Five outstanding women-led emerging local Small and Medium Enterprises (SME's) have been named the recipients of Bank of Kigali's Urumuri initiative organised in partnership with Inkomoko, a local business consulting firm.
Selected from a pool of 10 finalists, the top winners who walked away with Rwf5 million each were announced Tuesday, November 17.
BK Urumuri Initiative is an annual entrepreneurial competition that aims at supporting local SMEs to access interest-free financing and intensive business training, as part of the bank's corporate social responsibility.
According to the organisers, this year's competition, its fourth edition, brought together only women-led businesses across sectors of the economy.
Emmanuel Nkusi Batanage, the Bank's Company Secretary, noted that it was the first time the programme was designed for only women, whom he described as future big customers of the bank.
This year's competition attracted over 150 applications from various sectors such as Fashion, Media, Horticulture, Hospitality, Construction, Agri-business, and Light Manufacturing.
"Women-led businesses have for the previous three editions proven to be more efficient in terms of paying back their loans and also using the funds to expand their businesses, and that's what we based on while organising this year's competition," said Batenege, who also doubles as the Bank's Chief of Corporate Affairs.
"In general, impact assessment reports indicate that 70 per cent of those that benefit from this programme use the fund to expand their businesses at the same time our economy, which is our primary target," he added.
This year's competition attracted over 150 applications from various sectors such as Fashion, Media, Horticulture, Hospitality, Construction, Agri-business, and Light Manufacturing among others.
The fourth edition of BK Urumuri brought together only women-led businesses across sectors of the economy.
The Managing Director of Inkomoko, Nathalie Niyonzima, commended the entrepreneurs' resilience particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, which paralysed business operations.
"We are pleased and inspired by the resilience the women entrepreneurs have shown in operating in today's tough business environment."
"In partnership with BK, Urumuri is an opportunity for us to celebrate and honour the entrepreneurs who are job creators and who provide much needed products and services in our community."
According to Niyonzima, 125 Rwandan entrepreneurs have benefited from Inkomoko training and consulting services while 20 entrepreneurs have acquired interest-free loans from Bank of Kigali.
Similarly, Samuel Kamugisha, the Director-General of Industry promotion and Entrepreneurship Development at the Ministry of Trade and Industry congratulated the winners as he reminded them to maintain excellence on the entrepreneurship journey.
BK Urumuri Initiative is an annual entrepreneurial competition that aims at supporting local SMEs to access interest-free financing.
Aurore Mutesi, one of the winners and founder of Weya Creations Ltd, said, "What I like most about the program is that in the beginning, they conduct an assessment of your business, examine the gaps and challenges. This helped me identify the weaknesses of my business and how I can fix them."
"The road to winning this competition was demanding and competitive," she reiterated.
Who are the winners?
Work Roselynr Ltd
an agri-business leading the growing and production of rosella hibiscus. Besides flowers, the company makes juice and tea powder from the medicinal plant.
Jotete Investment Ltd
a fusion of horticulture and hospitality sectors. The company grows and exports flowers and uses the produce in interior design and decoration services.
Nova Leather Ltd
leather manufacturer and producer of jackets, belts, shoes, and bags also supplying other textiles companies across the country.
Exalto Engineering and Solutions Ltd
an agri-processing enterprise making whiskey, wine, and juice out of sugarcane with growing exports to Ivory Coast, Congo, and Tanzania.
Weya Creations Ltd
a fashion design business that produces clothes from denim for men, women, and children but eyeing mass production of undergarments.