Ten finalists entrepreneurs, selected from 174 applicants, have pitched their plans for scaling their businesses with a chance of securing an interest-free loan from the Bank of Kigali.
The BK Urumuri Pitch is an annual event organized in partnership with Inkomoko which selects emerging businesses for their innovative approaches to business to get interest free loans especially women and youth.
This year’s event was special in many ways with focus going to all sorts of businesses especially those affected by the COVID19 pandemic.
The pitch event, held this November 12, 2021 also two uncommon participants including: “La Fromagerie”- a business owned by Belgians who have invested in a cheese business with a focus on market expansion,
The other is “Byose Ni Bamboo” a group business founded by three teenagers in Kicukiro district; come on board to compete for funding chances to boost their business in bamboo crafts and training.
Through the BK Urumuri initiative, the selected businesses go through a rigorous 6-month incubation period where they receive training from Inkomoko on how to better understand and manage their businesses.
Participants gain skills on marketing of the business, and on how to take their business to the next level to ensure growth of their businesses.
All businesses participating in the initiative must be established, present strong social impact potential with replicability, scalability and sustainability as well as depict value proposition and innovation.
Gedeon Rukundo, Bank of Kigali’s Legal Manager and Subsidiaries Corporate Counsel said Bank of Kigali chooses to focus on innovative businesses that look to trigger a solution to Rwanda’s most pressing need for self-reliance, driving the country’s economic growth.
“We always encourage entrepreneurs to make good use of opportunities presented to them, such as the BK Urumuri Initiative. We are grateful for this continued partnership with Inkomoko to support innovative entrepreneurs from Rwanda’s fast-growing SME sector,” Rukundo said.
Inkomoko Managing Director, Teta Ndejuru expressed the organization’s excitement at this year’s quality of pitches from the entrepreneurs citing the diversity of sectors featured as well as their ability to innovate despite the challenges presented by COVID-19.
“We are grateful for this continued partnership with the Bank of Kigali to support innovative entrepreneurs from Rwanda’s fast-growing SME sector. This cohort has managed to pivot and innovate during and after these challenging times and we look forward to learning about their plans to scale, reach new markets, and create jobs. Inkomoko is committed to provide business advisory tools and services that facilitate the growth of Rwandan SMEs,” Ndejuru said.
Over the past five years, the BKUrumuri Initiative has fostered the growth of 125 entrepreneurs, with 60,000,000RWF provided in interest-free loans. Previous Urumuri winners include: Imagine We Rwanda, Sonia Mugabo, Mudacumura Publishing House, Weya Creations, Jotete Investment, House of Tayo, Ishyo Foods and Yummy & Fresh among others.
This year’s pitching competition took place at the Kigali Convention Center and the judging panel consisted of leaders in the business and finance ecosystem. The announcement of winners and awards ceremony will take place on 26 November 2021.
This year’s 10 final competitors, in which five will be announced on November 26, 2021, include:
Uwera Fashion: the enterprise manufactures and sells textile clothes made of thread.
Example Needs: the company produces and sells bio fertilizer and bio pesticides to farmers.
Gusa Ltd: the enterprise manufactures and sells wooden and metal furniture.
La Fromagerie: the company produces and sells a wide range of cheese.
Talia: the company produces and sells passion juice.
Indashyikirwa Mu bugeni: manufactures different sizes of baskets and other crafts.
Green Pack: the company produces biodegradable paper cups for the food and retail industry.
House of cakes: the company produces and sells cakes and also has a coffee shop.
KGL Flour: the company processes maize grains into maize flour
Byose Ni Bamboo: the company manufactures different products out of bamboo like lamp shades, vases, trays, chairs and tables.