Smallholder farmers in rural communities face challenges of access to finance their small agricultural projects. As a result, they organize themselves informally in Village Savings and Loan Association groups (VSLAs). They hold savings and credit meetings every week in groups of 30 people on average, where each person saves as little as $0.30, kept in metallic boxes and usually held by VSLA leaders for safekeeping. These vulnerable groups face challenges such as low savings, monetary theft and insecurity, improper record keeping, and lack of awareness as a result of high illiteracy levels. Another common issue is that a farmer’s financial records can be altered by others, affecting the accuracy and security of financial information for smallholder farmers.
AKABOXI is a digital financial inclusion system that enables smallholder farmers in rural communities to manage and monitor their financial savings together. It provides communities with a robust and secure way of handling savings using a digitalized financial inclusion system, which is an easier, more reliable way to monitor savings and transactions. AKABOXI digitally manages the financial records of these smallholder farmers, fills their financial gap, and helps engage partners to provide cheap and affordable agricultural inputs, access to ready market links, and low insurance premiums.
In Uganda, there are many financial technology companies tackling financial exclusion, but all of them except AKABOXI have failed to reach people in the last-mile. The formal financial institutions are still restricted by traditional stringent banking conditions which these smallholder farmers cannot afford, including collateral requirements, proper records, and a good credit history. AKABOXI empowers excluded Ugandans in finance by ensuring that these issues are addressed and their money is secure by enabling VSLA groups to open accounts in formal financial institutions to reap benefits like insurance.
Partnered with Zoora Centre For Empowerment Limited, Ondernemers Voor Ondernemers (OVO), Save the Children International, Enable Youth Uganda, and SASAKAWA GLOBAL 2000.
Won Prize D4D, a biennial initiative of the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA), for the “iStartUp” Category of Innovation.
Runner up of Seed Awards 2021 with Eco-Inclusive Impacts
Resources to increase digitization of saving groups. AKABOXI will do this through distribution of hand-held devices that enable enrollment of new groups onto Akaboxitech.
Publicity to grow user platform and ultimately increase subscription fees.
Mentorship for coaching in financial management, equity financing, raising funds, and increasing revenue
Partnerships with financial institutions for innovative opportunities in their financial services
Resources to increase AKABOXI’s fintech capacity, such as fast uptime runners and cloud hosting services