Talk about Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) in Uganda and they will tell you how majority die before celebrating their fifth birthday. According to experts, this is due to a number of reasons but top on the list is poor record keeping and poor inventory management.
However, a group of entrepreneurs saw this challenge and instead of joining those condemning SMEs, they chose to change their narrative by innovating ChapChap – mobile payment application to help them improve record keeping to enable their businesses stay afloat and thrive.
ChapChap, a short form for Creating Harmony Among People, is a low cost innovative digital solution that enables people to easily access financial services as well as helping entrepreneurs in making informed decisions on how to improve and manage their businesses.
According to Monica Kiconco, one of the founders of ChapChap Africa, the app helps entrepreneurs to efficiently monitor their businesses especially for those who are not always around, to run their businesses and those who cannot afford to hire professional accountants.
It thus empowers business owners to keep track of their inventory stock, sales and revenue using their smartphones.
The features that enable that include sales recording – to enable businesses record and analyse sales data so as to make informed business decisions, inventory management – to manage quantity of stock to determine when and how to often reorder for stock, the e-payment feature which allows businesses to pay for services using the mobile money and tracking expenditure on the go.
“We exist to be the leading digital platform and not only staying on top but providing convenience, user friendly platform, enhanced services, value addition and relationships and profitability,” Kiconco said.
The app is helping communities especially people in the informal sector and small businesses to make smarter business decisions that will increase their chances of making more revenue and increase their chances of survival based on the fact that information collected by the application will effectively make running and managing businesses easy.
Kiconco noted that people who have used the app appreciate its usefulness in helping them manage their businesses better.
The ChapChap mobile payment platform was launched in 2017 in Uganda, initially allowing customers to pay for digital goods and services and do online shopping while earning cashback on their transactions. Currently, it has over 7000 active users.
ChapChap was later re-designed to incorporate a Point of Sale feature which has since been incorporated into the app.
Kiconco said they were motivated into innovating the app after a team of friends that included software developers identified a need of bringing financial services closer to the undeserved members of their communities.
It was this dream that set them on the journey to create and innovate digital solutions that would seek to serve communities in an easy and better way.
The app that now has over one thousand subscribers in Uganda is set to spread to 10 African countries starting with East Africa countries – Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.
The ChapChap team, however, expressed concern over the fact that it is costly to develop an application of such a magnitude and equally challenging to be able to bring it to the market.
“There are so many challenges and sacrifices incurred including funding and having the right human resource. But even with these challenges, we committed and determined to achieve the ultimate goal of bringing digital services closer to the community to improve their quality of life and businesses,” they said.
ChapChap is among the Financial Technology Companies (FinTechs) that are participating in the 40-days-40-FinTechs initiative project organised by HiPipo, in partnership with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation.
The initiative seeks to enable FinTechs to innovate solutions that facilitate cross-network financial transactions at minimal risks to enhance access to financial services.
Running for 40 days, the project will see the participating 40 FinTechs acquire interoperable development skills to improve access to financial services, using the Mojaloop open source software.
The HiPipo CEO Innocent Kawooya commended ChapChap founders, saying they are doing a real transformation of businesses through digitization.
He said that HiPipo will ensure that companies which are embracing technology are helped to move a step ahead to achieve inclusive financial inclusion for everyone.
“With 15 years in the business of digitalization of Africa, we want to see ChapChap become a global enterprise and we will be glad to have contributed towards you becoming a multinational technology company,” he said.