Maria Mayanja: Upcycling and Kigali’s co-working spaces

Co-working spaces are a breeding ground for collaboration and new ideas, says Impact Hub Kigali’s managing director.

From the Series

Monica Umwari and Maria Mayanja founded Angaza, an upcycling initiative in the heart of Rwanda that creates one of a kind products from discarded materials. Angaza is Swahili for illuminate, and according to Mayanja, the aim of the initiative is to shed light on new concepts in Kigali.

The company turns advertising waste into bags, wallets and purses to show Rwandans that what was once waste can become something else. It also encourages consumers to reuse what they have.

Angaza is operated from a desk space at Impact Hub Kigali, a co-working space at which Mayanja is the managing director. In this interview, Mayanja explains the importance of working in a collective space where innovators from different industries share a creative hub.

“There’s bigger value in working together with other people even though they are doing something different,” she says. “It’s a breeding ground for collaboration.”

According to the New Times in Rwanda, the Impact Hub Kigali, opened in 2015 with a global Impact Hub network of 76 local innovation labs, business incubators and social enterprise community centres across the world.