Our Entrepreneurs


Elizabeth Dearborn Hughes

Elizabeth moved to Rwanda in 2006 after graduating from Vanderbilt University. Shortly after arriving, she started a nonprofit to support an orphanage in Kigali. After witnessing the lack of opportunities for women in higher education and the workforce, Elizabeth developed the idea for the Akilah Institute with her husband Dave Hughes. Opened in 2010, the Akilah Institute is the only women’s college in Rwanda, and it offers accredited programs in Entrepreneurship, Information Systems, and Hospitality Management. Ninety percent of Akilah graduates launch their careers within 6 months of graduation and earn 12x the national median income. Akilah also has a campus in Burundi, which is temporarily closed due to the recent instability. Elizabeth has two daughters, Lorraine and Tamsyn.

MindSky is an online talent marketplace and recruitment platform for East Africa. MindSky streamlines the hiring process and helps employers identify top talent with the right skills for their positions. The applicant tracking system is designed for first-time software users and makes it easy and fun for employers to organize, filter, and assess their candidates. MindSky members receive personalized recommendations of exclusive career opportunities and professional development curriculum. Instead of getting lost in a stack of paper CVs, MindSky members apply for positions through the platform in a format that highlights their skills and competencies.