Boost Technology, a retailer-first e-commerce platform, has been announced as one of eight global winners of Strive Community’s inaugural round of its Innovation Fund, to receive a grant of US$125,000.
The company, working with retail entrepreneurs across Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa, will receive a grant towards their work trialling a new service (Project IKE) that combines data analysis, behavioural science and conversational commerce to provide small retailers with customer insights to make them more resilient.
Mr Koye Oyeyinka, Co-Founder and CCO of Boost Technology, in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency said: “Strive Community's support will allow Boost to design and test a new digital service that empowers micro and small convenience retailers with business insights.
“The prize will allow us to extend our R&D capacity and accelerate the launch of retailer-facing features to power the growth of our small business users.”
Small businesses like those being supported by Boost Technology’s innovations, he said, were essential agents of inclusive growth, with estimates indicating that 70 per cent of total employment worldwide was provided by small economic units.
Mr Oyeyinka said that was more prevalent in low-income countries, with around 90 per cent of employment stemming from businesses with less than 10 employees.
Boost Technology alongside the seven other awardees was transforming how small businesses operated and were supported in a world that was rapidly digitising.
The inaugural round of the Innovation Fund awarded seven other innovative, digital, data-first projects from around the globe, totalling one million dollar in grants, the statement said.
The other innovative ideas being supported by the Fund were creating virtual reality experiences to upskill small businesses in Brazil’s favelas, building positive money habits for individuals and small-businesses, and streamlining access to credit for small-businesses.
Strive Community is a global programme launched by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, in partnership with Caribou Digital.
It is focused on strengthening the resilience of small businesses and supporting their growth.
The Innovation Fund, on the other hand, was established to spark truly innovative, digital, and data-first solutions to boost small businesses’ efforts to go digital.
Madam Shamina Singh, President of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, said digital technologies were rapidly transforming the way businesses interacted with their customers, employees, and a global marketplace.
“These Innovation Fund grantees are all introducing creative solutions that have potential to not only ease the challenges of digitisation for small businesses, but unlock its promise, enabling them to grow and thrive,” she added.
Boost Technology celebrates the opportunity presented by the Innovation Fund grant, enabling it to trial Project IKE in Nigeria before replicating it in Ghana and South Africa, the statement said.
It noted that the two winning organisations from across Africa, which were chosen from more than 650 applicants globally, are Novek, Kenya - an Internet-of-Things enabled dispensing machine for powder-based goods, to reduce stock outs, increase sales by dispensing in quantities customers can afford, and eliminate single-use packaging
The other is Boost Technology Ltd, South Africa, Nigeria - Trialling a new service that combines data analysis, behavioural science and conversational commerce to empower small retailers with insights to make them more resilient.
Other winners hailing from Latin America and South East Asia are Flourish FI, Brazil that use behavioral insights, open banking data combined with tried & tested game-mechanics to drive improved financial management and financial decision-making by small business owners and XR Global, Brazil that tests the potential of virtual reality (VR) to upskill small businesses, by bringing learners into immersive experiences.
Some are Open Contracting Partnership, USA/Colombia – that creates a marketplace that leverages open data about government contract awards to seamlessly connect small businesses winning contracts with financial institutions who can offer them credit and FUNDES & Argidius, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Colombia – that connects traditional merchants to the most appropriate digitization tools by creating a marketplace.
Another is ChatGenie, Philippines – builders of new features that reduce friction in the sales process for small businesses selling via social commerce. The solution also enables management of multiple social commerce channels within a single app.
The last is Boost Capital, Cambodia – that scales up smartphone enabled loans and financial education, and jumpstarting the creation of a virtuous cycle in which businesses which engage in digital financial education are rewarded with better access to financial services.
The statement encouraged small businesses to learn more about the Strive Community, funding, and partnership opportunities by visiting www.strivecommunity.org and signing up to receive email updates.