A group of 12 budding entrepreneurs presented their business ideas for interest-free loans in a heightened contest during the 7th edition of the BK Urumuri Initiative. On Thursday, November 16, the vibrant pitch event unfolded at Urban Park Suites Hotel. Contestants showcased their business models before a panel comprising four judges, representatives from the banking and investment sectors, and an entrepreneur from the innovation industry. Within a week, the names of five outstanding entrepreneurs will be unveiled with each of the winners securing an interest-free loan from the Bank of Kigali. ALSO READ: Ibere rya Bigogwe founder among contestants of 2023 BK Urumuri initiative The BK Foundation announced that Rwf 25,000,000 has been set aside to provide loans to the finalists. This significant financial support is intended to help the finalists expand their businesses, create job opportunities, and make meaningful contributions to environmental and social sustainability goals. The 7th edition of the BK Urumuri Initiative was launched by the BK Foundation in collaboration with Inkomoko. It is designed to support innovative businesses in Rwanda based on their dedication to addressing environmental and climate change issues. ALSO READ: Inside Canarimwe Stoves, a BK Urumuri Initiative contender Through the initiative, the BK Foundation and Inkomoko seek to support innovative entrepreneurs by equipping them with business skills through the Inkomoko accelerator and facilitating access to finance. Addressing the contestants, Ingrid Karangwayire, the Executive Secretary of BK Foundation, said: “Imagine a world where businesses are not only profitable but also contribute to the preservation of our planet. That is the vision behind the BK Urumuri Initiative this year. “Entrepreneurs, believe in yourselves, believe in your ideas, and never give up on your dreams. Rwanda and the world at large need your innovations and your unwavering commitment to creating a sustainable future.” ALSO READ: 'Wildlife Conservation Travel’ one of the 7th Edition of BK Urumuri Initiative contestants Eligible candidates for the initiative had to be Rwanda-based, with annual revenues under Rwf 500 million registered for at least one year, show financial profitability or outline a plan to achieve profitability within the next year as well as demonstrate a track record of environmental and social sustainability. ALSO READ: 25 eco-friendly businesses selected for 7th edition of BK Urumuri initiative Selected entrepreneurs underwent a robust six-month mentorship programme which included training, assessments, consultations, and investment readiness. The aim was to equip them with the skills and resources necessary to elevate their businesses and make a substantial environmental impact. During the pitching phase, participants faced evaluation based on criteria such as market analysis, competition, business model, team, investment, and business plan, along with financial management. ALSO READ: BK Foundation in collaboration with Inkomoko launch the 7th Edition of BK Urumuri Initiative Helle Dahl Rasmussen, the Business Growth Services Director at Inkomoko, expressed the organisation’s enthusiasm for the quality of pitches this year, applauding projects that effectively tackle environmental and climate change issues. “Even if not all of you emerge as winners, consider yourselves victorious. Your ideas are as valuable as they are needed in the face of the climate change crisis. We see your efforts, and we recognise them, she noted.