When Pearl Umuhoza won 3.5 million interest-free loan in Bank of Kigali Urumuri Initiative, she could not hide the excitement .
The twenty-six-year-old entrepreneur applied with no hope that it would work out because she had not started anything. She just had an idea and decided to give it a shot.
While other entreprenuers pitched outstanding projects, she was not intimidated. She simply pitched her idea., the Yummy N Fresh Delivery firm that seeks to producing and deleivering special and healthy food.
“I knew how to do it, but I had never done it for other people as a business. It was a bit scary, I did not really know what to do it and how to start. But Inkomoko Ltd helped me make the right steps and to do the right things as a start-up,” she told Taarifa on Wednsaday evening at a cocktail event, while Bank announced winners of its Rwf60million interest free financing, in the BK Urumuri Initiative.
As part of activities to celebrate its 50th anniversary, Urumuri was unveiled, in April. Over 400 applications were received.
Fifty were shortlisted and went through a six-month business management course where they were trained on different aspects of managing a business.
Thirteen participants were selected for the semi-finals and pitched their projects before a panel of judges. Eight candidates were selected from the thirteen and each of them walked away with millions of cash to invest in their businesses.
Umuhoza said she is going buy new equipment, and hopefully secure a good location that is affordable because she believes it will be better to have an address where customers can come and look at what she does in one place.
However, Umuhoza is not the only winner.
Eric Joseph, founder of SafeMotors won Rwf11.7 million. He could not help conceal his happiness after winning as well. He plans to use the loan to buy more motorbikes to expand and generate more revenues.
“It has been a challenge for us to give good services to our customers and the drivers have been getting challenges owning bikes so we are giving them bikes to do their work which is actually good for our business,” he said.
Speaking at the official declaration of the winners, BK CEO, Diane Karusisi, who was the guest of honour, said that they started the initiative to help businesses and helped them grow to the level they are today.
“Over the past 50 years, if we have been able to grow, it is because of many entrepreneurs who have come to us over the years, who have partnered with us to grow businesses to create value not only for them but also for us. This is why we are successful,” Karusisi said.
She also said that every year, they will be receiving youngsters who have good business ideas, train them and to give them money.
Nathalie Niyonzima, Managing Director of Inkomoko business development said that they selected companies and innovations based on their clear investment plan, and whether they would create enough revenue that will continue to contribute to the growth of Rwanda.
“Regardless of the outcome for your specific businesses, we have all embarked on a journey together that is about contributing to the growth of Rwanda’s private sector and we need the journey towards prosperity for all Rwandans,” she said.
Urumuri initiative received over 400 applications, 50 of whom were shortlisted selected. Ultimately, eight of them who were confirmed eligible for the loan, walked away with millions of francs to support their businesses.
Meanwhile, the projects were selected based on the social impact they will create and BK plans to extend the program years ahead.
The eight winners hierarchically?
- SafeMotors: Rwf11,700,000
- PurePro Windshields: Rwf9,300,000
- Karisimbi Wines: Rwf9,000,000
- Mudacumura Publishing: Rwf8,000,000
- Wired In: Rwf8,000,000
- Murukali online: Rwf6,000,000
- DSIS&TIrrigation: 4,000,000
- Yummy & Fresh Delivery: 3,500,000