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With many people leading a busy lifestyle and lots of infrastructuredevelopment taking place around the cities of Rwanda, 29-year-old Yvette Uwimpaye realised that it was becoming increasingly difficult for people to shop at different market places. For her, the quickest solution to this problem was to create a simplified online shopping system that would save time and money.

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How did this all start?

Inspiration came to Uwimpaye while she was on maternity leave after the birth of her first child. “I was looking for a convenient place to shop online but I couldn’t find one,” Uwimpaye recalls. “I realised that while there has been steady growth in technology adoption in Rwanda, there is still a gap in using technology for quick delivery of household essentials. I became interested in how to combine business and ICT to provide product price information and how to easily access these products without physically moving around.”

After conducting market research to test its viability, Uwimpaye – who is also a graduate of Economics from the former National University of Rwanda – launched Murukali in November 2015 with RWF 1m (US$1,155) in savings from her previous job as a forex bureau account officer. With this she rented an office, bought office furniture and paid salaries for the first few months. She relied on social media advertising to get the word out on Murukali and offered free items to lure online customers for a return visit to the site and keep their support.

In the first four months, Murukali had an average of two orders per week and earned about RWF 15,000 ($17) per month. By the end of 2016, the business had turned over about RWF 120,000 ($139). The number of orders started to increase, and the company was able to break even in February 2017.

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