Meet the Entrepreneurs
moWoza November 2013
Offering marginalized populations secure, convenient, and efficient access to essential goods
+27 72 0430891
Suzana Moreira, Founder, Mozambique
CHALLENGE A number of African regions are confronted with shortages of essential goods, especially rural areas where the poor have very limited product options at unaffordable prices. To obtain goods from other sources requires traveling long distances and incurring further costs. Many individuals decide to become microentrepreneurs, selling the most sought after products to their rural communities, while others decide to move into urban areas for better opportunities. Both of these choices normally lead to participation in the informal economy. Micro-traders and low-income migrant workers rely on informal supply chains to access and distribute products. These informal supply chains are fraught with exploitation, criminal activity, and inefficiencies.
“THIS IS A BIG SOCIO-ECONOMIC CHALLENGE: PEOPLE WHO RELY ON INFORMAL SUPPLY CHAINS ARE BEING EXPLOITED.”
BUSINESS MODEL moWoza’s customers are African migrants who are based in Southern, East, and West Africa. moWoza relies on an agent network to market the application on the ground and to support customers when registering and placing orders. To build up its agent network, moWoza collaborates with community organizations such as church networks and informal savings groups. Orders are distributed through cooperatives and associations. Currently, only non-perishable foodstuffs such as rice, maize, sugar, and pasta can be ordered and shipped. The revenue model is transaction-based, meaning a certain percentage of each transaction is captured by moWoza as revenue. There is no fee associated with the registration.
IDEA Across her travels throughout Africa, moWoza founder Suzana Moreira came up with the idea of leveraging the increased access and usage of mobile technology among Africans to provide the poor in rural areas with an opportunity to purchase crucial goods. Together with a small team, Suzana carried out trial runs with a focus group of Mozambicans located in South Africa. The focus group was using basic SMS to place orders and community members collected payments from the initial ‘customers.’ The feedback provided by the focus group was key for Suzana when developing the mobile application, as well as to address logistics and communication issues arising during the trial runs. Currently, moWoza’s mobile application allows users to order products via their mobile device, receive updates on the transaction via SMS, and select the final destination for their goods. The order can be picked up by the recipient at a specific dropoff point.
“ALTHOUGH MANY PEOPLE USE MOBILE TECHNOLOGY TO SEND MONEY, I REALIZED THAT THERE WAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SEND GOODS AS WELL.”
WORKING WITH infoDev
Develop a financially sustainable transactionbased business model
• GET TO KNOW THE NEEDS OF YOUR CUSTOMERS: Spend a lot of time with your customers to learn what they need and how your product can fulfill that need.
Continue developing new partnerships with suppliers Begin mapping an informal physical supply chain onto a digital grid
• BUILD GENUINE RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS: It is very important to build trust with your customer base. The stronger the trust between you and your customers, the higher the likelihood that your business will succeed.
Introduce new product categories to the current list of goods that can be ordered and delivered
• PARTICIPATING IN infoDev’s MOBILE STARTUP CAMP IN WASHINGTON, D.C. in November 2013, enabled moWoza to network with entrepreneurs from across the world as well as with public and private institutions. This allowed the entrepreneur to secure key contacts, resulting in collaborative efforts and mutually beneficial partnerships. Among others, moWoza was able to connect with the World Bank Trade and Economic Development team. • HIGH-PROFILE MENTORS assisted moWoza, encouraging the startup to pursue its business model.
KEY OUTCOMES VALUE FOR USERS Safe and convenient service: moWoza allows customers to purchase goods in a cost-efficient, timely, and secure manner through mobile technology. Therefore, customers are able to avoid slow, dangerous, and expensive alternatives. Strong technical support and easy-to-use services: moWoza provides users with both technical support and easy-to-use online shopping services that can be used by consumers from different income levels. Obtain formerly inaccessible goods: Individuals living in remote rural areas benefit the most because they are able to obtain goods that were once inaccessible.
BUSINESS FACTS JOBS TO BE CREATED
CUSTOMERS TO BE REACHED
entrepreneurs, micro and SME’s in cross-border trade (until 2016)
migrant workers (until 2016)
(with an import and export commodity trader, FMCG supplier, mobile wallet provider, a banking partner, a logistics company)
Maputo Living Labs, JoziHub, African Angel Network, and The Centre for Finance, Law and Policy at Boston University