This is the story of Karen, a PesaKit agent paving the way for more female-led businesses in the country
Meet Karen Nyambura. She runs a mobile money agent business in Kenya which is her main source of income. Let’s take you through her story and learn about her pain points, her successes and her experiences with PesaKit.
“I run a small shop in Nairobi, selling household items. I began a mobile money business to become more financially secure and independent. Being able to contribute to the family finances is a matter of pride and joy for me. Every shilling counts when it comes to caring for your family and children.”
Mobile money has changed thousands of Kenyan households by providing business and employment opportunities. 2019 was a momentous year for the mobile money industry with over a billion registered accounts and close to USD2 billion in daily transactions, mobile money is evolving like never before. In Kenya, which has led the world in the expansion of these services and where 96 percent of households have a mobile money account, you can find an agent almost anywhere.
In Kenya, where mobile money transaction volume constitutes nearly 50% of GDP, there are 231,292 mobile money agents (Jan 2020, Central Bank of Kenya), and a population of 53.4 million. There is a mobile money agent for approximately every 231 people. These agents are able to reach large volumes of the population via a real human touchpoint, at a scale no other organizations can compete with.
Female agents play a pivotal role but they too have unique challenges to overcome. There is evidence that female agents improve acquisition and retention of both female and male customers. They tend to appeal more to women, who are half of the potential customer base. They have proven to offer enhanced customer service with higher activity rates than their male counterparts.
There is also evidence that recruiting female agents brings socio-economic benefits to the women, families and their communities. But, lack of sufficient float and increased competitiveness have largely affected women-owned agency business such as that of Karen through reduced productivity and diminished earnings.
“It’s more common than you think that I have to let my customers go, telling them “sina float”, (Swahili for “I don’t have float) and it has been very hard on my business. I stopped getting customers because they would assume I would not have cash on hand.”
“I began using PesaKit because of the PesaKit float loans. It has been a saving grace for my business as I can confidently serve new customers daily. I no longer tell my customers “sina float”, in fact, my slogan now is “float iko”. (Swahili for “I have sufficient float”).
Karen has also been using PesaKit Protect, our micro-insurance product, which covers an agent’s business against fire, theft, fraud and personal accidents at work.
This ensures protection from losses and enables them to bounce back from a catastrophe or an illness.
“My entire family is insured under PesaKit Protect, it is just another way PesaKit has positively impacted my life. I am able to do so much through one app, I have much more confidence in my business and in myself now.”
“Why I enjoy using PesaKit apart from the loan and insurance functions is how it enables me to earn extra income through the sale of essential financial services. I sell my customers airtime, KPLC tokens and pay their water bills and I earn a commission every time I make a sale. Since my business targets women, and a lot of them are homemakers, I get a lot of requests from them to pay their water and electricity bills.
PesaKit has helped me tap into a new way of earning income. I am confident that using the app, I will attract more customers. To every woman running an M-Pesa agent business in Kenya, I encourage you to register with PesaKit so that we can all grow together and contribute to our economy.”
Karen started her household shop in 2018, since introducing PesaKit’s services in her shop, Karen has been able to use her commissions to invest back in her business, make some necessary repairs to the shop and has slowly seen an increase in profits.
PesaKit is revolutionizing last-mile access to financial services and digital commerce through mobile money agents, for everyone, everywhere. We are a last mile agent network platform enabling digital and human interactions to accelerate digital commerce and financial inclusion. PesaKit currently operates in Kenya and Tanzania.
Our mission is to empower every mobile money agent across Africa to become the source of more affordable and convenient digital financial services, so they and their communities can grow and prosper.
PesaKit is recognized for its innovation in Kenya and beyond. PesaKit was a participating company in Catalyst Fund, a global inclusive fintech accelerator backed by JPMorgan Chase & Co., and UK Aid.
In 2019, PesaKit was the winner at the 3rd Digital Tech Excellence Awards as The Most Promising Agency Banking Tech Solutions Provider. PesaKit was also selected as a finalist in the AppsAfrica Changing Africa Awards and the Global Fintech Hackcelerator organized by the central banks of Kenya and Singapore. In March 2020, PesaKit was selected as a finalist in the Mondato Awards for Fintech Innovation in Africa.
In October 2020, PesaKit was selected as part of the 2020 Inclusive Fintech 50 cohort and received a Financial Resiliency cash prize of USD 25,000 for its efforts towards revolutionizing last mile financial and digital inclusion through mobile money agents.
PesaKit harnesses the power of cutting-edge technology, including artificial intelligence, combining it with human intelligence, a synergy that facilitates accuracy and consistency in delivering a variety of digital and financial services to improve the financial health of the underserved across Africa.