The International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, West Africa
The International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE) attracts top engineering students from throughout Africa to study water and sanitation, energy, sustainable development, civil engineering, mining, and entrepreneurship. Many students arrive at 2iE with a keen sense of practical problems in their home communities that need creative technical solutions.
Within 2iE, the “Technopole” was established to support students in developing products and businesses capable of addressing pressing regional problems. The center has a staff of five professionals plus support staff who design and deliver a curriculum on socially responsible entrepreneurship.
Technopole emphasizes the development and commercialization of products that draw on local resources to contribute to sustainable regional development. It connects aspiring student entrepreneurs to business mentors, provides professional advice regarding intellectual property protection, partners students with key resources inside and outside 2iE, and brings students, businesses and non-profits together through sponsored entrepreneurship competitions.
2iE’s Entrepreneurship training programs are organized into three stages: mandatory courses, specific support in building out a business idea, and the incubation center.
2iE’s incubator is nourished by two competitions: the Entrepreneur Trail for 2iE students and the Green StartUp Challenge (GSUC) for external young innovators. In advance of each competition, participants receive training and mentoring in business plan development. Competition winners may be selected to join Technopole’s highly competitive incubation program. Upon acceptance, they receive several years of ongoing financial, legal and technical support. Click on the link to see current incubatees.