Do you know “moWoza”?
This time, I would really like to introduce moWoza which is a remarkable startup providing a sophisticated ICT (Information and Communication Technology) system and business model to create a efficient mobile-commerce market and more efficient way of shopping and delivering in Africa. They are getting a change agent of the community they are approaching right now.
moWoza was founded Suzana Moreira in 2009 at the cusp of the African mobile revolution. It started from actual event she witnessed on a field.
In traveling to Ceuta, North Africa, she witnessed the hardships of the ladies who carry goods from Ceuta to Morrocco. These ladies are referred to as the ‘Ceuta Mules’ because they carry up to as much as 80kg of goods on their back. The goods are strapped to their backs and they can’t stand upright from the weight, some manage a few journeys but risk permanent damage to their frames. While the problem of ladies hauling such large loads is not common across other African regions, the issue of accessing products, especially staple food and hygienic products remains. Most commerce in Africa happens on the secondary market and customers are subject to many exploitative practices that now are present in the entire value chain.
Generally, their primary customers are migrant workers who really struggle to get goods to their families in hard condition. And their problem is that they spend a lot of time and money trying to organize the parcels to be sent to their family members as mentioned at the story. They send goods back to their family members because goods can be purchased cheaply in the bigger cities. There is a far better selection and quality of goods in cities than in the rural areas. The actual delivery of goods is not always guaranteed because of the conditions of the roads, crime and corruption at border crossings. While sending Western Union or other remittances is of no use as these are too expensive and lots of Africans in rural areas do not have the relevant documentation. There is also the risk that if the family does receive money, it might not be used for the correct things. There are lots of stories of people drinking the money away, buying expensive clothing or simply being victims of crime when they cash the remittance.
The key point of their solution is mobile phones which are changing the way Africans live and do business. The mobile market in itself is expanding globally, particularly in the region so that the opportunity is growing and will make their business successful.
So their start-up is centered around a mobile system which allows their customers to shop for the goods they need, pay and have the goods delivered to a point close to where their family lives. They are offering the customer a wide variety of products, stable prices and a guaranteed delivery to a predetermined place. They mentioned about more details of this here .
They are building a sustainable and effective business-module to solve the specified problem because they leverage tools which the community already have, these will make their daily activities more efficient. For example, they recruit community members as agents who to operate some of their business such as teaching how to use the system to the community people. This model is quite important as it shows a good case of social business which can make a decent profit.
Suzana decided to address some of the big challenges that her customers face. moWoza was born from her and her team’s strong passion to ensure that everyone engages in the mobile revolution. I believe their team’s experiences, knowledge, and passion going to make this start-up successful.
Another important thing should be mentioned here is that now they are joining “Unreasonable Institute 2012” which is a highly competitive accelerator program as a Finalist.
If you find something inspiring, you can help them in the competition web-site called “Unreasonable Institute marketplace” where you can find this interesting project, moWoza and donate for them.
May be, this is good timing to rethink any problems in developing country and do something for solving them with an effective way like moWoza is trying.
facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/moWoza/169091736305?sk=wall