Kenya’s Sokowatch wins Visa Everywhere Initiative’s Pandemic Challenge

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Kenyan retail-tech platform Sokowatch has been named winner of the Visa Everywhere Initiative – Pandemic Challenge, aimed at identifying solutions to help rebuild small businesses affected by COVID-19.

The Visa Everywhere Initiative is a global innovation programme by Visa that calls for startups and fintech companies to step up and provide solutions to tomorrow’s commerce and payment challenges. 

This year’s edition was a Pandemic Challenge, which sought solutions to challenges faced by small businesses as a result of COVID-19. The winner was Sokowatch, which uses tech-enabled solutions to improve supply chain inefficiencies and transform access to essential goods.

informal retail market making up 90% of African consumer purchases, the threat of shop closures due to the global pandemic could have potentially limited the supply of essential goods and food for millions of low-income families. To address this, Sokowatch extended credit lines to allow informal retailers to place larger orders of goods, meaning they were able to maintain business continuity.

“I’m incredibly honoured to have been selected as this year’s winner of the Visa Everywhere Initiative. Sokowatch’s service is for the mass market, which is made up of many low-income families who have felt the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re glad to have been able to use our tech to quickly respond to the crisis in a way that directly supports the families and shop owners in the communities through our unique credit extension model and the e-voucher scheme,” said Daniel Yu, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Sokowatch.

“Visa’s global positioning in tackling the world’s payment challenges is testament that we are all connected in one way or the other. The Visa Everywhere Initiative is an incredible platform to showcase one’s startup solutions and presents the opportunity to meet with other like-minded visionaries who are looking to change the world.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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