Kenyan time.

The 20 candidates are expected to be grilled on all things policy, party and news of the day.

Due to the unusually high number of candidates, the DNC broke up the debate into two nights, and 10 candidates will participate on each night.

The face off serves as a microcosm for broader questions looming over the field, one chief among them: Should candidates attack each other more aggressively or focus their fire on President Donald Trump?

The two sets of debates provides the best opportunity for the candidates will to stand out from the rest and pick up some semblance of momentum headed into the summer and next round of debates next month.

After that, the Democratic National Committee will raise the threshold to qualify for the debates, making it even harder for candidates to make the cut.

To be among the 20 candidates appearing on the debate, one was to hit 1% support in three states or national polls approved by the DNC be among the most trusted and reliable. The other was to raise money from 65,000 unique donors, with a minimum of 200 in 20 different states.

On deciding who among the candidates was to appear on which night, candidates were split into two groups: those polling on average 2% or higher, and those with less support. The names were then picked randomly from each group to ensure a mix on both nights.

Several top contenders including former Vice President Joe Biden; Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Kamala Harris of California; and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg — will debate Thursday night, with Biden and Sanders at center stage. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, another in the top tier, will be center stage Wednesday night, alongside former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.

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Banks

Equity Bank Set to Open Branch in Ethiopia

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Equity Group has opened a representative office in Ethiopia as the country opens doors to its financial sector.

According to a statement issued by the bank on Thursday, Hassan Maalim will be in charge of the office located in Addis Ababa, and that is expected to be fully operational in July.

“Equity’s entry into Ethiopia is part of our phase two expansion in pursuit of our aspiration of being a Pan-African bank with a presence in 10 African countries by the end of the year. It will enable the bank to continue to scale up and unlock economies of scale especially in this era of digitization and virtualization of banking,” said Chief Executive Officer James Mwangi.

Equity Group becomes the second bank from Kenya to open a branch in Ethiopia, following after KCB Group that also set up a representative office in Addis.

The lender’s foray into Ethiopia will give it access to a total of 500 million customers in the half dozen markets in which it operates that include South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

The East African country has been working in conjunction with the World Bank to make its financial sector accessible to foreign investment.

This is in a bid to reverse a Marxist junta that had nationalized lenders four decades ago. Modernization of the country’s payment system and the establishment of a capital market are some of the major changes expected to take place.

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