The Bank of Kigali (BK) has launched the third edition of the interest-free loans to at least five selected existing business enterprises with each getting Rwf25million in the Urumuri business competition 2019.
The edition was announced this Wednesday morning March 6, 2019 at a press briefing, and with business application and registration, in English and Kinyarwanda language, starting immediately and running through till March 31st.
The funding provided by BK will enable small business (smes) in various business sectors to improve their made-in Rwanda products so as to increase locally made products, export capacity and create jobs in the short and long terms.
“This is almost free money but we are expecting the beneficiaries to be able to grow their business and increase locally made in Rwanda products but also lower price of the products on market and expand the realm of local products beyond crafts and clothing lines,” said Thierry Nshuti, Head of Marketing.
BK expects to benefit from the competition by engaging the successful beneficiaries to open and use accounts with the bank, which will in turn enhance the bank’s outreach and access to financial services, according to Nshuti.
Each of the beneficiaries will be selected out of the 25 applicants after going through a six month business skills and marketing strategy training from Inkomoko- a Rwandan business empowerment organization.
“We previously got some applications from rural areas like Rubavu district but this time we want to see more participants from these areas of Rwanda. The competition is tight but there is more to benefit in skills and business development,” said Nathalie Niyonzima, the Managing Director of Inkomoko.
In the meantime each of the winners of the funding programme will be expected to service the loans with terms and payment agreed upon, by BK and depending on the kind of business operation.
So far 14 companies have been funded in the Urumuri competition which started two years ago, of which most of the business have either created more jobs or been empowered in adding capital investment to be able to break even.
One of the beneficiaries is Yummy an online fresh food and fruits selling point founded by Pearl Umuhoza, who started small using her own home equipment and selling the products personally door to door.
Umuhoza has to date been able to employ six support staff including a qualified chef, but also break even from her initial investment of Rwf200,000 to Rwf3.5 in the last six months after being part of winners in the second edition, last year.
“I was not able to employ personnel that I needed and had to do all the work by myself. But now I have invested in more employees to handle delivery orders, and hire a branding company to make our products known,” Umuhoza said.
She shares almost the same experience with Alain Kajangwe, founder of WiredIn, a software development company that now hires and pay insurance for at least 15 employees coming from working alone while establishing the business.