Some of the small-scale enterprises that have made the journey with us up to today
mPEX has evolved from the collaboration between RAVInvest and WebGate. Our experience over the last 15 years with networks of farmers, traders and small-scale processors in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, was gained by trying out ideas on the ground and learning by doing. Here is a timeline of the key milestones on our journey to mPEX.
2018 Preparing a Pilot Test of our Technology
Steps towards preparing our pilot project in Uganda focussed on contracting and implementation strategy. We developed a loan management tool to inform App user stories for both SME and bank users along with a local learning strategy to implement the pilot test. We amended our contract with SoftwareGroup, Nairobi, to build our App on top of their DigiWave platform for financial service applications. Contracting processes saw the AATIF Investment Committee approving the financing of the project, and the CFC Technical Assistance committee approving a consulting agreement between mPEX and AATIF. The year ended with the Tri-Partite Contribution Agreement between mPEX, Centenary Bank Uganda and AATIF in the process of signing off.
2017 Finding Strategic Partners and Investment
Our challenge for 2017 was to develop strategic partnerships and find financing for us to develop and test our new technology. We closed 2017 with: a Finance partners in AATIF/Deutsche Bank and Centenary Bank committed to finance a pilot project; a Technical partner in SoftwareGroup contracted to develop our mobile app; and development partners in the Uganda Investment Authority, Enterprise Uganda Foundation and the Ugandan Small Scale Industries Association committed to support the implementation of our pilot project.
2016 IBM Connect, Florida Presentation
The potential of the LLL and TSS cloud technologies to support the financial inclusion of small scale food processing business was confirmed. In response RAVInvest and WebGate established mPEX.
2015 Challenges with Loans to Run and Scale-up Businesses
TruTrade’s franchisees shared the challenges that small-scale processors have to obtain and manage loans to run and build their businesses. Plans for technology to resolve this challenge began.
2014 Launch of TruTrade
RAVInvest and its network of local entrepreneurs in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, established TruTrade to test the commercial viability of the TSS business model on a franchise basis. The TSS technology allowed small businesses to calculate viable deals, request financing and make mobile payments. All the entrepreneurs were mentored on the learning platform.
2012 Bridging the Finance Gap
To bridge the financing gap between farmers and buyers, RAVInvest developed a Cash-on-the-Bag financing system integrated into its Transaction Security Service (TSS) and used mobile money technology for payments to agents and farmers in rural areas.
2011 Building a Transaction Platform to Broker Deals
RAVInvest’s Transaction Security Service (TSS) trading platform was devised by pulling together all the important lessons learned by the networks; demands for prompt and fair payment to farmers, quality control, timely delivery to buyers and transparency for all the players. Software designed by WebGate allowed deals to be tracked and mentored.
2009 SMS and Market Information Boards
With the increase of mobile phone usage, market information spread further into rural areas. RAVInvest developed marketing information platforms receiving and sending price and commodity information between the main markets and the villages. AgriNet was one network that used this RAVInvest innovation very successfully.
2007 Market Access Companies
The power of market intelligence became clear. RAVInvest initiated Market Access Companies; these were marketing hubs in local towns in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, which supported the local farming groups to access markets at better prices.
2005 The First Mile
As part of the First Mile Project to bring better communications to rural areas in Tanzania, RAVInvest set up the first private Internet Café and gained understanding of how vital Internet access is to rural enterprise.
2002 Linking Local Learners (LLL) a Peer-to-Peer Internet Learning Platform
Through LLL our networks developed and tested different ways to manage agricultural trading businesses in a continuous learning process mentored by RAVInvest. One group involved in this learning was a farmers’ Self-Help group growing coffee.