NewTech Friday: eMaisha Pay – Unlocking African SMEs’ access to financial services 22 April 2022 270
Sserubiri Uhuru is the Co-Founder and CEO of eMaisha Pay. He spoke with Efma’s Boris Plantier about his company’s mission to open up financial opportunities for small businesses in Africa.
What led to the creation of eMaisha Pay?
The founding of eMaisha Pay was sparked by our experience running a small business, where we wanted to build a rabbit version of KFC, called Kampala Grilled Rabbit, We applied for working capital from five commercial banks to scale our infrastructure in order to accommodate more rabbits, but all turned us down on grounds that we didn't have collateral to secure the loan and also a credit history they could leverage to credit score us. They also raised another issue: that transactions costs are high to process small loans, leaving low-profit margins, which makes banks reluctant to extend credit to small businesses.
On doing research, we came to realize over one million small businesses in Uganda were in the same situation, something that had left a huge unmet credit demand estimated at $4.9 billion. But we were convinced there was a way, especially since 20 million Ugandans were subscribing to the internet, 7.9 million had smartphones, 3G connectivity had reached 78%, and the number of active mobile money users had reached 20 million, transacting $26 billion annually. All these factors had converged to create a digital financial infrastructure that we felt we could leverage to disrupt[L1] how small businesses access financial services, and that was the genesis of eMaisha Pay.
Could you present eMaisha Pay?
eMaisha Pay has developed a proprietary credit scoring engine that leverages alternative data, advanced psychometric analytics and machine learning algorithms to credit score small businesses, empowering them with access to quick, affordable, flexible and non-collateral working capital to grow their businesses through a simple and intuitive mobile application.
What's coming next for eMaisha Pay?
At the moment, we are focusing on enhancing our technology, value proposition, and customer development. We are focused on onboarding 20,000 customers in the next 12 months, disbursing loans to 7,000 small businesses, and maintaining our repayment rate of 100% through exceptional customer experience and relationships. We are also raising a seed round to continue on our growth trajectory, with an ambition of reaching 200,000 small businesses in Uganda in the next three years, after which we plan for regional expansion, targeting Kenya and Tanzania.