Ensibuuko Tech Limited

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Ensibuuko Tech Limited: Mobile Finance for the un-banked and under-served

Gulu, UgandaKampala, Uganda
Year Founded:
2012
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The exclusion of Uganda's poor from formal financial services have made savings cooperatives (SACCOS) a popular option. Yet SACCOS struggle with operational and information management inefficiencies. Ensibuuko's mobile banking innovation is enhancing the capacity of SACCO to serve the un-banked.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if access to financial services for the unbanked was as easy as owning a basic mobile phone?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Over the last one decade, Africa has witnessed the establishment of Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs) in an effort to foster financial inclusion for unbanked and underserved populations. Uganda alone has over 5000 registered SACCOS serving 58% of the population. Yet until now, SACCOS have lacked the means to efficiently manage information, leaving loopholes for fraud and mismanagement.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Ensibuuko’s solution, MOBIS is a banking and information platform that helps SACCOs to manage information and reporting; whilst using mobile tools- Mobile money, SMS, USSD - to enable the un-banked and under-served to save, borrow and manage their record on a mobile wallet using even the most basic mobile phone. The result is improved efficiency, reduced costs and increased transparency for a SACCO; a simpler, convenient and safer way for un-banked and under-served populations to access financial services. The solution is 20% the cost of existing banking software, yet the first 100% SACCO mobile banking platfrom. It strengthens SACCOS to serve a unique market that is not usually served by formal financial institutions.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Janet Abong is a smallholder farmer. She works hard to earn an income and saves part of it with Kitgum SACCOS in Northern Uganda. She is delighted about the benefits the mobile banking offers her since she can now save on time and money to transfer and withdraw her saving and loans with the SACCO that situated is over 35 kilometers from her village. This extra time and money could be better used at her farm and use her mobile phone to transact with her SACCOS in real time. The result is a simpler and safer way for Janet to control their savings and credit; and for Kitgum SACCOS, a much efficient and cost effective way to reach Janet, manage piles of data and generate report; an assured way to earn public confidence and new clients.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Through a network of 20 active SACCOS and funds raised on Kiva, Ensibuuko has enabled more than 85 farmers to access $50,000 in credit using their mobile finance tool. They are also currently deploying the solution in 16 more SACCO branches, strengthening their efficiency to manage and provide financial services; and making finance easily accessible to 30,000 under-served people in Northern Uganda. To eliminate the barriers to uptake caused by the lack of knowledge about the benefits and functionality of technology, Ensibuuko is collaborating with key partners to roll out a mobile finance literacy program to reach 400,000 people this year. They are also using their partner network to enable SACCOS and rural communities to access the required devices (Computers and mobile phones) and affordable and favorable payment terms. This will drive ownership of mobile phones in Uganda up by 20%.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

18,000,000 people, 58% of Uganda's population save and borrow with SACCOS. Ensibuuko will reach 100 SACCOs by end of 2015 and 1000 by 2017. As banks seek to reach un-served populations, SACCOS are getting integrated as agent networks giving them more leverae. A recent Government endorsement of Ensibuuko's solution has given it more mileage in to potentially to reach 5,000 registered SACCO in Uganda in 5 years. As it enters new markets in the quest to improve access to finance for 20,000,000 people in Africa by 2015, Ensibuuko will franchise the solution to local providers.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

SACCOS purchase an annual licences for a fee between $530 and $2500, plus $100 annual maintenance fees and regular purchase of SMS credit. These are key revenue channels for the business that will facilitate its maintenance. Significant grant funding will facilitate research as the business seeks to innovate further. The start-up is already received interest from Equity and non-equity impact investor to finance its growth to new market.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Other tech-for-finance players exist both in the local and global marketplace. MBWin and Finacle are popular international banking softwares in Uganda. Savings Plus is the popular local brand. All these, however, are designed for commercial banking operations and reporting and cost a fortune. No banking system in Uganda is customized for SACCO information and reporting needs. In Africa and beyond, Ensibuuko's solution is the only SACCO system that integrates a a full-range of mobile tools while running on secure cloud storage.
Team

Founding Story

Growing up in a rural Ugandan farming community, Gerald and David witnessed first-hand the challenges under-served populations face when seeking financial services. Farmers with access to land were unable to serve existing markets due to lack of finances. If they were able to serve local markets they lacked access to further reliable markets. The result was many smallholder farmers only earning just enough to meet their household's needs and rarely enough to commercialize. In 2012, Ensibuuko, started out by partnering with farmers cooperatives; introducing farmers to buyers as a way of enabling them grow their finances. Today,

Team

Ensibuuko has a team of 7 full-time staff and an extended network of 400 field volunteers, with 10 years combined experience. Founders, David and Otim both work for the business. David has a rich start-up experience having helped grow two successful tech start-ups before. Otim heads operations. He i an Acumen Fellow and Certified Finance expert. Anthony is the product lead, a brilliant guy and a renown tech4finance specialist in Uganda.
About You
About You
First Name

Gerald

Last Name

Otim

About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

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Project
Organization Country

, Kampala

Country where this project is creating social impact
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals, NGOs, Customers.

Supplemental
Awards: What awards or honors has the project received?

- Winner Sankalp Investors Choice award selected from 730 applicants
- Winner, ICT4 Agriculture award selected from 500 applicants regionally
- Runners-up, Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneur Awards selected from 8000 applicants globally
- National Finalist, Blackbox Connect
- Second place award, Seed Starters world 2014
- Regional finalist, PivotEast

Where have you learnt about the competition?

Email and website

Tell us about your partnerships:

1. Mercycorps: Shared values. Has physical presence in communities targeted. Is enabling us reach major SACCOS and over 30,000 people for the pilot.
2. CTA: Funded research, development and prototyping.
3. Government of Uganda's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives: SACCOS regulatory body. Has given us an endorsement certificate. We are the only SACCO software endorsed by the Government
4. Microsoft4Africa: Technology partner.

Challenges: What challenges might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

1. Poor internet connectivity: We have built the system to work offline and online
2. Low mobile phone and computer access. We are engaging mobile and software hardware companies to provide devices on a credit arrangement; with commitments from Microsoft4Africa and Nokia
3. Openness to learn and goodwill. Have held rigorous solution workshops and field learning trips to foster collaboration and buy-in from end-users.

Comments

Andres Hammerman's picture

Micro-finance can be very difficult to make work. I have seen a small women's coop bank fall apart here in my village. All over Ecuador there are small Cooperative Banks, but they charge a huge amount of interest on loans. To me it seems that Ecuador may be heading into a recession because so many people buy on credit and even at grocery stores it is common for people to defer payments for 3, 6 or 12 months. Oil prices have plummeted which means the government is out of money to continue its over extended projects. Government employment is at an all time high. Loans keep pouring in from China. --- On a bright note, we have given many no interest loans to neighbors and Black Sheep Inn staff and very rarely have we lost any of the funds. So congratulations on a great project!!

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