NAIROBI, Kenya, November 16 – Small businesses will have access to digital payment solutions and collection services through Cellulant, a pan-African payment provider.
As part of an agreement with Solv Kenya, a Standard Chartered-backed marketplace for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), the platform will allow them to reconcile, receive and view payments in a single system.
It comes after a 2021 report by the Kenya Bankers Association showed that MSMEs employ over 15 million Kenyans, supporting the country’s economy as well as livelihoods.
However, they struggle to access finance due to limited and unclear information from financiers on their operations.
“Processing and tracking transactions has always been a problem for many small businesses and financial institutions have to deal with this shortcoming,” said Sheila Kimani-Omukuba, CEO of Solv Kenya.
“This partnership gives us the ability to run financial services faster and more efficiently to support their day-to-day operations, which supports our goal of using digital capabilities to improve MSME profitability, enable growth and operational efficiency” , she added.
So far, over 5,000 MSMEs and over ten multinational companies have joined Solv Kenya. The company expects to sign 10,000 companies by the end of the year.
“Over the past two years, the adoption of our products has increased significantly as we continue to provide SMEs across Africa with online and offline payment solutions,” said David Waithaka, chief revenue officer of the Cellulant group.
“By offering multiple frictionless payment methods, businesses can realize increased sales and a growing customer base. Today, we are excited to partner with Solv to bring these solutions to MSMEs on their platform and work together to their growth,” he added.
Kenyan MSMEs remain untapped when it comes to digital payments, but they are the engine of the economy.
“The challenge of access to finance for MSMEs has ripple effects throughout the economy. We go beyond offering payment solutions – combining payment processing with other solutions to deliver increased value to businesses,” said Faith Nkatha, Head of Cellulant Kenya.
“This is an important partnership for us at Cellulant as it directly relates to our goals – enabling transparent payments, thereby accelerating economic growth across Africa.”
Cellulant joins a growing list of partners in the Solv Kenya portfolio. In the last three months of its pilot project, Solv Kenya has signed working partnerships with several companies, including BAT, Diageo, Procter and Gamble, Lafarge, Nestlé and Nokia.
Backers include Faulu Bank, Gulf African Bank, Standard Chartered Bank Kenya, Asante MFI and Zanifu MFI – with more partners from different sectors in the pipeline.
Through its supply chain finance solution, the platform aims to give over 100,000 Kenyan MSMEs access to finance by issuing over 10 billion shillings in working capital credit every year.