A significant part of Kenya’s economy is fueled by informal businesses, which contribute 33.8% to the country’s GDP and account for about 83.4% of the total jobs created outside of small-scale agriculture.
This was revealed in most recent data from the country’s bureau of statistics. The part these enterprises is vital to national economy, yet they remain underserved by traditional lenders, making it difficult for them to access the financing needed to scale their businesses.
On the other hand, the financing vacuum left by these traditional lenders has provided ample room for innovative solutions. This is what has ushered in the rise of financial technology firms such as Asilimia.
Over the past theee years, the Kenyan startup has been providing small business owners the lifeline they, making it possible for them to make mobile money transactions without unnecessary transfer charges (through its Leja app).
Asilimia has now received US$2 million in pre-seed funding (US$1 million equity and US$1 million debt), and can now forge ahead into its next phase of growth, which involves extending loans to traders offering more relief to this subgroup that has been largely castigated by the traditional banking sector.
The funding was raised through commitments from various investors, including Fredrik Jung Abbou, a two-time unicorn founder and Norrsken Impact Accelerator, while the debt round had the participation of French Public Investment Bank (Bpifrance) and GreenTec Capital Partners.
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