Rwandan bank to give interest-free loans to startups

Rwandan bank to give interest-free loans to startups

Bank of Kigali head offices (Source: Triad Architects

By The New Times

Bank of Kigali has announced that 5 outstanding young entrepreneurs are set to receive interest-free loans at the end of a competition dubbed, Urumuri.

Urumuri initiative aims at discovering new ideas with potential businessmen and women to develop and broaden their business concepts.

So far there are 25 participants in the competition representing 25 emerging firms following a selection from over 100 applicants.

The participants are set to benefit from entrepreneurship training to boost their skills in growing further their businesses.

The selection criteria required enterprises to have been in operation for at least six months have a ‘made in Rwanda’ concept, have a social and environmental impact, bear potential to create jobs, be registered at the Rwanda Development Board.

The firms selected have operations in; environmentally friendly cooking stoves, natural liquid soaps, tiles, pumpkins products, production of undergarments chocolate production,  publication of children’s books, food products, bamboo bicycles and community-based tourism.

Others are involved in the production of organic manure, leather products, briquettes, banana beer, roasted coffee, bamboo furniture, avocado products, clothes, fashion design and detergents.

Speaking at the event, Bank of Kigali Chief Executive Dr Diane Karusisi said that there are lots of brilliant ideas and business concepts by young people which require support.

“We must invest in emerging young entrepreneurs for the future of this country to thrive. All young entrepreneurs who applied had bright ideas and this year we received more than 100 applicants for the support. I believe that 25 winners that were selected will make use of the upcoming six-month training on skills to grow their businesses”.

“We pledge that five top winners that will be selected after the training will be granted interest-free loans so that you grow your business and become our potential clients as you also develop yourself and the nation in general,” she added.

Rwf60 million loans of free interest rate were provided to top winners last year.

Innocent Mugisha, with Ibitekerezo Digital Art Ltd who is among the 25 participants said that publication of children’s books through different technologies supports education system in Rwanda to embrace telling Rwandan stories.

“We have staff who write stories, we design, do graphic design, publish and sell books. We also design animated videos. I hope that the six-month training will benefit us to share experiences and business skills,” he said.