Gilbert Ishimwe joined Kepler in 2016 and completed his studies in 2018 before graduating in 2019.
“I’ve had an interesting journey with the Kepler program. Throughout the program, I learned a lot of skills, e.g. problem solving, project management, leadership, communication, and introduction to technology, but above all, I met great colleagues and friends,” said Ishimwe.
“My current occupation is in the field of product management in the solar industry, which is a role that strategically drives the development, market launch, continual support and improvement of a company’s products,” he added.
Ishimwe said approximately 13 percent of the world population does not have access to electricity and the majority are in the sub-Saharan Africa region and 3 billion people (40 percent of the world population don’t have access to clean cooking. He said that he sees his role as contributing to the company’s mission of eradicating energy poverty across Africa.
At Kepler, Ishimwe participated in the Hult-prize entrepreneurship competition and his team’s project won first prize.
“I was invited to the regional competition and emerged in the top six winners in the country. We’ve received a certificate of appreciation.”
Ishimwe said he did not know what he was passionate about but when he started working everything came together.
“I discovered my passion when I started working, but I can say that I am now doing something I am passionate about which is product management and operations,” he said.
He added that Kepler boosted his leadership skills in various ways.
“We used to have group activities through which I was able to help coordinate colleagues to get the work done. Moreover, Kepler allowed me to take responsibilities early on. I recall I was elected as a cohort student representative to link students with the school administration through the Students Government Association (SGA). Later, I was also hired as a teaching assistant through the work-study program and this elevated my confidence and leadership capacity,” he said
Ishimwe occasionally engages with students at Kepler and attends other student-oriented events. He has helped Kepler students to get internships and has been invited to speak about his journey thus far to inspire students.