ImpactAlpha, September 17 – Hilda Moraa was ahead of the trend of enterprise technology providers popping up all over Africa and other emerging markets. The founder of Nairobi-based fintech Pezesha understood sooner than most the links between digital commerce and financial inclusion.
“Small and mid-sized enterprises rely on antiquated business models, particularly in retail trade, which limits their productivity” and drives information asymmetry with potential lenders, she says.
The result is a $330 billion small business financing gap in Africa, with a disproportionate effect on women.
The remedy: better data on how these businesses operate and perform.
That’s what enterprise tech companies are collecting as they improve supply chain efficiency and enable business owners manage inventory and collect online payments. Pezesha helps turn that data into improved access to finance.
Pezesha secured seed funding this week from GreenHouse Capital and Venture Garden Group.
Moraa spotted the potential of small business enterprise technology in Africa more than a decade ago as an analyst of last-mile distribution for Coca-Cola. She left to launch WezaTele in 2011 to help small businesses order and pay for inventory from their mobile phones. She sold WezaTele to AFB, a financial services firm in Ghana (now owned by Lesotho-based Letshego).
With Pezesha, Moraa’s mission is to unlock working capital loans for small businesses by sharing data from enterprise tech providers like Twiga Foods and MarketForce with financial institutions.
Moraa also wants to ensure access to finance is net-positive for small business owners (see “Investors called to account for fintech lending practices as debt-traps emerge“). Financial education, she says, is key to addressing “how credit can be a tool for wealth creation for our customers to invest in the future.”