Rwanda To Launch CAD File Conversion Company with Help From SolidWorks

CONCORD, Mass.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—April 2, 2007— Capitalizing on the growing pool of skilled engineers in Rwanda, the country's technology ministries are teaming with two major science and technology schools and SolidWorks Corporation to launch a company that will convert 2D data into 3D models efficiently and affordably. Called Gasabo 3D Design, Ltd., the venture will provide fast, accurate file conversion as a service, enabling SolidWorks customers to leverage their existing 2D design data without having to do it in-house.

Rwanda has experienced a re-birth, fueled in part by an ambitious science and technology capacity building program launched by President Paul Kagame who has said, "The application of science and technology is fundamental, and indeed indispensable, to the social and economic transformation of our countries... It is about applying science and technology holistically - in all levels of education and training, in commercializing ideas, in developing business and quickening the pace of wealth-creation and employment-generation, in enabling government to provide better services, and indeed, in providing basic tools to society at large for self- and collective betterment."

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curricula are playing a critical role as schools across the country are graduating more engineers, in line with its vision of building a knowledge-driven economy. Gasabo 3D Design, Ltd. is a joint venture between the Rwanda Information Technology Authority (RITA) on behalf of Rwanda's technology ministries, the Ecole Technique Officielle (ETO) Gitarama high school, and the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST).

SolidWorks Corporation is providing software and business expertise to launch and grow a startup company. More importantly, the company will also provide the hands-on 3D CAD software training to teach STEM principles and ignite engineering enthusiasm. Gasabo 3D Design, Ltd. expects to begin converting 2D drawings into 3D models by Q3 2007.

Accelerating Product Development and Repair

Converting 2D files to 3D solid models can be expensive and tedious for large manufacturers with tens of thousands of product drawings. Paper Converting Machine Company manufactures machines that produce a variety of paper products, including tissue, newsprint, embossed paper, etc. The company has 10,000 machines deployed worldwide, and allocates 50 percent of its budget on service and retrofit projects.

"Our machines last a long time. Some of them have been deployed for 87 years," said Thad Perkins, director of CAD systems at PCMC. "Many of our designs reside in 2D drawings, but converting them to 3D models is expensive and time-consuming. By outsourcing the conversion, we save about two-thirds of the cost of doing it in-house. From a resource standpoint, it's like adding 10 people to my staff, which enables us to be more responsive to our customers' needs and provides us with the opportunity to accelerate investments in new technology. We're able to develop equipment we might not have been able to develop, and sell equipment we might not have been able to sell. Gasabo 3D Design, Ltd. will help companies like us secure a competitive position in the global marketplace."

SolidWorks' involvement in the project is the latest in a series of efforts aimed at helping rebuild Rwanda's infrastructure. The company has donated software and staff time to train teachers on how to use SolidWorks to promote STEM education with the goal of increasing the country's engineering population.

"This partnership is really a testament to Rwanda's resilience in the face of devastating circumstances," said SolidWorks CEO John McEleney. "Gasabo 3D Design Ltd. will provide large manufacturers a cost-effective and fast way to convert vital 2D files into accurate 3D models they'll be able to modify, machine, and build upon to meet customer needs. That efficiency will help companies stay agile, so they can design better products and excel in a global economy."

About Gasabo 3D Design Ltd.

Gasabo 3D Design Ltd. is a registered Rwanda company. The company will initially convert 2D data to 3D solid models, however as the skills base matures, the company plans to move to higher skill work within the product design field. The company has the aim of being a SolidWorks centre of excellence on the African continent.

About the Rwandan Information Technology Authority (RITA)

RITA has been established by the Government of Rwanda in recognition of the importance of ICT for the economic and social development of Rwanda. RITA's role is to manage the implementation of ICT programs throughout all sectors of the Rwandan economy in support of economic growth and poverty reduction.

About Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST)

KIST was officially inaugurated in 1998 as the first public technological institute of higher learning in Rwanda. KIST aims to contribute to Rwanda's economic renewal through the creation of highly skilled manpower. It seeks to become a regional centre offering courses in science, technology and management; carrying out extensive research activities and knowledge dissemination; and providing technical assistance and services to all sections of the community.

About ETO Gitarama

ETO Gitarama is a secondary technical school located in the Southern province of Rwanda. The school has about 400 students, and it was established in November 2002.

About SolidWorks Corporation

SolidWorks Corporation, a Dassault Systemes S.A. (Nasdaq: DASTY, Euronext Paris: #13065, DSY.PA) company, develops and markets software for design, analysis, and product data management. It is the leading supplier of 3D CAD technology, giving teams intuitive, high-performing software that helps them design better products. For the latest news, information, or an online demonstration, visit the company's Web site (www.solidworks.com) or call 1-800-693-9000 (outside of North America, call +1-978-371-5000).

SolidWorks is a registered trademark of SolidWorks Corporation. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective owners. Copyright (c) 2007 SolidWorks Corporation.

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