Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve
Sasa creates technology tools that empower artisans in the developing world to create and grow micro-enterprises, helping them transition from the informal cash economy to the formal sector. Sasa has created the link to achieve full financial inclusion by providing access to affordable, secure, and comprehensive business tools and financial services that provide financial records, micro-finance, savings, and transaction and e-commerce tools. Sasa cuts out the middleman, ensuring that the majority of the profits stay with the vendor and within her community. Sasa vendors will be able to save money securely, borrow money affordably, and make payments knowledgeably.
Which barrier(s) to financial inclusion does your solution seek to address? (select all applicable)
Physical and other accessibility obstacles that prevent communities from reaching financial services, The lack of affordable financial products tailored to the needs of underserved and excluded communities,, Powerful incentives for financial service providers to move up-market, Other (Please describe below).
If you selected 'other' above, please specify which other barriers to financial inclusion you solution seeks to address:
Tools that enable anyone, anywhere to conduct international sales and transactions.
For which underserved or excluded communities will your solution create access to valuable, affordable, secure and comprehensive financial services?
Eighty-four percent of women in Sub-Saharan Africa work in the informal economy, excluding them from financial rights and representation. Most of these women end up in self-employment, earning subsistence incomes with little or no growth opportunity. Many turn to craft production which provides an entry-point into the economy for under-resourced groups. Simple tools that would multiply their income with little to no upfront investment would be immediately welcomed. Moreover, our tools empower women to grow their businesses as formal entrepreneurs, gaining access to financial tools and literacy through the use of the platform. Vendors can leverage traceable income earned on the Sasa platform to access loans, open a bank account, and formally register as an independent entity.
Could your solution work in other geographies or regions? If so, where?
Sasa can be successfully implemented anywhere that has pervasive mobile phone penetration, mobile money, and reliable shipping infrastructure. In Africa alone, this accounts for more than 15 countries, with mobile money rapidly coming online in further African and developing countries worldwide.
Our telecommunications partner, Bharti Airtel, and their mobile money service, Airtel Money are excited to promote us as a value added service in the 17 countries in Africa in which they currently operate as well as India. We are also actively developing relationships with further telecommunications companies to enable our services to be accessible to emerging economy artisans worldwide.
We will pilot in Mexico Jan 2013, launch across East Africa Summer 2013, and plan to expand to countries in Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America.
If your solution is dramatically successful, how will things be different in 10 years?
Sasa will revolutionize the global market place, connecting offline economies to the web economy through mobile technology, bringing millions of people access to the formal market place and proliferating access to secure and effective financial services. In addition, we will have facilitated the education of millions of women in financial literacy and business skills. In ten years, Sasa hopes to transform the face of international trade to one that is more inclusive, equitable, and women-driven. Currently, the majority of wealth in developing countries is concentrated in very few hands. We hope, through access to tools to earn and manage income, to massively decentralize and distribute this wealth, enriching countries at the community level and empowering women to have influence in their communites and countries.
What will have had to have changed to make this happen?
In order for Sasa to successfully create and implement, at a global scale, an inclusive and profitable international direct trade platform, certain assumptions must be true:
● women want to be economically empowered
● craftswomen will adopt the Sasa platform into their market practices
● international consumers will be compelled to buy their products
● vendors will successfully earn and manage sustainable income
● both vendors and international consumers will trust the Sasa technology
● existing infrastructures will be consistent and expand with demand
From applied research and our pilot, these assumptions are sound. However, to truly scale, we need the collaboration of governments, financial institutions, and international trade standards, which is why we are building government and institutional awareness and partnership from the get-go.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
Accessible tools for female entrepreneurs to support, grow, and formalize the MSME’s of Sub-Saharan Africa is necessary to disrupt the pattern of poverty amongst women. Our mission is to increase access to economic opportunity for women in the developing world to improve their livelihoods. If these women are provided the tools to build micro-enterprises and access global consumers, they will be economically empowered. Growing financial stability enables them to exit the informal marketplace, establish the location, security, and terms of their trade, and contributes to sustainable community development. We are dedicated to educating, training and empowering women through our business and financial services. We have registered and trained over 250 women and girls to use mobile technology to access international markets and build micro-enterprises.
What is your projected impact over the next five years?
When a vendor uses Sasa, every transaction is recorded for easy accounting and management solutions and her income is traceable. We deduct income tax for the government directly from sales and provide an opt-in option for insurance deduction, helping her move towards becoming a recorded entrepreneur with the ability to prove income for accessing financial rights and representation. Over the next 5 years, our projected impact is to support the creation of 47,800 registered microenterprises, earning $8,357,029 of traceable incomes.
Using Sasa, women vendors in developing countries will learn better communication skills, technology mastery, and business practices while reducing their exposure to health risks associated with outdoor vending by 37% over the next five years.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
One of our challenges is establishing a growth model that allows for measured, sustainable growth. We have developed an innovative social logistics and growth strategy that will help support an incremental & socially-driven growth model, encourages a supportive network of vendors along the way.
Our vendor growth strategy is twofold:
-Our agent model incentivizes experienced vendors to recruit high potential vendors to mentor and introduce to the platform until they are qualified and comfortable as independent vendors.
-E-commerce education program is used by existing community groups and women’s collectives to introduce the Sasa platform, financial and business best practices.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Over the next six months Sasa will see the launch, optimization, and innovation of our platform, serving over 1500 artisans
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Sasa will expand its geographic and operational partnerships to move into new countries, support a massively expanded user group