How Blockchain Technology is Helping Kenya’s Small Businesses
Blockchain technology can be more useful to people in developing nations than one might think at first. Owners of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Kenya show how blockchain is helping the country in becoming more financially enabled.
Using Blockchain Technology to Measure Creditworthiness
One of these small business owners is a 40-year old mother of two, Janeffer Wacheke, who is just trying to make ends meet in the struggling African economy by selling fresh fruit and vegetables at her stall in Nairobi.
Wacheke is one among hundreds of small retailers in the country using blockchain technology to help them prove their creditworthiness, Bloomberg reported.
The Kenyan banks have until now struggled to address the problem of assessing whether some of their borrowers, namely the small-scale traders in the country’s $20 billion informal economy, can fulfill their debt obligations.
However, retailers like Wacheke can now use their mobile phones to access loans to buy products directly from producers, delivered to them by Kenyan startup Twiga Foods Ltd.
Wacheke no longer has to walk to the market, haggle over prices, and carry all groceries for miles by herself. In addition to reducing the hassle, blockchain helps reduce her costs and build a credit track record.
Wacheke speaks highly of the technology:
“My prayers have been answered. In business, you need to be fast. The more you pay, the more you get bigger loans, and the more you can sell. It has helped me.”
Twiga Creating a Micro-Revolution
Grant Brook, co-founder of Twiga Foods said:
“Previously, we were focused on helping farmers distribute bananas, tomatoes, onions, and potatoes to 2,600 kiosks across Kenya, but we soon realized that we could help them sell even more produce with access to working capital. It’s simple, if the food vendors can sell more, we can distribute more, growing both of our businesses.”
Twiga Foods has teamed up with IBM employees in Nairobi to maintain their blockchain-enabled finance platform.
The platform first had to go through an eight-week testing period, during which Twiga and IBM processed more than 220 loans for small-food stalls. Throughout this trial period, the average loan amount was $30 each and order sizes increased by 30 percent, increasing the profits of each trader by 6 percent.
With satisfactory results, they decided to proceed with the practical implementation of the platform.</span
Retailers can now enter their daily orders and funding needs into the app, which then analyzes the information and creates spending patterns, credit histories, and demand for products and other services.