Four Ghanaian digital commerce companies, OZÉ, Shopa, Swoove, and Tendo will receive US$120,000 in grant funding from the Catalyst Fund Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator as part of the Accelerator's 2nd cohorts.
These companies are tackling challenges across the retail sector for Ghana’s informal MSEs to enable the digital transformation of MSEs through solutions including digital logistics, delivery services, digitization of merchant records, inventory management, and access to affordable inventory financing.
In addition to the grant funding, the Catalyst Fund in a statement said, "bespoke expert-led venture acceleration support, connections with Catalyst Fund’s growing global Circle of Investors and Circle of Corporate Innovators, and in-market expertise from MEST" will also be offered to the participating companies.
About 85% of businesses in Ghana are SMEs, this identifies its contribution to socio-economic prosperity in the country, this program will super charge the efforts of these enterprises and enable increased revenue, optimized chain linkages, employment amongst other economic benefits.
Jane del Ser, Program Director for the Catalyst Fund Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator said, "Informal MSEs, many of whom are youth and women, get by using a piecemeal approach to digital commerce, often marketing via Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, taking in-person payments and manually addressing delivery, which is costly and puts the risk and heavy lift on the retailer."
"Companies like OZÉ, Shopa, Swoove, and Tendo are solving this problem with easy-to-use and affordable digital commerce services and are spurring the expansion of the digital commerce ecosystem in Ghana", Jane del Ser said.
In its first cohorts which had Boost Ghana and KudiGo – focused on solutions working to digitize inventory management and purchasing, this latest cohort is made up of digital commerce innovation companies that are working in online and niche marketplaces, tech-enabled integration for logistics and delivery, digitization of inventory management and purchasing, and trust-building solutions.
Managed by BFA Global in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), the Accelerator is focused on building the resilience of Ghana’s micro and small enterprises (MSEs).
Early last month, MEST Africa and Mastercard Foundation launched MEST Accelerator Scale for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana to provide Ghanaian SMEs with hands-on and strategic guidance on how to manage these challenges while building operational and technical efficiencies that will boost their growth.
Meet the cohorts
- 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.
- 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.