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: December 11th 2020



Eligibility criteria


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

  • At least one CMU-Africa Mastercard Foundation Scholar or Scholar alumna/alumnus is a founder of the company 
  • 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 



Supported 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: Najua is a Machine Learning project under Hepta Analytics whose aim is to create NLP building blocks for digital products for local African languages including chatbots and language translation APIs for products and services catered to language preferences for African citizens.  They have developed a Swahili, Kinyarwanda, and English cross-lingual language models for translation, sentiment analysis, and intent/entity recognition. 


Second Life Storage: This company provides electric power to homes and businesses that do not receive the reliability they need from their grid connection.  The power is delivered as a service, backed by stationary energy storage units that are also maintained and monitored by the company, which takes waste lithium ion batteries as their feedstock for the energy storage. 



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 December 11th 2020.