Bank of Kigali has awarded the third cohort of Urumuri Initiative winners with Rwf 25 million interest free interest. The 6 awardees were selected among 25 entrepreneurs following six months incubation program offered by Inkomoko Business Development.
The Urumuri Initiative is an annual entrepreneurship competition organized by Bank of Kigali as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility aimed at helping local, small and medium enterprises to access interest-free loans and intensive business training.
After receiving hundreds of applications for the 3rd edition of BK Urumuri program in March 2019, 25 entrepreneurs were later selected in May with a chance of getting 0% interest loans from Bank of Kigali. 12 of them were picked to pitch their business ideas mid November 2019 after going through a series of trainings by Inkomoko Business Development.
The six winners were selected for outstanding projects promoting Made in Rwanda and employment. These include Kipepeo Kids, Nziza Igisura, Ishyo Foods Business Enterprise, Greenleaves Business Enterprise, Avo Health Business Enterprise and Amazon Nutrition Cabinet which won interest free loans ranging from Rwf 4 500 000, Rwf 4 250 000, Rwf 4 000 000.
The awarding ceremony that took place at Hotel de Mille Collines on Friday 22nd November 2019 was graced by Mr. Jonas Munyurangabo, the Director General in Charge of planning and Research at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM) and the CEO of BK. Dr. Diane Karusisi.
Dr. Diane Karusisi congratulated winners and wished them success in their future endeavors.
“We started this initiative because we believe in our people and business as a way to transform lives, economy and our country. That is why we believe in young people with business ideas,” she said.
Dr Karusisi explained that the third edition of BK Urumuri Initiative was launched because the bank attaches great importance to taking Made in Rwanda, an initiative started by MINICOM, to greater heights.
“Made in Rwanda works and wins. That is why we need to put more efforts in this initiative and especially in these young people who have great ideas because we believe they are going to be big businesses of the future,” she said.
“These businesses are going back home with a lot of hope do the right things because they have learnt a lot, during these six month training. We hope that this Made in Rwanda is our program to nurture, to grow and take our country to the next level,”emphasized Karusisi.
She encouraged winners to go back home with commitment to take small businesses to the next level and become medium, big and global businesses in the future and assured BK’s commitment to walk with them along business growth.
“You have us as support, have each other and should keep that network but I would like to reiterate that you have Bank of Kigali as a true partner throughout this journey. “assured Karusisi.
Nurturing business growth
Karusisi expressed optimism that the skills acquired are crucial for all beneficiaries of the business incubation program.
“We expect from winners and all who participated, to put in practice what they have studied within the six months. This is supposed to take their business to the next level,” she noted.
“We want those who have won the interest-free loan to start building relationship with the bank and when they come next time after growing their businesses, they will continue to be our clients as usual, and will continue to give training and mentorship programs for their businesses to thrive,” added Karusisi.
The 25 entrepreneurs that sat for six months program learnt to make products that meet needs of clients, were equipped with basic skills in accounting, business management and staff management and among other relevant skills for the rest if their life and their businesses.
Karusisi revealed that BK takes pride to have been supporting the noble cause of promoting Made in Rwanda initiative and start-ups considering the current progress of previous beneficiaries.
“They have grown revenues, expanded production and this gives us pride for the initiative. We will continue to walk with them, support them, advise and see how we can take them to the next level, “she affirmed.
“Many people have great ideas but if they are not put into businesses, well nurtured and managed, they are going to fail. We believe we have the responsibility as a bank and need to build a breed of future entrepreneurs,” added Karusisi.
BK CEO explained that 95% of previous beneficiaries are reimbursing the loan very well giving hope for the current batch.
Promoting Made in Rwanda
Mr. Jonas Munyurangabo, the Director General in Charge of planning and Research at MINICOM lauded Bank of Kigali for being among pioneers of Made in Rwanda promoters.
“We thank you for supporting Made in Rwanda and look forward to having many more benefiting from this support from BK which is strongly making possible the progress that we would like to see in the country,” he said.
“Made in Rwanda policy is becoming a reality and lo longer regarded as an inferior business. It is now yielding a lot of attention starting with the Government trying to walk the talk,” added Munyurangabo.
Access to finance, promotion of business support and advisory services are among promotional pillars of Made in Rwanda.
Munyurangabo extolled BK, Inkomoko partnership supporting the cause and reiterated the Government’s commitment in giving more assistance to entrepreneurs.
“We welcome the initiative which supports our existing programs to promote Made in Rwanda entrepreneurs. The policy is yielding, Rwandans are diversifying in different locally made products promising to compete globally, with high quality standard products, hence forth increasing income and paving the way for our vision to boost Rwandans livelihoods,” he said.
“We believe six winners and others acquired special knowledge to run business smoothly and take businesses further and promote employment among Rwandans,”added Munyurangabo.
According to Julienne Oyler, the CEO of Inkomoko Business Development,the 25 entrepreneurs were over the six months trained to improve their businesses so that they could be the next big companies in Rwanda over the next 50 years.
“We got 98 applications and selected 25 to come through Inkomoko program business incubation. It consisted of business advising, giving opportunities to speak to local financial experts and how to interact with customers,” she noted.
“12 entrepreneurs pitched for zero interest loan, we assembled a panel last week as experts from the bank, private sector federation, and from other industries who had a very focal decision of recommending six winners. Inkomoko is so pleased to be part of this partnership with the Bank of Kigali in collaboration with MINICOM and Made in Rwanda initiative,” she added.
Inkomoko CEO explained that eligible candidates were owners of Made in Rwanda businesses that can sustain themselves and grow, with full understanding of financial transactions, opportunities for business growth and promising to promote employment.
“This is our chance to invest in you but also your chance to prove not only to customer but to the country that your Made in Rwanda initiative has the same power to last,” she said.
She revealed that startups that were not selected for the interest free loan are not because they don’t have good business; but rather still need to understand customers, innovate. She assured them continued support along the way.
Winners speak out
Priscilla Ruzibuka, the Founder of Kipepeo Kids who won Rwf 4 250 000 interest-free loan considered it is an added value to her business in terms of expansion and increasing personnel.
“It was a great pleasure to be part of six winners of the 25 million interest free loan. It gives me hope and courage that what we are doing is worth investing and believe to expand the business operations, personnel, raw materials and machinery among others,” she said.
Jeremy Gisagara, the Founder and CEO of Green Leaves which has been in operations for two years and half focusing on agriculture infrastructure said: “The received interest-free loan adds to lessons acquired through the six month business incubation and will all be utilized to grow the business. I expect to boost profitability, increase personnel and make more affordable solutions.”
Who are the winners?
Kipepeo Kids won Rwf 4 250 000 interest free loan during BK Urumuri Initiative 2019. It is enterprise that was founded in 2016 by Priscilla Ruzibuka and is the very first children-clothing brand social enterprise in the country.
Nziza Igisura won Rwf 4 250 000 interest free loan during BK Urumuri Initiative 2019. Nziza Igisura was founded in 2017 by Janvière Ingabire. It uses a nettle plant (Igisura) to produce juice, wine, powder, and tea which they get from their own plantation.
Ishyo Foods Business Enterprise
Ishyo Foods Business Enterprise won Rwf 4 000 000 free interest loan. Founded by Akanyana Sharon early 2018, Ishyo Foods produces jam from different fruits such as tree tomato, strawberry and pineapples
Green Leaves Business Enterprise
GreenLeaves Business enterprise won Rwf 4 000 0000 free interest loan in the 3rd edition of BK Urumuri Initiative.
Green Leaves was founded in 2016 by Jeremy Gisagara. The goal of the business is to make affordable agriculture infrastructures like green houses and irrigation technologies using local Made in Rwandan products.
Avo Health Business Enterprise
Avo Health Business Enterprise won a Rwf 4 500 000 BK free interest loan. Avo Health is a business that makes natural avocado cooking oil started by Euphrosine Mugeni Niyidukunda in June 2017 and is based in Huye district.
Amazon Nutrition Cabinet
Amazon Nutrition Cabinet won Rwf 4 000 000 f BK free interest loan. Amazon Nutrition Cabinet was started in 2018 and is specialized in nutrition services, therapy and nutritious alternative foods.