Eight businesses are set to benefit from Bank of Kigali's 'Urumuri Initiative,' designed to facilitate select entrepreneurs to access interest-free credit to help them grow their businesses.
This was announced, yesterday, in Remera, Kigali, where the bank started a mentorship training that will see selected 50 individuals or group entrepreneurs equipped with business skills for seven months.
BK announced the Rwf60-million interest-free loan in partnership with Inkomoko Business Development as part of the bank's plan to continue supporting the entrepreneurship ecosystem as it celebrates 50 years of service.
"We are marking 50 years of serving Rwandans. We looked at what else we can do to continue contributing to the sustainable development, and so we came up with this Urumuri Initiative to facilitate the entrepreneurs to access credit," Dr Diane Karusisi, the chief executive, said.
Karusisi added that throughout the period of training, they hope entrepreneurs will be able to understand the principles of business, business management, accounting, financing, and market.
Many banks are reluctant to consider giving start-up loans because they don't have track records or credit records. Also, some individuals are at times scared of using loans in starting businesses since this seems a risky decision.
"Entrepreneurs say starting a business or even expanding one with a loan is risky. But this is because most upcoming businesses don't have efficient skills. We hope that we will be able to learn more about how to generate income so that we can be able to pay back," said Jean Baptiste Nyabyenda, the head of Yeejo, an online storytelling platform.
Assoumpta Uwamariya, an entreprenuer, said she would use the money to expand her beetroot wine production business.
"I started small with only Rwf20,000 from personal investments, but today I'm doing quite good. Getting an interest-free loan would help me set up a small factory," she said.
For Karusisi, banking with these businesses will enable them keep their track records but also use it as a way to ensure they pay back the money.
She said BK will be giving the select businesses advisory services on how to generate more income.
Julienne Oyler, the chief executive of Inkomoko, said more than 350 applications were received and only 50 businesses were selected after three rounds of vetting to come up with the finalists who will have a chance to access the mentorship training.
Oyler said 29 businesses are technology-based, 11 in agro-processing, and the rest are from other sectors.
At least 28 people have existing businesses, while 22 have new ideas.