Bidhaa Sasa wants to enable rural families in Kenya to buy affordable modern goods and have them delivered to their door without the hustle of Internet and logistics barriers.
Founded in 2015 by David Disch and Rocío Pérez Ochoa, Bidhaa Sasa Swahili for “Products now!” delivers household goods to clients in rural Kenya and as well provide them with micro loans for them to buy the products that could otherwise not afford though they are readily available.
“We distribute life-improving products using direct selling techniques – by women for women – and offer consumer financing to the under-served and unbanked to make all products payable in affordable instalments,” said the firm.
Bidhaa Sasa adds that the problem is that most families use tiny kerosene lamps to light their homes at night while others travel long distances on foot to charge their phones and still more are forced to cook on the ground outdoors, with firewood they fetch from dying forests. The startup notes that in all this its the women who are mostly affected as they do most of the chores.
These women would use solar systems to charge their phones, use cook stoves to save them time and energy as well as get cleaner energy from biomass instead of kerosene. Bidhaa Sasa therefore works with manufacturers of such systems to make them available and affordable to the women in the rural areas.
“Most manufacturers and suppliers do not reach as far as the “last mile” and consumer loans are not available to those who live off the land. Loans below $100 are not interesting to traditional micro-finance organisations, nor do they have the required product or distribution expertise,” says the firm. “There had to be a way to tackle both the access and affordability challenges and solve this distribution bottleneck.”
The firm has therefore its business around rural women’s circumstances, needs and aspirations and has developed a ‘woman-to-woman’ direct sales model to overcome their limited mobility, reduced awareness and lack of trust in new technologies.
“Our referral programme is a very cost-effective way to acquire new clients and by leveraging that same social cohesion among rural women we can offer micro-credit to groups of clients without preconditions or collateral,” said the firm which specializes in sub-$100 products which are needed but are normally ignored by financial institutions.
Bidhaa Sasa hopes to not only improve the lives of thousands of rural women, but as well as provide empowerment and additional income for them even thereby helping allieviate poverty. Bidhaa Sasa has recruited over 4,000 clients to whom it sells solar lamps, systems and radios, agricultural tools, efficient cookstoves and LPG cylinders.
The firm prides itself in providing sub-$100 products as standalone loans without a need for collateral or pre-existing lending relationships, such as top-up loans, and target the women in the households through direct selling methods centred around clients themselves.