Jean Claude Manirafasha

Defying COVID-19 odds and leveraging technology to help students secure internship opportunities

A 2015 graduate of the University of Rwanda, College of Science and Technology, formerly known as Kigali Institute of Science and Technology( KIST ), Jean Claude Manirafasha started his enterprise, Bright Future Contracting Company (BFCC), to offer technical training to university students, and link them towards opportunities.

Jean Claude Manirafasha is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at  Bright Future Contracting Company (BFCC), an engineering enterprise  that offers  technical training to university students and links them to internship opportunities. Jean Claude holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering.

Jean Claude founded Bright Future Contracting Company in 2015. The name BFCC was inspired by the  Kigali Institute of Science and Technology mission statement: “Towards a Bright Future” as a way to carry on the mission of his alma mater. In the beginning, BFCC offered engineering courses to strengthen student’s knowledge, and with time, the founder had the idea to expand the enterprise activities into providing services. Today, BFCC focuses on two main projects: 

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and forced schools to close, and restricted movements of people, Jean Claude sat down in his home, pondering how he could  support young people, especially students who were graduating or looking for internships in a time like this.  Jean Claude thought about an idea that could double down saving money and time, bridging the disconnect between students( job seekers) and companies. That is how the Africa Digital Internship Linkage initiative was born!

In December 2020, Jean Claude joined DOT Rwanda as part of the  DOTYouth Street Team Program- Cohort 2, along with other ten #DOTYouth in Rwanda who are leading COVID-19 community response and resilience efforts.  

“The three-month journey with DOT Rwanda changed me and my company a lot, as I started collaborating with like – minded peers. I was also matched with a business coach from DOT Rwanda, who helped me in the journey. At the start of the program, my coach guided me through SMART goal setting, which helped me to strengthen my confidence as a person and then as a social entrepreneur. It also helped me to stay organized with a clear mission and vision”, said Jean Claude.

“Through this program, I got the opportunity to expand my network  and to showcase to the public what I was building. DOT provided me with seed funds to scale up my initiative. As I was participating in the DOT’s programs, Africa Digital Internship Linkage’s visibility was raised significantly, and that’s when I started being trusted by many other  institutions. I was also able to reach more students and companies”, Jean Claude added.

For Jean Claude, what have been the main challenges running his initiative, especially in the time of the COVID-19, was securing the seed funds to kickstart his initiative, building partnerships and managing his business. But through the DOT Street Team Program, he gained skills that helped him to raise capital and manage resources, including people. 

“Right from the DOT Street Team Program, I was recognized  by the Ministry of Public Service and Labor (MIFOTRA) for my contribution to the promotion of work during COVID-19 Pandemic”.

Jean Claude Manirafasha (the first left) poses with Honorable, Fanfan Rwanyindo Kayirangwa, the Minister of Public Service and Labour

“Through DOT peers network, I also signed a partnership agreement with MFURA Foundation, an NGO founded by a fellow DOT Street Team member, to empower young teen mothers, help them re-integrate into the community by providing technical and life skills. Through the partnership, we have been working together, and we have so far built 39 kitchen gardens for teen mothers, to tackle challenges related to malnutrition”.

So far, over 200 students have signed up for internship opportunities through Jean Claude’s Africa Digital Internship Linkage platform of which 29 students have secured internships . Over the next three years, Jean Claude wants to forge new partnerships with at least 100 companies, which can host students for internships.  He also envisages the possibility of building partnerships with  education institutions such as the University of Rwanda, Rwanda Polytechnic, and Rwanda Development Board through the Skills Office, to expand the opportunities for students, and work closely with the Ministry of Youth and Culture in its YEGO Centers for the JOB Desk program, and showcasing the different opportunities available through the Africa Digital Internship Linkage. Jean Claude hopes to also attract more investors to his social enterprise and raise more capital to continue to build and scale his enterprise.