On Day Seven of the 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative for Tanzania, we visited Settlo Technologies; a FinTech that provides Small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) with an easy-to-use POS (point-of-sale) app to help them keep their records such as sales, and expenses, accept digital payments in mobile and card payments, sell online with free E-Commerce sites, and inventory management hence improving their Efficiency, Productivity and reach new markets.
Settlo provides SMEs with real-time data and analytics about their sales, customer behaviour, and inventory.
According to Mohammed Awami, the Co-Founder and CEO of Settlo Technologies, his company is a budding start-up that is spearheading the digitization of SMEs in Tanzania.
“Around Africa, SMEs are lacking access to capital because there is no clear data available to lenders to show the financial position of the small businesses seeking capital. So, we are using data to prepare SMEs to access capital from ourselves as well as our partners like banks and other lenders,” Awami said.
He added: “In the early days, we would meet business owners who liked what we were showing them in terms of data keeping on smartphones. But the kind of businesses we are dealing with find it difficult to operate with just mobile phones. They needed something bigger and more accessible like tablets, laptops, printers and cash drawers.”
The market realities thus forced Settlo Technologies to rethink its strategy and introduce a buy now and pay later model.
“The absence of these tools was like a barrier to entry at that point. We went back to the drawing table and came up with a program where we are lending the devices to small businesses and give them an opportunity to pay in three instalments. They pay 50 per cent down payment, 25 per cent after 30 days and the remaining 25 per cent after 60 days,” Awami noted.
Settlo is currently serving hundreds of micro, small and medium-sized businesses such as bouquets, stalls, SPAs, Salons, Restaurants, Bars and Cafes.
Awami notes that some of the biggest challenges they are facing are the absence of the right technology to support digitization, difficulty in attracting investment and public scepticism about tech solutions.
“One key area we are facing a lot of challenges is the absence of hardware. We have the technology and the software but hardware is missing. You can not digitize without having the right software and hardware. Also, there is still some mistrust. People in Tanzania are more likely to invest in traditional businesses like trading, and farming and not technologies. But there have been some very positive developments on our side and the future is bright.”
Settlo is participant Number Four in the inaugural 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative for Tanzania. First implemented in Uganda, 40 Days 40 FinTechs is an annual FinTech Innovation initiative presented by HiPipo to recognize and celebrate individuals and organizations who are making significant strides in promoting financial inclusivity through the use of technology.
It is aimed at promoting innovation and collaboration among FinTechs in Africa. The initiative is designed to provide FinTechs and startups with mentorship, training, exposure, and networking opportunities to help them grow and scale their businesses.
40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative Tanzania is part of HiPipo’s broader Include EveryOne Program that is generously supported by the Gates Foundation and implemented in partnership with Level One Project, ICTC Tanzania, Ideation Corner, Cyber PLC Academy, INFITX, NG Films, Founders Academy and Mojaloop Foundation.
The Include EveryOne program is a beacon of acceleration of FinTech Innovation, empowerment for Women in FinTech and a catalyst for investment and development in the ICT sector. Minus 40 Days 40 FinTechs, other initiatives under the Include EveryOne Program are the FinTech Landscape Exhibition, Women in FinTech Hackathon, Summit and Incubator, Digital Impact Awards Africa and the Digital and Financial Inclusion Summit.
HiPipo is recognized as a premier advocate of digital Innovation and financial inclusion champion, a fervent proponent of the #LevelOneProject. HiPipo has been at the forefront, actively promoting digital innovation, Instant, Inclusive Payment Systems (IIPS), and DFS across Africa. With a legacy of advising, mobilizing, and facilitating the adoption of inclusive financial services, HiPipo’s efforts have been nothing short of transformative! For almost two decades, HiPipo has successfully facilitated the inclusive adoption of these crucial services.