Lupiya, a microfinance startup founded by Evelyn and Muchu Kaingu has received an investment of US$1 million from Enygma Ventures, a US Venture Capital (VC) fund.
Founded in 2015, Lupiya is an online marketplace for microloans. It leverages technology to make the process of borrowing simpler and easier for people and businesses located across Zambia.
Lupiya provides pre-approved loans with reliable repayment schedules and low-interest rates. With a digital platform accessible via mobile application and website, rural, isolated and unbanked communities can have access to loans and financial services. Loans are tailored to either personal, business or for women and are issued via an e-wallet.
Financial inclusion in Zambia
70% of adults in Zambia do not have access to formal financial services. Commercial banks in the country aren’t very big and mostly serve businesses, organisations and government institutions. Naturally, these banks aren’t options for private financing due to huge collateral requirements.
Zambia has one of the lowest bank accounts to population ratio in Africa. It also has one of the lowest bank penetrations in the world. Interest rate in the country is currently 8%
Microfinance institutions in the country would have been a great option but they too end up demanding for huge collaterals and even bigger interest rates. This is because their operating costs end up being larger than the volume of business they carry out. Moreover, MFI’s are too small, less than 5% of bank population, to help bank the unbanked.
Lupiya’s goal is to improve on the traditional financial institutions by providing this 70% of unbanked and underserved Zambians access to financial services by 2022.
Muchu Kaingu, co-founder of Lupiya, said that the investment is fundamental to aiding the startup in reaching its goal and impacting the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
“This investment will enable us to continue ensuring Zambians can easily access financial services when they need them. We are excited to work with Enygma in transforming the economic outlook of the SADC region.”
We are thrilled with this investment, it has come at the right time in the interesting financial climate many businesses are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemicEvelyn Kaingu, Chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Lupiya
Providing finance for Zambian women
Lupiya stands out from other fintech startups in a number of ways. One of them is its promotion of Financial Liberation of Women in Zambia. Lupiya for women is tailored to provide management training and start-up best practices for small scale businesses run by women.
Through this medium, Lupiya provides an opportunity for financing to women without financial assets to progress economically.
In previous fundings, Enygma Ventures have shown particular interest in female entrepreneurs. Sarah Dusek, managing partner and co-founder of the ventures expresses her expectations in improving the lives of female business owners in Zambia through this initiative.
We are excited to partner with Lupiya to make an extraordinary difference to the lives of particularly female Zambian business owners, who run small and medium sized businesses. We believe the access to capital is a key strategic initiative to enable job creation, enterprise stimulus and in turn economic growth.Sarah Dusek, managing partner and co-founder of Enygma Ventures
With this initiative, we anticipate the growth of more female-owned businesses in Africa.
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