Boost Technology, a retailer-first e-commerce platform, has been announced as one of eight global winners of Strive Community’s inaugural round of its Innovation Fund.
Boost Technology, a company working with retail entrepreneurs across Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa, will receive a grant of US$125,000 towards their work trialling a new service (Project IKE) that combines data analysis, behavioural science and conversational commerce to provide small retailers with customer insights making them more resilient.
Boost Technology celebrates the opportunity presented by the Innovation Fund grant, enabling it to trial Project IKE in Nigeria before replicating it in Ghana and South Africa. Koye Oyeyinka, Co-Founder and CCO of Boost Technology, said, “Strive Community’s support will allow Boost to design and test a new digital service that empowers micro and small convenience retailers with business insights. The prize will allow us to extend our R&D capacity and accelerate the launch of retailer-facing features to power the growth of our small business users.”
Small businesses, like the ones being supported by Boost Technology’s innovations, are essential agents of inclusive growth, with estimates indicating that 70% of total employment worldwide are provided by small economic units. This is even more prevalent in low-income countries, with around 90% of employment stemming from businesses with under 10 employees.
Boost Technology, alongside the seven other awardees, is transforming how small businesses operate – and are supported – in a world that is rapidly digitizing.
The inaugural round of the Innovation Fund awarded seven other innovative, digital, data-first projects from around the globe, totalling $1 million in grants.
The other innovative ideas being supported by the Innovation Fund include creating virtual reality experiences to upskill small businesses in Brazil’s favelas, building positive money habits for individuals and small businesses, and streamlining access to credit for small businesses.
Strive Community is a global program launched by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, in partnership with Caribou Digital.
The program is focused on strengthening the resilience of small businesses and supporting their growth. The Innovation Fund was established to spark truly innovative, digital, and data-first solutions that will boost small businesses’ efforts to go digital.
“Digital technologies are rapidly transforming the way businesses interact with their customers, with their employees, and with a global marketplace,” said Shamina Singh, President of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.
“These Innovation Fund grantees are all introducing creative solutions that have potential to not only ease the challenges of digitization for small businesses but unlock its promise, enabling them to grow and thrive.”
The two winning organisations from across Africa, which were chosen from more than 650 applicants globally, are as follows:
- Novek, Kenya
- An Internet-of-Things enabled dispensing machine for powder-based goods, to reduce stock outs, increase sales by dispensing in quantities customers can afford, and eliminate single-use packaging
- Boost Technology Ltd, South Africa, Nigeria
- Trialling a new service that combines data analysis, behavioural science and conversational commerce to empower small retailers with insights to make them more resilient.
The other winners hail from Latin America and South East Asia, and are as follows:
- Flourish FI, Brazil
- Using behavioral insights, open banking data combined with tried & tested game-mechanics to drive improved financial management and financial decision-making by small business owners.
- XR Global, Brazil
- Testing the potential of virtual reality (VR) to upskill small businesses, by bringing learners into immersive experiences.
- Open Contracting Partnership, USA/Colombia
- Creating a marketplace that leverages open data about government contract awards to seamlessly connect small businesses winning contracts with financial institutions who can offer them credit.
- FUNDES & Argidius, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Colombia
- Connecting traditional merchants to the most appropriate digitization tools by creating a marketplace.
- ChatGenie, Philippines
- Building new features that reduce friction in the sales process for small businesses selling via social commerce. The solution also enables management of multiple social commerce channels within a single app.
- Boost Capital, Cambodia
- Scaling up smartphone enabled loans and financial education, and jumpstarting the creation of a virtuous cycle in which businesses which engage in digital financial education are rewarded with better access to financial services.
Small businesses can learn more about the Strive Community, funding, and partnership opportunities by visiting www.strivecommunity.org and signing up to receive email updates.