Esaja.com is a business to business marketplace that connects traders across the continent to one another. Esaja stands for: Empowering Solutions And Joint Action.
According to Clinton Mutambo, the founder, “Esaja enables SMEs and large enterprises to showcase themselves to latent markets across the continent’s various states.”
Esaja.com went into live beta on Africa Day this year (25 May). Before the launch Mutambo had taken part in the Apps For Africa 2012 Business Challenge and Esaja emerged a finalist.
TechMoran caught up with him and this is what he wants to do.
What problem do you solve?
African development is something that is extremely close to our hearts. As young Africans, we are fueled by the belief that for economic development, reduced unemployment & poverty eradication to occur, our continent’s fragmented states simply have to integrate. SMEs and large enterprises across Africa cannot compete effectively with international peers that serve bigger markets.
Thankfully the amount of political will in this regard has been encouraging, African leaders began exploring this area right at the onset of the formation of the Organisation of African Unity and have carried on doing so.
However tough it has been delivering on the premise, there is a clear roadmap and wholesale commitment to the vision of an integrated continent. We are entrepreneurial foot soldiers of this collaborative effort as we leverage on the power of technology to catalyse the movement.
How different are you from the competition?
We are Afro Optimists. Most of our competitors are foreigners that are in it for purely financial and very short term reasons. We on the other hand are a commercial business with a vested commitment to Africa’s development.
This is our home and we’re here through the good and the bad. We are on the ground and in sync with the realities of Africa, choosing who we work with very carefully.
From Mbare Musika in Harare, Alaba market in Lagos, or the Jua Kali in Nairobi; ours is a commitment to make a real difference to the lives of Africans. Not statistics or hype, but real people. Approximately 60% of the continent lies below the age of 35, we are of this statistic and take nothing for granted, including the availability of electricity that made this interview possible…
How many businesses are you serving?
Not enough! We are working to connect every credible African enterprise to growth opportunities, including yours 😉
What are your future plans?
Our chief goal in the short term is to optimize our platform and address the needs of our users. We will be deploying a set of fresh features in due course and will update you accordingly.
Where are you based?
We’re based in Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe. An interesting annotation about this is that Zimbabwe was once the second most diversified economy in Sub Saharan Africa. For a significant part of the first decade within the 21st century, we lived through record breaking inflation and have essentially experienced 3 of the 4 economic sub sets that Mckinsey & Co classify African economies into. The only one we are not familiar with is the oil based economy, purely because there’s no oil in Zimbabwe…
What else have you done that is successful?
I’ve founded and run an experiential marketing agency that worked with local and regional brands that were active in the Zimbabwean market. Through this I was the youngest member of the Zimbabwe Deputy Prime Minister’s national branding committee and also appointed to the national Sports, Tourism, Image and Communications Taskforce. My agency subsequently did activation work for a regional sports tournament, publicity and sponsorship work for a formula racer, and a series of events. It was all a great experience but technology has always been at my core. The attraction of making a bigger impact through the reach & unadulterated meritocracy of the internet resulted in me blogging for one of the continent’s leading technology blogs. At that same time l cofounded Jumpstart Zimbabwe and was part of making Zimbabwe’s first grassroots technology events possible, this includes BarCamp and the Jumpstart Challenge.