Carnegie Mellon University - Africa
Competitive Salary
Apr 28, 2021
Position Type
Executive, Other Executive
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Job title


Reports to

 Executive Director of CMU-Africa

Start Date

 June 1st 2021


 Kigali, Rwanda

Job Purpose

Carnegie Mellon University is seeking a Director of Entrepreneurship and Industry Partnerships to build a robust ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship as a core component of strategic focus or its location in Rwanda, Carnegie Mellon University Africa (CMU-Africa). This role is responsible for creating alignment across CMU-Africa and industry partners that supports entrepreneurship and job growth in Africa’s technology sectors. They will lead, guide and direct the alignment and direction of the institution’s start-up community, capital/funding sources and business support organizations. In addition, this position will collaborate with various academic leaders at the institution to strengthen entrepreneurship education and training for students and other relevant stakeholders. This role will collaborate with several other department heads such as government relations, development, knowledge creation, education partnerships, research, etc. in ensuring a cohesive institutional relation strategy and engagement. 

About Carnegie Mellon University

Established out of a partnership between Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the Government of Rwanda, CMU-Africa is addressing the critical shortage of high-quality engineering talent required to accelerate the economic development and digital transformation of Africa—home to the fastest growing workforce in the world.  CMU-Africa was established in 2011 and is the only U.S. research university offering its master’s degrees with full-time faculty, staff and operations in Africa. CMU’s presence in Rwanda provides a platform to engage in Africa’s most significant opportunities and challenges across the continent through world-class education and contextually relevant research.

Our vision is to educate and empower the next generation of African leaders and innovators by delivering a world-class educational experience. CMU-Africa’s mission is to produce creative and technically strong engineers, who have been trained in the African context, and prepared to make transformative impact in their communities and the world.

We are a fast-growing campus with about 150 enrolled students, aiming to grow to 400 in the next couple of years.  Our size and exponential growth create a sense of camaraderie and excitement, with strong community ties and a compound sense of accomplishment in our team members, contributing towards mutually beneficial relationships between staff and students. 

The role

As CMU-Africa’s Director of Entrepreneurship and Industry Partnerships, you will be a key leader and technical advisor, assisting entrepreneurs with business assessment, customer discovery, capital access, talent acquisition, space selection, strategic introductions, and peer-to-peer networking. You will also be responsible for the ongoing management of the business incubator (Industry Innovation Lab) and oversee the business development manager and program manager. The scope of responsibilities will include, but not be limited to:


  • Convene an Alliance spanning Industry, Government, and Academic affiliates, bringing together leaders in the ICT sector, alongside micro, small and medium sized businesses (MSMEs) from target countries.
  • Integrate proven practices in university-based entrepreneurship and technology commercialization across Alliance partner universities, especially for marginalized populations
  • Collaborate with relevant departments to establish a forum for discussion among key Industry-Government-Academic Affiliates
  • Collaborate with academic leaders to develop and expand access to university-based entrepreneurship training, with intentional focus on marginalized populations
  • Expand connections between the global digital technology economy and African innovators
  • Expand connections to industry, government, and other employers through meetings, collaborations on engineering research projects, student practica and internships in support of job creation and work readiness
  • Support students and faculty at CMU Africa and other partner universities in moving more ideas to the marketplace, especially those relevant to local economic development and job creation
  • Increase number of startups within the CMU Africa incubator (Industry Innovation Lab), particularly those addressing local challenges and creating local jobs
  • Build long term relationships and create strategic alliances with a variety of stakeholders within the startup community. 
  • Encourage the intentional focus of the impact of applying entrepreneurial principals to all the demographic groups and industries in the region. 
  • Support development efforts to include grant writing to strengthen resources for the entrepreneurial ecosystem. 
  • Track, promote, and report progress on the implementation of corresponding goals.
  • Convene investor events and programs to address ways to expand access to investment funding for startups May also be required to be involved in certain other duties and projects as assigned relative to other department functions and institutional activities



  • A Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration or other relevant field required, Master’s Degree preferred  5 – 8 years of leadership experience in start-up to early-stage environment Fluency in both spoken and written English and French a bonus


  • Strong passion for entrepreneurs and the ecosystem that supports start-ups regionally and globally Prior leadership experience in a start-up, early-stage company of a nonprofit organization.
  • Possess a strong entrepreneurial spirit and embraces “out of the box” thinking
  • Self-starter with the ability to think strategically, tactically and creatively withing a lean and dynamic organization with limited direction
  • Excellent convener and facilitator, demonstrated coalition building skills with the ability to communicate and work effectively with a variety of internal and external stakeholders.
  • A persuasive negotiator with the ability to achieve consensus among a diverse group of individuals and differing opinions
  • Outstanding project management, analytic, organization and problem-solving skills which support and enable sound decision making
  • Strong presentation and communication skills with a varied audience in addition to being able to build and sustain professional relationships and partnerships.

To Apply

Send your CV and cover letter to  Please use the subject header “Director of Entrepreneurship and Industry Partnerships” and be sure to highlight relevant experience and your goal in applying for this position.  

****Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis*****