Technology

One man’s mission to take SMEs into cashless platform

SMEMPAYA

Mr Mworia started M-PAYA in 2015. PHOTO | POOL

Summary

  • In 2015, Mr Mworia started M-PAYA, a technology platform for small and medium business that enables them to enjoy the convenience of digital systems like accepting digital payments that offer access to credit using the turn-over history with no collateral requirements.
  • Mr Mworia says Kenya has the highest rate of mobile money penetration in East Africa at 59 percent.
  • However, he adds, more than half of the total value of all consumer transactions in the country is still conducted in cash.

Mwai Mworia is a man on a mission. He desires to be part of the cashless revolution taking place in Kenya and across the world.

In 2015, Mr Mworia started M-PAYA, a technology platform for small and medium business that enables them to enjoy the convenience of digital systems like accepting digital payments that offer access to credit using the turn-over history with no collateral requirements.

Mr Mworia says Kenya has the highest rate of mobile money penetration in East Africa at 59 percent. However, he adds, more than half of the total value of all consumer transactions in the country is still conducted in cash.

“Using paper money is a barrier to the use of formal financial services. Our innovation removes the challenges and complexity of accepting digital payments that make the businesses opt for the simplicity of cash payments,” he said.

By use of digital payments, informal entrepreneurs overcome access to a range of financial services, including Credit and Insurance.

“Using digital payments for example, automatically creates a qualifying credit score for these businesses giving them alternative source of credit since 75 percent of them do not qualify for a formal bank loan as they are seen to be too risky,” says Mr Mworia.

His target businesses are retail shops, bars, restaurants, computers and phone accessories shops, book shops, boutiques and home supplies businesses.

By use of the digital payment systems, an entrepreneur can easily track his or her daily sales and better manage inventories and improve profit margins.

Data analytics of digital transactions such as digital payments from customers and to suppliers can help create a qualifying credit score for an entrepreneur to grow their business.

“Digital payment systems can conveniently and affordably connect entrepreneurs with banks, suppliers, and new markets for their goods and services,” he adds.

Since the establishment of the business in 2015, the company has seen growth from serving 100 businesses in a year to 9,000 currently, with an average of 100 recruited every month.

“We’ve a team of 20 personnel in business acquisition and recruitment, customer service, back-office reconciliation and IT systems support,” he adds.

He notes that in Kenya, the small and medium enterprises are easy to start because citizens are creative, innovative and full of business ideas.

He however points out that the biggest problem faced by these enterprises is that they don’t last in the market because of their failure to innovate.

Mr Mworia says the most interesting bit of his work is economic empowerment where they seek to give entrepreneurs more control over their finances and improve economic opportunities.

“By supporting small businesses, we’ve created 10,000 direct work opportunities for owners and their employees,” says Mworia.

Growing up, Mwai Mworia’s dream was to become an accountant and work in a bank.

What inspired Mr Mworia’s journey? He says he witnessed how his father’s financial struggles.

His father ran a water kiosk in a Nairobi slum and the earnings were too little to meet all the family needs, including catering for Mr Mworia’s school fees and that of his siblings.

The financial challenges are now a distant past and Mr Mworia is confident that the future will even be brighter.

His future plan is to create partnership and products for the Informal small enterprises regionally that will help create sustainable businesses through technology.