Both companies enable informal micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in Ghana to grow their businesses and take better advantage of digital commerce.
ACCRA, Ghana, March 15, 2021 – / African Media Agency (AMA) / – The Catalyst Fund’s Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator, managed by BFA Global, in partnership with the Foundation’s COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program Mastercard and the Meltwater Business School of Technology (MEST) today announced the first cohort of digital commerce companies to scale, aiming to improve the livelihoods of informal MSEs in Ghana.
Boost Ghana and KudiGo are enabling small retailers to grow by facilitating business management, digitizing operations, improving access to working capital, and reducing the cost of doing business, while providing suppliers with efficient access to customers. of MSE in the field.
Both companies will receive up to US $ 120,000 in equity funds, along with:
● In-depth, personalized, and expert-led business acceleration support;
● Connections with the growing global circle of investors and the circle of corporate innovators of the Catalyst Fund, and;
● Experience in the MEST market.
“MSEs are the backbone of the Ghanaian economy, representing around 80% of the MSME sector and employing more than 50% of Ghanaians (MOTI 2019). Within the MSE sector, informal work is predominant and contributes to 90% of employment, ”said Jane del Ser, Program Director of the Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator at the Catalyst Fund.
“In the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, micro and small businesses, in particular, lack access to a financial safety net, significantly affecting their livelihoods and ability to do business. As most transactions and records take place offline, these companies also lack digital financial records that allow them to access the working capital they need to survive. Both Boost Ghana and KudiGo present digital solutions that have the potential to significantly impact the livelihoods of thousands of informal MPE owners, ”concluded del Ser.
Since launching the program in November 2020, the Catalyst Fund conducted research on MSEs in urban and peri-urban retail stores around Accra and found that 100% of store owners have smartphones and more than half already market their businesses. throught social media. However, currently few are using digital media to buy supplies, manage their day-to-day businesses, or fulfill orders; only 20% buy supplies online and 80% buy inventory in person, at the markets or in a store. This leads to expensive transportation costs and means that MSEs cannot guarantee the availability of supplies or the price stability that larger retailers enjoy.
Boost Ghana is addressing this issue by enabling underserved small businesses in Ghana to order shares digitally at the best wholesale prices and receive efficient same day deliveries. For providers, they provide direct access to last-mile retail customers at scale, providing critical data and reducing the cost of distribution. KudiGo provides a comprehensive retail management solution for small business owners, including inventory management, CRM, mobile money payments, and a digital store, enabling businesses to create a digital footprint and access financial services more easily. . They also offer their MSE customers last-mile delivery through partners.
In addition to working with Boost and KudiGo, the Catalyst Fund team aims to grow the broader digital trading ecosystem, partnering with innovators and corporate investors who can help these companies scale, in an effort to create an entrepreneurial environment and investment more conducive.
“Digitizing MSEs is critical to growing the informal sector and unlocking its potential to grow and be at the forefront of Ghana’s economic recovery. Leveraging the collective capacity of local digital commerce companies to lead this effort is definitely a step in the right direction, ”said Nathalie Akon Gabala, Mastercard Foundation Regional Director for North, Central and West Africa.
This month, the Catalyst Fund published an investment brief that contains three areas of opportunity for inclusive digital commerce innovation in the Ghana market. The brief can be found here.