Creating Africa’s largest hub for entrepreneurship with the Norrsken Foundation in Kigali, Rwanda

Norrsken House Kigali will be a haven for start-ups, incubators, accelerators and venture capitalists in Rwanda’s capital city, enabling entrepreneurs to discuss and quickly develop inclusive solutions to Africa’s most pressing socioeconomic issues.

We have been appointed by the Norrsken Foundation to provide project management services on the second phase of the Norrsken House Kigali project. This is the third ‘House’ in the Norrsken Foundation’s global network, following entrepreneurship hubs in Stockholm and Barcelona, and it is located at the centre of Rwanda’s capital. 

Key to the success of this phased project has been preserving the historic structure of the École Belge, which is one of the oldest international schools in Rwanda and has since relocated to a new premises. 

The first phase of Norrsken House Kigali, which is now complete, involved repurposing three existing classrooms and constructing a new main building and outdoor pergola. This phase required the reinforcement of the existing low-strength masonry walls and foundations, which date back to 1965, as well as deconstructing and reusing various building materials for site benches, feature walls and pathways. 

Our scope of works for the second phase will entail the construction of an additional building to further develop the ecosystem of entrepreneurship at Norrsken House Kigali. 

The new building will provide entrepreneurs with additional state-of-the-art communication facilities, such as small, soundproofed phone booths, as well as flexible collaborative spaces, such as conference and workshop rooms, and indoor and outdoor event spaces. 

Norrsken House Kigali will serve as a regional model for green building development. The facility is aiming for an EDGE Advanced certification, which means its buildings will have 40 percent or more on-site energy savings, and a solar photovoltaic system will cover its roof to help maximise energy independence. Clay-shaded façades and natural ventilation will provide temperature control and ventilation, and the incorporation of a thermal labyrinth, a pioneering sustainable cooling system, will reduce energy demands. 

Our appointment to Norrsken House Kigali follows our contribution to the successful delivery of the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, also located in Rwanda.  

Derrick Nkera, Associate Director said:

Shifting from aid to investment is key to spurring economic development and entrepreneurship in East Africa, and our work on Norrsken House Kigali will contribute to expanding the ecosystem to help start-ups grow efficiently and shape the story of our continent.