How Nigeria’s Trade Lenda provides accessible financing to small businesses

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Nigerian fintech startup Trade Lenda is helping micro, small and informal retailers with access to financing for their business needs, while also assisting retailers with access to distributors and manufacturers. 

Founded last year, the Lagos-based Trade Lenda helps small businesses get quick and affordable access to credit with zero upfront collateral within six hours. The startup’s data-driven credit-scoring platform evaluates character and capacity to bridge access to quick and efficient finance gaps for small retailers and suppliers.

CEO and co-founder Adeshina Adewumi told Disrupt Africa access to finance was a major challenge for MSMEs, with a US$5 trillion market opportunity market across developing economies, including Nigeria.

“As previous founders and with our experience working in the traditional financial service space, we have seen how hard it is to access credit opportunities and the significant impact timely working capital brings to the table. Sometimes the difference between business survival and death of small businesses is quick and timely access to working capital of as little as US$250,” he said.

Trade Lenda kicked off with a micro-test with one partner early last year, and facilitated over US$500,000 in disbursements to support trade businesses during the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic. In May 2021, it extended its solution to a closed beta with over US$300,000 disbursed to about 500 small businesses, all fully repaid. 

“Yes, we’ve so far achieved 100 per cent success repayment,” said Adewumi. 

“Today, we have gone further to sign up nine strategic partnerships which currently gives us a subscribed list of over 180,000 active retailers and suppliers to support with timely working capital and local purchase order invoicing.”

Trade Lenda is not the only company working on this space, however, with the likes of Payhippo and Sycamore also active. Adewumi gave credit to those companies, but said most digital players focused more on consumers, or salary earners.

“We have created a niche for ourselves by focusing on MSMEs especially those within the retail and supply value chain,” he said.

“Our insights of the market and the opportunity can be traced to our deep insights working with retailers and suppliers to give them access to market. We saw the opportunity and decided to be the bridge towards unlocking the dividends of access to finance to secure trade for retailers and suppliers across emerging markets.”

Funded so far by debt and equity capital from a host of angels, Trade Lenda currently covers eight Nigerian states, and is working with various partners to fully cover the country before the end of this year.

“By first quarter 2023, we will explore expansion to other African countries, preferably with the same demography as Nigeria,” said Adewumi.

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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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