Unilever has teamed up with Mastercard to develop a digital lending initiative named Jaza Duka in Kenya, following a successful pilot in the country.
The initiative is aimed at helping micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries to get credit, with distribution data results from Unilever and analysis from Mastercard on the amount of inventory a company has brought from the company being used to create a micro-credit eligibility recommendation to Kenya Commercial Bank.
The move is designed to prevent entrepreneurs turning to informal lenders as a result of banks needing formal credit history or collateral.
Unilever and Mastercard have set a target of having 20,000 Kenyan kiosks enrolled in the scheme by the end of the year, with a view to expand into African and Asian countries.
Ajay Banga, CEO Mastercard, said, “There’s an opportunity to set these businesses up for long-term growth by bringing together the tools and data from different industries to change the model of small business financing. We invite other companies and private sector leaders to join us in this collaborative approach and create a true network effect that will bring down barriers and trigger change.”
Program participants are being offered training on how to manage finances, inventory and planning regarding supply and demand, while also being advised on marketing and sales. Companies already enrolled are said to have grown their Unilever sales by 20 percent.