Meet Pascal Ngurinzira, an ICT innovations’ trailblazer
Pascal Ngurinzira joined the MKUR Rwanda campus in January 2013 to study for a Bachelor in IT degree.
Immediately thereafter, he attended an android software development boot camp at the campus hosted by electronic giant Samsung and Zalego Institute of Technology and Innovation.
It sparked a success story that interweaves entrepreneurial and IT prowess.
While still a first year student, he developed his first Android app, which made more than 500 gospel songs available to users. That same year, Smart Africa organised a continental event dubbed ‘Transform Africa’ in Kigali, Rwanda.
Among other activities, the forum invited the continent’s young innovators to showcase their works and urged them to relentlessly pursue their dreams. Pascal was among them.
When the competition’s organisers announced the winners, he was delighted to be among the top five contestants.
“Transform Africa was one of the biggest ICT summits to be hosted in Africa,” says Pascal, revealing that a medical app he had developed won him the award. He founded his first company, PSW Developers soon thereafter.
“We were students at MKURR,” recalls Pascal who was the main developer and funder of the then nascent firm.
He acknowledged his inexperience in running an ICT firm. He therefore joined eVolve, a software firm and digital agency, for eight months for internship. While at the Rwanda branch of the UK firm eVolve, he gained more software development experience.
After that training, Pascal went on to develop a trading system for the Rwanda Stock Exchange. He was the project’s team leader and software developer.
“After developing that system, I became an ICT superstar,” enthuses Pascal, indicating that companies started looking for him.
In 2014, Pascal joined Appreciate, a Belgian firm based in Rwanda. The firm recruited him together with his friends.
“I gained more experience, especially on working methodologies,” the celebrated software developer remembers.
Pascal’s stay at Appreciate gave him the courage to venture into entrepreneurship – again.
He asked himself why he should continue working for others. Emboldened, he founded Raisin, a firm he still owns and runs.
He thereafter worked with Appreciate using Raisin. Pascal couldn’t believe that he could do so much. “I had no idea what my company could do, what it could achieve,” he says.
On analysing his firm’s capabilities, he realised that it could turn it into a fintech. That presented new opportunities.
Pascal developed a ticketing system for events, then another for public transport. All this while, he was still a student. Then he graduated in July 2015.
“Two months after graduating, I left Appreciate and signed a deal with MobiKash as head of IT.”
Pascal worked with the firm for one year. In 2018, he won ‘Face the gorilla’ competition. This earned him a trip to Israel, where he received additional business training as well a medal for ‘Best sustainable project’.
He won Hub Africa Rwanda competition in 2018 and represented his country in an ICT competition in Morocco. In 2019, Pascal represented Rwanda in the FinTech Abu Dhabi Rwanda 2019 competition. He was ranked among the top four in the ‘Emerging Markets Fintech in the MENA region’.
He says: “I am still pushing myself harder as I feel I am only doing a small percentage of what I am capable of doing.”