Mastercard and Unilever have partnered to help micro entrepreneurs in Africa and other regions overcome the cash constraints that limit their ability to buy and sell more products and ultimately grow their businesses.
Using their new platform Jaza Duka (“fill up your store”),the initiative combines distribution data from Unilever and analysis by Mastercard, on how much inventory a store has bought from Unilever over time. The results from the analysis are used to provide a micro-credit eligibility recommendation to KCB Bank Kenya (KCB).
Ajay Banga, president and CEO, Mastercard said, “There’s an opportunity to set these businesses up for long-term growth by bringing together the tools and data from different industries to change the model of small business financing.”
The deal will see store owners increase their purchases of product from what they can buy with cash on hand to what they can actually sell. The credit line from KCB is provided through a secure Mastercard digital payment solution.
Store owners will get the micro-credit, training to help them manage their finances, inventory and forward planning for supply against demand. The entrepreneurs are also being trained on marketing tools and techniques to help sell their products and subsequently increase their opportunity to grow faster. Local communities can also benefit from having quicker, more reliable access to the products they need most to support their families.
By the end of April, more than 5,000 kiosk owners in the wider Nairobi area had applied to join the program – all are expected to be fully enrolled by mid-May. Stores that fully moved to the new platform have grown their sales of Unilever products by up to 20 percent.
“Financial inclusion is a key enabler of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals – lifting individuals out of poverty and supporting overall economic growth. By broadening our collaboration with Mastercard, working across sectors and including additional private and public partners, we are further expanding the positive impact of financial and economic inclusion” said Paul Polman, chief executive, Unilever.
Over time, the payment history from shopkeepers’ participation in Jaza Duka can pave the way for these business owners to access business loans and other financial services.
Mastercard and Unilever jointly target to provide 20,000 kiosks in Kenya then later extend to additional markets across Africa and Asia Pacific.
To ensure responsible use of credit, the Center for Inclusive Growth – a Mastercard philanthropic initiative – will work with TechnoServe to provide micro-entrepreneurs with training on financial and business skills.
Mastercard will join Unilever in its “Transform” partnership with the UK Department for International Development (DFID), with the aim to promote sustainable community development in emerging markets around the world.
“The retailers can now access their credit using their mobile phones without the need to issue physical plastic cards. Following a successful deployment in Kenya, we will be rolling out the same to the regional markets we are in as we support the growth of value chains, small, medium and micro enterprises,” said KCB Group CEO and MD Joshua Oigara.