February 9, 2021

Give us a little introduction, who are you? What do you do? Spill the tea!

My name is Elie Habimana from Kigali, Rwanda. I am a project manager with a background in operations. I am the Director of Operations for Norrsken Kigali. My role now is to support the Norrsken House construction efforts, then later, spearhead the establishment of systems and processes that will help us to offer a seamless experience to our partners and entrepreneurs in the region.

Ahh come on… you must not work all the time. What do you do when you get a day off?

I actually do work all the time… :D

I was a shy teenager. When I was 16, one of our family friends gave us a guitar. My brother and I convinced our parents to pay for guitar classes that summer. Music quickly sparked the confidence I needed then and it became my way to unplug. I no longer play as much as I used to but I sometimes dust off the old guitar and jam. Beyond music, however, you will find me watching standup comedy shows.

We usually say we get good s**t done. What’s your biggest brag?

My dream at a young age was to be an engineer. I took a different path in school but somehow through my work I’ve had the opportunities to be involved in construction projects, and I love it. I recently led the construction of a $16m university campus in Kigali under 12 months, despite COVID-19 interruptions.

What makes you excited about Norrsken expanding to Kigali?

Stockholm is one of the largest “factories” of some of the most famous unicorns in Europe such as Spotify, Skype, Klarna, etc. Clearly, there must be a “special sauce” that can be replicated. Kigali as an emerging hub for innovation in East Africa can benefit from partners such as Norrsken that have catalyzed efforts like this on a large scale. Norrsken House Kigali will be a place where rock stars gather, where meaningful conversations happen, and where partnerships are forged. That is exciting!

What do you think will be key to making the most impact?

Impact will take time, resources and commitment. Norrsken is taking a long term view that can be already seen through the building of the Norrsken House in the city centre of Kigali.  Additionally, solving big challenges will require a collective approach. We will work with entrepreneurs, other players in the entrepreneurial system, and partners in the public and private sector.

We don’t expect you to have an answer, but we are curious about your utopia. What will the world look like in 2050?

I am optimistic about the future: from prominent space travel, to slowing aging, and life in perfect harmony with nature. More importantly, for Africa, technology could turbo-charge solutions to grand challenges such as education, job creation, and health care; to name a few.

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