OC hosts ELE Rwanda Entrepreneurship Summit

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rwandan ambassador Mathilde Mukantabana and Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb are among the dignitaries appearing at an innovation and entrepreneurship conference at Oklahoma Christian University Aug. 2-3.

The second-annual Entrepreneurship Summit, organized by the Emerging Leaders and Entrepreneurs of Rwanda (ELE Rwanda), provides an opportunity for more than 200 college students, entrepreneurs, investors and leaders from the U.S. and abroad to connect and network.

Scheduled speakers include Michael Fairbanks, chief executive officer of Seven Fund, Dale Dawson, founder and CEO of Bridge2Rwanda, and TEDx speakers such as David Burkus, Nathan Mellor and Ken Parker. Parker, a 1983 OC graduate and member of OC’s Board of Trustees, is the CEO of NextThought, a collaborative educational technology company.

The conference will feature panel discussions, a symposium on innovation, interactive workshops by creativity experts, presentations by contestants in the ELE Rwanda Business Plan Competition, and exhibits showcasing innovative initiatives.

There also will be a cultural show with traditional dancing and performances by renowned Rwandan artists.

“The Summit is a converging point for young students and the Oklahoma community to engage in topics of creativity and innovation and how it can spur development,” said Timothy Kaboya, chief operating officer of ELE Rwanda.

Rwandan students at Oklahoma Christian University (OC) began ELE Rwanda in 2011 to improve youth innovation and entrepreneurship.

ELE Rwanda’s vision connects to the goal of the partnership between Rwanda and Oklahoma, which started in 2006 when Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Oklahoma Christian worked together to create OC’s Rwandan Presidential Scholars program.

Since that time, more than 100 of Rwanda’s brightest students have come to Oklahoma to pursue their undergraduate and graduate degrees at Oklahoma Christian.

“The participation of the Oklahoma community in the ELE Rwanda Summit will make a significant difference in the future of Rwanda,” said OC president emeritus Mike O’Neal.

ELE Rwanda has received numerous honors, including the 2012 Oklahoma Innovation Prize from Creative Oklahoma and Sandridge Energy and the Journal Record’s 2012 Creativity Award.

“Creative Oklahoma is so pleased to partner with ELE Rwanda on a wide spectrum of projects that encourage and advance creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship in both Oklahoma and Rwanda,” said Susan McCalmont, president of Creative Oklahoma. “The ELE Rwanda Entrepreneurship Summit is an important initiative bringing some of the most entrepreneurial minds together from both regions to learn how to generate ideas of value that can be translated into economic generators for the regions.”

Registration is open at http://www.elerwanda.com/about-10-register. Student discounts and corporate table sponsorships are available.

For more information, go to elerwanda.com.