Meet our portfolio start-ups: Ensibuuko

According to the FinScope 2018 survey, only three per cent of adults in Uganda had borrowed from a commercial bank in the 12 months prior to the survey and 11 per cent of adult savers had done so through a commercial bank. In contrast, approximately 50 per cent of adults who borrow and save do so informally through Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs), Village Savings and Credit Associations (VSLAs) or other informal channels. These informal groups often rely heavily on rudimentary manual practices that are prone to inefficiency, human error and fraud. Paper records are the default solution for documenting accounts and tracking transactions.

Since most SACCOs and VSLAs operate in cash, members who are unable to attend their group meetings have no means of making cash contributions or receiving group updates. The cash-based approach also means savings associations must either store cash contributions in a safe or deposit it in a bank. Both options are risky, cumbersome, labour intensive, and undermine the ability of these groups to increase financial inclusion for the underbanked and unbanked.

To address these challenges, Ensibuuko launched its Mobis service in 2014. Mobis provides savings and lending groups with the option to manage their records digitally. The mobile-enabled solution helps groups become more transparent and accountable, which in turn puts them in a better position to receive financing from third parties. Mobis also increases the productivity and operational efficiency of the groups by reducing costs. It leverages existing mobile money services (MTN Mobile Money and Airtel Money) so that individual group members can conduct financial transactions, such as withdrawals, deposits or loan repayments, without having to be physically present.

The Ecosystem Accelerator programme is supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Australian Government, the GSMA and its members.