The Industry Innovation Lab (IIL) is a technology-focused startup hub at Carnegie Mellon University Africa. The IIL supports startups that are developing and commercializing technology-enabled products that address well-defined market opportunities with potential for profitability, inclusivity, and scaling.

The IIL runs a 12-month business incubation program exclusively focused on helping CMU-Africa students and alumni founders succeed with their entrepreneurial ventures. Startups entering the business incubation program have a proof-of-concept prototype for their product and a preliminary market assessment. The goal is for startups to leave the program with a revenue-generating product that is positioned to successfully compete for the additional investment they will need to scale. The IIL also manages a tech skills marketplace to provide world-class tech talent to African startups. This program helps startups hire CMU-Africa students as interns for May through August. Interns may work in person or virtually. CMU-Africa provides co-funding with the start-up to support the intern.

Three people on a stage

CMU-Africa Industry Innovation Lab incubatee and alumni startup, HOVA AI, secured second place at the 2023 Hanga Pitchfest in Kigali, Rwanda. The company, co-founded by Arsene Muhire (MSIT '23), provides real-time sales, inventory, and customer behavior data, as well as predictive analytics for small and medium-sized businesses in Africa. The win came with a $20,000 USD prize.

2023-2024 incubatees

Spiral logo

Spiral Tech: Delivers two energy metering products to detect energy theft and lower total cost of ownership of energy meters respectively. This will help micro utilities become more sustainable by maximizing their profitability and breaking even multiple years faster.

WeEducate logo

WeEducate: Offers personalized tutoring services for primary and secondary students in Rwanda. Aimed to provide customized learning materials to every student, tailored to their specific needs and delivered by expert tutors and industry professionals. Also provides real-time monitoring tools to assess students' progress and performance.

DFTR logo

DFTR: DFTR is a financial management tool that empowers small and informal businesses with effective management, improved access to finance, and increased accountability. With features such as daily transaction analysis, debt and credit tracking, debtors reminders, inventory tracking, and 7-day sales predictions based on machine learning.

Nora logo

NORA: Nora provides a convenient and accessible platform to users, offering a secure way to conduct financial transactions while leveraging data to enhance the overall customer experience. Nora allows users to send and receive money, pay bills, purchase goods and services, manage their finances, know their customers, broaden businesses' customers and access credit and insurance services on their mobile phones.

Watch a short video about IIL incubatee, Inter Connect Point

Get involved in the IIL

Contact us to get involved in the IIL. We welcome partnerships with organizations, corporations, and startups. You do not need to have a Carnegie Mellon affiliation.