The BAG Tale: How It All Started
As the famous saying goes, “behind every idea is an inspiring story.” For almost half a decade now, BAG Innovation has been writing its history and impacting university students all around Rwanda. From the beginning, BAG Innovation was driven by one sole vision of preparing the future African workforce for the job market. The idea behind the creation of BAG Innovation was born in the early months of 2017, and the company was established in May of the same year.
The Origin Of BAG Innovation
As brilliant entrepreneurs and owners of BAG, Yussouf and Gabriel found out significant challenges on the job market for companies to find a skilled workforce in Rwanda. The available labor was not equipped enough to find employment in the job market. At this realization, a big question arose; how is it possible that there are more than forty thousand undergraduate university students and two thousand postgraduate students in Rwanda, and yet businesses can not find skilled labor for their organization. Even worse, how is it possible that those said university students spend more than three years in school to graduate and find difficulty navigating the job market to find employment?
The most evident issue in the scenario was that those university students had the potential to provide skilled labor but were not trained enough to fit on the job market; their university curriculums are outdated and do not match what employers are looking for. With the passion for education and entrepreneurship, Yussouf and Gabriel set out to bridge that gap between what university students lack and what employers want by equipping university students with relevant on-demand job market skills and providing those trained talents to companies and organizations looking for them.
What Solutions Do We Provide?
In the early stage of BAG, the company acted as a consultancy service for students by engaging the youth in practical projects to upskill them and set them on their career journey. The programs offered helped students gain practical experience, understand the job market, get connections to the private sector, and access a large pool of employers networks.
In 2020, the business model shifted, and some concepts were redefined to accommodate more university students, reach more people all around Rwanda and make the impact far more remarkable. The bag.rw website was launched the same year with the intention of giving access to every university student and fresh graduate to our content online; this was perceived as a solution during the pandemic since the content was accessible remotely, and schools were closed.
The website was and is still the primary product offered by BAG to university students looking for practical and company seeking solutions for their business challenges or simply sourcing talents. Businesses and organizations create accounts, share business challenges (named cases on the website), access student responses, and get talents from the website for recruitment. University students get access to those real-life case scenarios from businesses and find efficient and workable solutions. The gamification feature incorporated on the website shows each user level, users’ progression, achievements for users to strive towards specific goals, missions for users to complete the expertise.
What We Offer At BAG
- Virtual Workshops: The online workshops are training sessions that engage in intensive discussion, activity on different subjects and projects. The purpose is to upskill students on crucial soft and technical skills that employers search for in candidates; it is also a way of helping students navigate the job market with the knowledge to start and grow in their careers.
- Virtual Internships: We offer a full one-month remote internship to students registered with us through our website. The program’s purpose is for the interns to gain some entry-level exposure to a particular industry or field; It is a learning experience that simulates a real work environment.
- Ambassador Program: This program is an inclusion and awareness campaign on university campuses all over Rwanda. Students from different campuses work with BAG to impact fellow students towards accessing BAG services by using our website, attending workshops and networking events.
- Talent Recruitment: We provide recruitment services to our partners all over Rwanda who are looking for talent ready for the job and possessing skills to excel in their area of expertise. Companies are given access to our trained talent that have undergone training from the BAG.
How Do We Measure Talent Readiness?
We track our users’ talent readiness through our gamification features. Students begin on Level 1 and progress through the platform, gaining experience, points, and rewards and moving up their levels. Students reach a level where they have completed all missions and
As a result, one of our major performance indicators is the number of students who have improved their platform level, which shows us how many have improved their market readiness score due to using our services.
We are most proud of the fact that we have influenced more than 8000 students and significantly impacted the Rwandan workforce. We’ve placed over 600 students in employment and various income-generating possibilities, which was fantastic. We work with over 170 firms to aid them with talent acquisition while also offering multiple statistics to help them build their business. We’ve also presented BAG in several other countries and won a few awards. We were named the top ed-tech company in East Africa by Ed-Tech Ex Global, received the “Best Innovation” award from the Private Sector Federation, and won the MEST competition here in Rwanda 2020.
At BAG Innovation, we pride ourselves in knowing that these university students have a big shot at landing their dream job and fitting on the job market after using our gamified platform.
The Long Term Visions
Our long-term goals are to have more than 80% of university students already using our platform and ensure that they can quickly and easily secure a job or internship after graduation. Since we’re working in the education sector, the long-term goal for our business is to use the data we collect on our platform to influence some of the teaching materials in different universities and schools. Our services will be extended to universities and organizations in the education sector to access career development materials at their convenience. We also envision scaling up our services to other countries in East-African in the few years to come.