Meet BK Urumuri Initiative’s interest-free loan winners

The winners and Bank of Kigali officials pose for a photo with their dummy cheques.

SafeMotos, tech start-up which developed an app that connects customers to safe moto taxi drivers, was biggest winner in the just-concluded BK Urumuri initiative competition walking away with Rwf11.7 million interest free loan, followed by PuroPro Windshields got Rwf9.3 million and Karisimbi Wines (Rwf9 million).

Mudacumura Publishing received Rwf8 million interest-free funding, DSIS&T Rwf4 million, while Yummy and Fresh Delivery got Rwf3.5 million, and Murukali Online bagged Rwf6 million.

Murukali Online proprietor (L) receives a dummy cheque of Rwf6 million from Karusisi. / Sam Ngendahimana The winners of the interest-free loans were announced on Wednesday evening. All the finalists went through a mentorship training conducted by Inkomoko before the benefiting enterprises were announced. The competition attracted more than 400 applicants when it opened in March 2017, but only 13 start-ups made the finals.

“Our task was to screen the applications and select the start-ups with diverse, ambitious and innovative projects, which have strong potential to grow into major players in Rwanda’s economy,” said Julienne Oyler, the Inkomoko chief executive.

The initiative is among several activities to mark Bank of Kigali’s 50th anniversary.

By conducting the contest and supporting innovative start-ups, the lender said it wanted to “trace its baby steps in 1966 in a symbolic way” by helping discover ideas with potential to be the ‘next big thing’ in the economy, according to Dr Diane Karusisi, the Bank of Kigali chief executive officer. Karusisi said the initiative was designed to help youth led start-ups access affordable finance.