The Catalyst Fund Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator supported digital commerce companies building solutions designed to improve the livelihoods and financial resilience of micro and small enterprises (MSEs).ACCESS OUR OPEN-SOURCED DATABASE
Helping informal micro and small businesses thrive in Africa’s digital economy
Redefining consumer retail in Africa
Redefining informal retail distribution in Ghana
Enabling digital commerce via accessible logistics in Ghana
Enabling entrepreneurs to start selling with zero upfront inventory
OZÉ enables MSEs to become better businesses and better borrowers
Boost Ghana provides digital solutions to support micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in Ghana and drive efficiency in the distribution of fast-moving consumer goods. They have a range of solutions for SMEs that include stock on demand at a fair price, access to support services, and access to stock advances for merchants to increase order volumes and sell more. For suppliers, they provide direct access to last-mile retail customers at scale, providing critical data and reducing the cost of distribution.
Boost Ghana is part of the Catalyst Fund Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator, supported by the Mastercard Foundation, in partnership with MEST.
KudiGo provides a holistic, mobile-based retail management solution for micro and small enterprise (MSE) owners, including inventory management, a CRM, digital payments, and an online storefront, enabling businesses to build a digital footprint and access financial services more easily. They also offer their MSE customers last-mile delivery via partners.
KudiGo is part of the Catalyst Fund Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator, supported by the Mastercard Foundation, in partnership with MEST.
Shopa is redefining Africa’s informal retail distribution and supply chain by connecting last-mile retailers with suppliers, and enabling access to stock on cash or credit. Leveraging digital tools and an integrated delivery network, Shopa helps informal retailers to restock and receive delivery within 4 hours, without ever leaving their shop.
Swoove connects e-commerce businesses with accessible logistics services at an affordable price, through its app and USSD short code, while creating opportunities for youth and female entrepreneurs and revenue streams for households. Swoove already partners with MTN and has the potential to be an enabler for the larger digital commerce ecosystem to address logistics challenges.
Tendo enables anyone in Africa to sell online with zero upfront inventory – their platform connects dropshippers to wholesalers. The sellers on the platform are able to source products through Tendo and resell items using social commerce tools, such as WhatsApp, arrange delivery and get paid, all through the Tendo mobile app.
OZÉ enables MSEs to become better businesses and better borrowers. Businesses keep digital financial records on OZÉ which in turn provides them with the insights and information they need to make better decisions. This improves their performance and enables them to access much-needed formal credit such as for inventory financing. 97% of high-active OZÉ users were growing, profitable or both.
In Ghana, existing digital commerce solutions tend to exclude informal micro and small enterprises (MSEs), who have been hardest hit by the impact of the COVID-19 economic crisis. As a result, they are unable to leverage digital commerce opportunities to fuel their growth and secure their incomes. The Catalyst Fund Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator helped to scale innovative companies that enable informal MSEs in Ghana to reap the benefits of digital commerce solutions, with a goal of spurring the development of the wider ecosystem.
Companies selected for the Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator were identified via quantitative and qualitative sourcing research, to determine existing ecosystem gaps and challenges faced by MSEs. Companies were then vetted by an Investment Advisory Committee composed of experienced emerging markets investors and experts in the digital commerce space in the Ghanaian and wider African market.
Companies who met the following criteria were evaluated for selection
Preference for companies with current or proven desire to serve informal MSEs
Company has already raised a minimum of $100K from investors or is revenue positive, and serving at least 500 customers
Company has a product in market and is in the scaling stage
Company has 6-12 months of runway
Company is Ghana-based (or entering the Ghanaian market)
Company primarily serves informal MSEs and workers between the ages of 18-35
Company can contribute to the goal of reaching 25,000 additional MSEs within 2 years
Ghana is making progress in creating favorable conditions for a thriving digital economy, including a new digital financial services (DFS) policy to facilitate access and usage of DFS. However, existing digital commerce solutions exclude informal MSEs due to a lack of: effective digital onboarding mechanisms, MSE financing and interoperability across digital commerce systems.
We conducted research among retail MSEs in Ghana to better understand how they currently leverage digital commerce.
Based on this research, in our investment brief, we outline 3 key areas of opportunity where we see potential for innovation in digital commerce to have a meaningful impact on MSEs.
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