Industry Innovation Lab

Carnegie Mellon University Africa (CMU-Africa) Industry Innovation Lab (IIL) aims to help CMU-Africa students, graduates and other entrepreneurs in the innovation ecosystem to accelerate product development, launch their companies, and grow their businesses. We work with industry partners, 4th Industrial Revolution Technologies, and CMU's global community of faculty, staff, alumni and students CMU-Africa’s IIL. We seek to develop new innovations that result in new products, services, joint ventures, spin-offs, as well as new startup companies.

We welcome innovative ideas that are based on exciting technologies in collaboration with industry partners. Organizations, corporations and startups can get involved with the IIL in various ways and are welcome to get in touch by writing to us.

Application Information

We are now accepting applications into the IIL. APPLY HERE

Deadline: July 12th, 2021

Eligibility criteria

IIL supported projects are selected based upon resources available and include the following criteria:

  • Must have registered the company and have a certificate
  • Should have at least one CMU-Africa student/alumna/alumnus in a leadership position
  • Alignment with the missions of CMU-Africa and the Government of Rwanda Proof of Concept Hub Strategy
  • Must solve a tangible, economically viable, Pan-African problem
  • Must have substantial effort invested prior to acceptance into the IIL which includes an analysis of competitors, alternatives, and substitutes to your proposed product or service

Support given to entrepreneurs projects receive

  • $10,000 USD of credit and training from Amazon Web Services
  • Salaries/stipends for eligible founding teams – as per funds available
  • Office space and facilities on campus at CMU-Africa 
  • Business and technical development support – from faculty, staff, and other identified resources
  • Access to CMU’s Global Mentorship Network 
  • Ability to use CMU IIL brand, and participation in events and marketing
  • Support for onward fundraising & funding
  • Additional support and services as they become available

Projects currently supported by IIL

Inter Connect Point: Agri-Tech and Agri-Industry process automation company with a focus on delivering innovative solutions leveraging the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) in Africa. They have developed a tea “eNose” and analytics platform, which supplements current tea processing procedures using low power sensor devices and a data analytics engine to determine optimum levels of tea processing to:

  • Increase tea quality and consistency
  • Increase incomes and regularity of payments to processors and farmers
  • Improve tea factory design

Watch their pitch video

Hepta Analytics: Their solution Keza, is an electronic platform that facilitates catalogue management customer journey management via a virtual Artificial intelligent system and 360-degree analytics for SMEs in Africa without them needing to learn about technology or underlying frameworks. This includes both SMEs in urban and rural areas. SMEs would only need to plug and play enabling their visibility and connection to the rest of the African continent through our network of trusted partners such as logistic companies and addressing companies in Africa. Currently focused on chatbots as a service for companies. Piloting solution with 1 food business in Rwanda (Ballistic Burgers) 

Second Life Storage: Second Life Storage (SLS) is a purpose-driven company tackling the challenge of e-waste with the goal of building customized energy storage systems from used lithium-ion batteries to provide secondary energy to homes and businesses that do not receive the reliability they need from their grid connection.

By extending the lifespan of the battery cells through repurposed battery packs, SLS offers clean, reliable, and affordable energy. The company hopes to apply data science and logistical system design to not only produce energy storage at low cost, but also address maintenance and supply chain anxieties of customers through a service model. 

Aurora Tech: Aurora aims to transform and disrupt logistics in Africa by providing a platform with state-of-the-art technology powered by AI and machine learning. Aurora connects Shippers (importers and exporters) and Carriers (truckers and freight-forwarders) with an open market model that allows the shippers to request bids, have alternative routes or carriers (vetted), facilitate payment, and most importantly ability to track the status of the shipment at the comfort of their smartphones. Carriers also have similar opportunities to bid for shipment, tracking, locating and fuel monitoring, ability to easily manage and pick up loads, guarantee payments, and facilitate operations.

Frequently asked questions

What if I have a corporation or startup that doesn’t yet have a CMU-Africa affiliation?

We can consider assisting you by linking you with students and alumni for further consideration


How long do you provide support for startups?

We anticipate supporting startups for 12 months or less if we are able to help them secure funding.


Where is your location?

Our Industry Innovation Lab is inside of the CMU-Africa campus in Kigali Innovation City.


How can I apply to receive support?

By filling out this application form before July 12, 2021.