Photograph — igihe.com

The saying that “needs birth inventions and innovations” holds true for most entrepreneurs and 29-year-old Rwandan, Yvette Uwimpaye is no exception. Uwimpaye is the founder of Murukali, an online shopping platform for groceries. According to her, the idea for her business was conceived while on maternity leave after birthing her first child as she could not find a place to shop for groceries online.

Uwimpaye realised a gap in the use of technology to conveniently shop for groceries and have the goods swiftly delivered despite technological advancements in Rwanda. Her discovery piqued her interest in combining business and ICT to provide product price information and how to easily access these products without visiting a market.

After a research to test its market viability, Uwimpaye launched Murukali in November 2015 with her RWF one million savings from her previous job. With it, she rented an office, furnished it and paid salaries for the first few months. Initially, Murukali had an average of two orders per week in the first four months and made about RWF 15,000 per month. But over time, more customers patronised the platform and the business broke even in the first quarter of 2017.

Now, Murukali has expanded, receiving well over 10 orders daily, with a physical store in Kigali City Market. The business also serves as a platform that promotes locally made Rwandan products. Customers can order and make payments via a variety of platforms and methods and have their goods delivered in three hours or less to people living in Kigali, and within a week to people living outside of the city.

According to the 29-year-old, her business is targeted at the working class, mothers, people who lead busy lifestyles, private companies, new residents in Kigali who do not know where to shop and people living abroad who need to shop for their families in Rwanda.

In a bid to improve herself and her business, Uwimpaye joined and partnered with the Business Professionals Network, Rwanda and the Inkomoko Business Development, Rwanda, both platforms that empower and support entrepreneurs. “Through them, I got a mentor who has been helping me to put my business on the right track. I also got opportunities to compete and win prizes,” she told online media, How We Made It In Africa. 

Uwimpaye was one of eight entrepreneurs who won the Bank of Kigali’s inaugural Urumuri Entrepreneurship initiative interest-free loan of RWF 60 million in 2017. She has also benefited financially from the African Entrepreneur Collective, Rwanda, one of the funding arms of Inkomoko Business Development. 

Although she has competitors, Uwimpaye is confident that Murukali has an advantage over other similar businesses because of its physical store. She is convinced that the business is on track to becoming Rwanda’s leading online shopping platform and plans on opening more stores across Rwanda so as to serve customers swiftly as they currently do in Kigali. “This will aid our promise of quick delivery to customers.”

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