Women in ICT

With the rise of African women in sectors of IT, Engineering and Innovation.  We take a look at how Clarisse Iribagiza started HeHe Labs, a software developing company and how it’s driving Rwanda’s tech industry.

                        Photo credits: http://ur.ac.rw/?q=node/298                                      (Clarisse Iribagiza)

HeHe labs is a Rwandan mobile technology research and innovation hub that was co-founded by Clarisse Iribagiza in 2010.  It offers mobile solutions for different sectors such as healthcare and infrastructure.

At 22 years, Clarisse started venturing into business when she had just joined college. It was right after she had completed an incubation program that took place at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It’s at that program where she realised that she could actually create something back home since she had just acquired knowledge from leading experts in IT.

After carefully studying the market and seeing how Rwanda needed IT professionals and innovators, she co-founded HeHe Labs in 2010. A mobile technology research and innovation center that offers mobile solutions to various sectors like agriculture and healthcare.

Through their website, the company has facilitated interaction between 70+ medium enterprises and their clients in different places at the same time.

HeHe labs managed to launch a tech start-up network called iHills in 2011, a platform that provides mentoring, financing and markets for tech start-ups in Rwanda.  

The company also built an Uber-like app in Uganda for motorbikes.  Its main focus was safety since many of the motorbike drivers don’t have helmets and drive recklessly. HeHe labs trains over 50 partner motor drivers in road safety, good customer care delivery and also equips them with safety gear.

Since many young people who are interested in IT wanted to join HeHe. They started a training program for high school graduates where students get a chance to develop apps and create websites.

           Photo credits: http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2014-12-06/183747/

Clarisse has been recognized for her outstanding work and how she is empowering the youth to dream big and work to achieve their goals. In 2013 the Rwandan First Lady awarded her the CYRWA (Celebrating young Rwandan achievers} award.

            Photo credits: http://www.madeinlimburg.be/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/hehe-labs.jpg

In 2014, LSDP (Lo Spazio della politica) named her among the top 100 global thinkers.

 She was also named by Forbes Magazine among Africa’s promising young entrepreneurs in 2015.

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