Ghanaian startups Boost and KudiGo have been selected for Catalyst Fund’s Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator, which aims to improve the livelihoods of informal MSEs in the wake of COVID-19.
Disrupt Africa reported in October last year Catalyst Fund had partnered the Mastercard Foundation and the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) to launch its Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator in Ghana, the first expansion of its flagship inclusive fintech programme.
Catalyst Fund, which is managed by BFA Global, said the accelerator was aimed at scaling digital commerce companies in Ghana.
The two selected companies, Boost Ghana and KudiGo, are enabling small retailers to grow by easing business administration, digitising operations, improving access to working capital, and reducing the cost of doing business, while providing suppliers with efficient access to MSE customers on the ground.
Boost Ghana enables underserved small businesses in Ghana to order stock digitally at the best wholesale prices, and receive efficient, same-day deliveries. For suppliers, it provides direct access to last-mile retail customers at scale, providing critical data and reducing the cost of distribution. KudiGo provides a holistic retail management solution for small business owners, including inventory management, a CRM, mobile money payments and a digital storefront, enabling businesses to build a digital footprint and access financial services more easily.
Both companies will receive up to US$120,000 in grant funding, along with deep, bespoke, expert-led venture acceleration support, connections with Catalyst Fund’s growing global circle of investors and corporate innovators, and in-market expertise from MEST.
“MSEs are the backbone of Ghana’s economy, representing about 80 per cent of the MSME sector and employing over 50 per cent of Ghanaians. Within the MSE sector, informal work is predominant and contributes to 90 per cent of employment,” said Jane del Ser, programme director for the Catalyst Fund Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator.
“Following the COVID-19 crisis, micro and small enterprises in particular lack access to a financial safety net, which significantly impacts their livelihoods and ability to do business. As most transactions and records occur offline, these businesses also lack digital financial records that can grant them access to the working capital they need to survive. Both Boost Ghana and KudiGo present digital solutions that have the potential to significantly impact the livelihoods of thousands of informal MSE owners.”