SmartMoney pioneers an innovative rural marketing, training and servicing model that overcomes the barriers preventing conventional financial services from reaching the vast underserved rural African market.
To date no organization has yet identified a sustainable model to deliver basic savings and payment services to remote rural communities. As such, there is no template for SmartMoney to follow. Instead, SmartMoney must discover, iterate and perfect methods for everything from recruiting and training a rural sales and servicing team to building trust and understanding among rural farmers, villagers and small business owners.
SmartMoney must understand from their broad array of rural stakeholders what financial services are needed most and then discover how best to deliver these financial services at the lowest possible cost.
SmartMoney must overcome barriers of culture and language, geography (vast low density areas with mountains, rivers, deserts), infrastructure (limited electricity and roads), anti-competitive telecom practices, regulatory ambiguity and a general lack of education and professional experience among available local recruits – not easy barriers to overcome.
It is precisely because of this complex combination of seemingly insurmountable barriers that rural financial inclusion has remained to this day an intractable problem, despite the significant historical attention and funding of leading development institutions from the United Nations to the Gates Foundation. Indeed, the barriers to entry for rural financial inclusion are very high — but we believe that the rewards for overcoming these barriers are even higher.
At SmartMoney, our focus is on execution, execution, execution. As a fast growing and nimble innovator, every new idea is quickly evaluated and implemented in the field. Ideas that work are immediately incorporated into our model. Ideas that don’t work are iterated until they do or quickly discarded. Such experimentation requires purpose, persistence, patience and passion – qualities that our team prides itself on.