Model & Strategy
Numida is building the trusted suite of digital and financial products that enable African small businesses to thrive. Numida helps entrepreneurs turn their subsistence businesses into growth businesses by getting them to ditch pen and paper and digitize their operations. Through their mobile app small business owners can manage their inventory, cash flows, and employees while at the same time gaining insight into their business operations: what they are buying, from whom, for how much; what they are selling, to whom, and for how much. Numida uses these unique datasets to credit score entrepreneurs and offer them customized, convenient, and unsecured working capital loans within 24 hours.
Numida is led by co-CEOs Mina Shahid and Catherine Denis, who are both based in Uganda and share management responsibilities. Mina co-founded Numida after nearly 8 years of working in sub-Saharan Africa on systemic problems that keep people poor. As a market development strategist with Engineers Without Borders Canada Mina consulted large aid projects on how to create more value for smallholder farmers in Ghana and Uganda. From this experience, he co-founded his first social enterprise, Kulemela which provided working capital debt to small agribusinesses that had a food security focus. Through Kulemela, it became clear to Mina that small business owners had poor financial management skills which meant that they were unable to effectively invest capital to grow their business. It was from the failure of Kulemela in 2015 that Mina, along with co-founders Catherine Denis and Ben Best came up with the idea of using mobile technology to help African small business owners improve their financial management.
Catherine focused her energy during her undergrad to rally fellow students on campus to care about and get involved in solving global issues of inequality with Engineers Without Borders Canada. Upon graduation, she worked with a provincial farmer cooperative in Burkina Faso to support and strengthen the management team in order to improve and deepen the reach of their services to farmers. Her passion for investing in people then led her to head EWB’s accelerated leadership development program across West and Southern Africa, exposing her to a wider sample of development efforts of varying effectiveness. This motivated her to pursue an MPA in International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School, where she learned about the critical role of small businesses to drive job creation and economic development, simultaneously growing her desire to leverage the private sector to drive social change. After getting her feet wet launching another social enterprise in Rwanda, she jumped on the opportunity to build Numida, which uniquely leveraged her combination of skills and passions.
Since launching in June 2017, Numida has provided $725,000 of unsecured credit to more than 1,700 Ugandan small businesses, 36% of which are led by women.
Numida clients increase their median monthly revenue by 32% and double their full-time, paid staff within six months.
Testimonial – “Before Numida, I didn’t know how much I was earning and spending per day but now I am on track, no more money lenders, with Numida no queuing in line and no guarantors. Numida is a class above. Money lenders, kindly, if you don’t see me on (your) door steps, Numida saved me from your jaws, that is why business is prospering these days. Numida forever.” – Matanda Caxton, $5200 invested