Startups are famous all over the world for their innovative and disruptive technologies. They transform industries and force large companies to rethink their strategies. But in Africa, a lot of start-ups are attempting to fix the problems caused by the socio-economic conditions in the continent.
Meet Mamamoni, a FinTech social enterprise startup that empowers poor rural and urban slum women with free vocational/financial skills and micro-loans.
— Mamamoni (@mamamoninigeria) November 2, 2015
Mamamoni was founded in 2014 by entrepreneur Nkem Okocha. From growing up poor, to hawking and serving as a housemaid, Nkem knows what the average woman faces in the Nigerian society. Influenced by these experiences, she set out to assist as many women suffering the same fate. “No girl child deserves what I went through because at some point in my life I had very low self-esteem,” Nkem recalls.
As a social enterprise, Mamamoni looks to help poor women generate livelihood income. The platform empowers low-income women with free vocational skills to help improve their livelihoods. Over the last few years, the company has trained women in skills particularly soap production and financial skills. Mamamoni has trained over 1,000 women in more than four communities since inception.
The company also provides mobile loans to female entrepreneurs. Mamamoni groups the women into several units, with a head assigned for each unit. The loans are expected to be paid back weekly, with each unit head mandated to see that members pay regularly. This system is not novel to most rural women; it is popular among micro-finance banks in various parts of the country. Over 100 women have been empowered by these loans by 2018.
Our women too can receive and request for loans on their feature phones. We are leaving no woman behind, it is time to #LendHerOutOfPoverty #Mamamoni#Fintech#Socent#ImpactWomen#EndPoverty#Empowerwomen#Lendheroutofpoverty#SDG5 pic.twitter.com/YHaUcPjBK9
— Mamamoni (@mamamoninigeria) June 2, 2018
On the other hand, Mamamoni is an interesting FinTech company as it uses its web platform to help rural women raise money from public donors. It is like a crowdfunding FinTech, a little similar to Indiegogo and GoFundMe but for African women. However, no information exists about the amount raised so far.
. @nkemokocha of Mama Mini is next. MamaMoni is an online platform giving low income women access to finance. She is also on the #LagosInnovates advisory board. #TechInHeels #womenintech pic.twitter.com/GEwdQkyKQO
— Lagos Innovates (@lagosinnovates) June 26, 2018
Nevertheless, Mamamoni has been able to get the attention of a few important partners. One of the most important is the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which invested $5,000 in the startup. The startup was one of the 30 startups chosen to pitch at the Aso Villa Demo Day in 2016. Leading her company, Nkem pitched in front the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari and business mogul, Tony Elumelu.
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