Jamii.one – bridging digital and financial divides for small-scale entrepreneurs in Ethiopia

How do you connect unbanked people and communities in Ethiopia with the formal banking sector through a digital platform?

That is the core mission of JamiiOne, a Danish tech startup – and member of Techvelopment Denmark –  pushing for financial inclusion of especially women in the global south. A mission, which recently got them nominated for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2020 in the category Social Entrepreneurship – Future Impact.

Jamii.one works with low income communities to capture data about informal savings and loans to leverage this data for connecting unbanked communities with the formal banking sector.

Entrepreneurship is at the heart of Jamii.one, and most Jamii.one users are entrepreneurs. Jamii.one has designed a digital tool for local savings groups to administer their savings and loans activities and build creditworthiness. Besides being a handy digital platform, the app lays the foundation for access to formal financial services – currently for women in Ethiopia and with plans of expanding to other countries and communities in Africa.

Rebuilding business after lockdown

In December 2020, Jamii.one and their Ethiopian partners, Metemamen MFI, managed to distribute 150 entrepreneurs with loans equal to USD 20,000 after having supported them to build up an adequate record of financial information and making themselves adequate for a loan through the jamii.one app.

These loans can make a world of difference for small entrepreneurs trying to recover from the economic impacts of the corona pandemic. One of the entrepreneurs is Serkalem Alem, whose business was greatly impacted by changes in consumer behaviour and product demands. She was able to take a loan of USD 120 to adapt her business to the new reality, and has already started repaying it without difficulty.

Bridging the digital divide for refugees

More is to come for Jamii.One. During 2021, Jamii.one will provide its digital tool to 10 cooperatives and 500 savings groups in two refugee camps in Ethiopia, impacting up to 18,000 people in the camps. This is part of IDEA (Inclusive Digital Economies Action in Ethiopia), a project initiated by Jamii.one in partnership with NGOs ZOA and Wa-PYDO and funded by the UNCDF.

Do you want to know more? Go visit their website!