Ghanaian startups Boost and KudiGo have been selected for Catalyst Fund’s Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator programme, and have secured $120,000 to enable them better serve informal SMEs and grow their businesses which have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both Boost Ghana and KudiGo are focused on enabling small retailers grow by easing their business administration, digitizing business administration, digitizing operations, improving access to working capital, and reducing the cost of doing business, while providing suppliers with efficient access to MSE customers on the ground.

Aside from the $120,000 in capital funding, the two startups will receive expert-led, well-tailored venture acceleration support. They will also be granted access to Catalyst Fund’s growing global Circle of Investors and Circle of Corporate Innovators, and In-market expertise from MEST.

In her remark, Jane del Ser, programme director for the Catalyst Fund Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator explained that “MSEs are the backbone of Ghana’s economy, representing about 80 per cent of the MSME sector and employing over 50 per cent of Ghanaians. Within the MSE sector, informal work is predominant and contributes to 90 per cent of employment,”

“Following the COVID-19 crisis, micro and small enterprises in particular lack access to a financial safety net, which significantly impacts their livelihoods and ability to do business. As most transactions and records occur offline, these businesses also lack digital financial records that can grant them access to the working capital they need to survive. Both Boost Ghana and KudiGo present digital solutions that have the potential to significantly impact the livelihoods of thousands of informal MSE owners.”

Boost Ghana is tackling this problem by enabling underserved small businesses in Ghana to order stock digitally at the best wholesale prices, and receive efficient, same-day deliveries. For suppliers, they provide direct access to last-mile retail customers at scale, providing critical data and reducing the cost of distribution.

Meanwhile, KudiGo provides a holistic retail management solution for small business owners, including inventory management, CRM, mobile money payments and a digital storefront, enabling businesses to build a digital footprint and access financial services more easily. They also offer their MSE customers last-mile delivery via partners.

The Catalyst Fund Inclusive Digital Commerce accelerator is managed by BFA Global, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program and the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST).

In addition to working with Boost and KudiGo, the Catalyst Fund team aims to grow the wider digital commerce ecosystem, by partnering with corporate innovators and investors who can help these companies scale, in an effort to create a more enabling investment and business environment.