Six outstanding Rwandan entrepreneurs have won the Bank of Kigali’s Urumuri initiative interest-free loans organised in partnership with Inkomoko Entrepreneur Development, a local business consulting firm.
BK Urumuri is an interest free financing initiative that is aimed at enabling small and medium enterprises in Rwanda to become financially able so as to grow and impact on the country’s economy.
For the last five years, Bank of Kigali has committed to supporting the next generation of local entrepreneurs as a cornerstone of their mission.
The bank offers these companies the financial support they need to reach their full potential after they have gone through a rigorous six-month accelerator program with Inkomoko.
The year’s winners, who walked away with a total of Rwf25 million, were selected in a highly competitive interest-free loan competition which initially attracted 174 enterprises. Only ten finalists were selected this month.
Applicants hails from various sectors such as Fashion, Hospitality, Agri-business and Manufacturing among others.
The edition comes with an additional winner (Miss Innovation in 2021 Miss Rwanda beauty pageant- Teta Hense Musana) added to the usual five winners who have received the same award.
At Miss Rwanda 2021 finals Musana (contestant No.18), representing the City of Kigali, presented a project on producing environmentally friendly paper cups, not only for Rwanda but also the region.
The Bank of Kigali, the premium sponsor of the Miss Rwanda 2021 competition committed to finance the project and pay a consultant to support the winner to execute the project, which is expected to make a difference in society.
Musana, the additional winner of this opportunity said she has invested the money in purchasing machines for manufacturing in her fashion project, which she pitched at the beauty pageant.
“Bank of Kigali and Inkomoko has enabled my business and I have also been able to acquire skills to make my dream come true,” Musana said.
Delphine Uwera, founder of Byose Ni Bamboo, and one of the youngest ever in the Urumuri competition said that winning the competition will enable her to grow slowly but steadly.
“I didn’t ask for a lot of money because I need to be able to manage it well so that I can in future use that experience to grow,” Uwera said.
Emmanuel Nkusi Batanage, Bank of Kigali’s Head of Corporate Affairs and Company Secretary, said the initiative is a milestone which started as an ideal, however in 2017 when the bank started the vision to financially transform lives they are looking beyond making profits to supporting entrepreneurs to stay relevant.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit nearly every business. Through BK Urumuri Initiative, Bank of Kigali together with Inkomoko continue to provide capacity building assistance to entrepreneurs so that they can be uniquely positioned in the transformation of our economy and support the livelihoods of many,” Batanage said.
Jonas Munyurangabo, the Director Planning and Evaluation in Ministry of Trade (Minicom) said they want solution providers among entrepreneurs who can start small but with potential to grow big into billionaires in the ecosystem that we are trying to create now.
“We want to see more and more entrepreneurs which means that the Bank of Kigali and Inkomoko have a lot to do just as the winners also have to ensure that this financing turns from millions to billionaires,” Munyurangabo said.
Munyurangabo promised to create a conducive environment for business and so that they can flourish, create jobs and later pay back to enable government to create an ecosystem of skills development, human capital development and entrepreneurship.