Urumuri by Bank of Kigali
As part of the Bank of Kigali’s corporate social-responsibility initiatives, we use a dedicated portion of the bank’s operational budget towards interventions in the form of interest-free loans, support and guidance to the best startups in Rwanda.
Urumuri represents a partnership between Inkomoko Entrepreneur Development and the Bank of Kigali through the bank’s corporate social responsibility projects. It provides interest-free loans to SMEs in Rwanda and also works with businesses to create strategies, assist with training and advise on best practices.
Urumuri’s main aim is to aid youth-led startups and help the continued development of Rwanda’s economy. Startups generally need a comprehensive track record to receive funding, but, through Urumuri, people with bright ideas but no business experience are given an opportunity to realize their concept. By helping businesses grow from the outset, Urumuri is able to provide guidance that mitigates risk and supports success. The investor has supported startups in many industries, from tech-led and ideas-based initiatives to more traditional businesses that meet a gap
in the market. An example is House of Tayo, which started making bow ties and grew to become a bespoke suit shop with a brick-and-mortar location as well as an ecommerce platform. An Urumuri loan allowed the company to scale and employ more people, from tailors to accountants, and to accept various forms of digital payment. Ishyo Foods, which produces jam from local fruits, is another success story.
Urumuri selects which startups to support through a competitive format. When it launched in 2017, it received four hundred applicants, of which only thirteen were chosen for consideration. Selected companies go through a boot camp of sorts, where they are coached on how to pitch and present their business to investors, before winning candidates are assigned interest-free loans and individual support.
Have an in-depth understanding of your business and its industry.
We’re looking for startups whose founders are knowledgeable about the ecosystem, value chain and industry within which they operate.
Have an innovative idea.
We want ideas that are genuinely new, that aim to solve problems or fill a gap in the market. We’re seeking to support businesses that will have a meaningful and major impact on their industry.
Be open to adopting technology in your business model.
Technology is an asset in the growth of a business, and we’re looking for people who are able to adapt and utilize it to transform their business.
Be passionate about your ideas and bold about where you want to take them.
We’re looking for future leaders of their industries: businesspeople who are able to take calculated risks and who show passion and integrity in their business practices.
Main Photo by Igihe Ltd