Through a string of recent initiative launches, partnerships, and investments, the global bank Mastercard continues to actively contribute towards the wellbeing of Africa’s mirco-euntrepenuers and SMEs, whilst further facilitating their transition to digital financing.
Mastercard has made it its mission to support African SMEs across numerous industries through the deployment of equally as numerous initiatives and campaigns. The past year has seen the continent’s SMEs faced with several challenges, which ultimately resulted in declining revenue, transactions, footfall, and employment; with the hospitality and tourism sector being especially hard-hit.
Considering the blows delivered to the hospitality sector, one such initiative that has the specific intention to support the industry is the bank’s SME Dining Series, which will support the small businesses of Abuja and Lagos, which is home to a combined 16 million people. The initiative calls on people who have an appreciation of local good food, to join Mastercard in supporting small businesses, local restaurants, and community livelihoods.
The SME Dining Series seeks to support and promote SMEs in Nigeria, as they build their businesses in response to the changing consumer behaviour, due to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic. The support and promotion of SMEs and local restaurants will be actioned by driving awareness to these local businesses.
The series will highlight favourite foods enjoyed by Nigerian diners, showing the variety of Nigeria’s culinary scene, in addition to encouraging diners to enjoy eating out on occasion, the campaign will also give consumers the chance to experience the Mastercard Priceless Delivery (a 7-course meal in a box delivered to winners), specially curated by Chef Eros in response to movement restrictions during the pandemic.
The partnership with locally acclaimed food enthusiast Chef Eros, owner of Ile Eros, Chef Amina Adegboro, owner of Pitstop who launched her restaurant in January 2020 and Chef Nkessi who owns HSE Gourmet restaurant conveys this important message as to the extent to which Mastercard supports these local businesses to enable them to thrive in the emerging new business environment.
“Consumers have a priceless opportunity to contribute to the economic and emotional well-being of their communities by supporting small local businesses. Great food is a passion for many people, and local restaurants will appreciate the chance to do what they do so well, while people can enjoy themselves – and do well by doing good,” comments Ifeoma Dozie, Director Marketing and Communications, Mastercard Sub-Saharan Africa. “Mastercard will continue to support small businesses with insights, data, online tools, digital payments, and cyber technology to weather the immense challenges of the past year.”
To spread their SME-friendly initiative evenly, Mastercard has expanded its relationship with the e-commerce platform Kasha Global Incorporated through direct investment. The companies will continue their shared efforts to ensure women across emerging markets have essential access to health and personal care products along with the information required to support everyday hygiene needs.
Combining online and offline capabilities, Kasha’s platform allows women across rural and urban locations to make confidential personal care orders. By utilising the full product catalogue available online, or by placing orders using basic mobile handsets, women can search, order, and pay for hygiene products that are discreetly delivered to them by local micro-entrepreneurs, thus also helping local store owners grow their business.
Mastercard’s investment is the next step on a journey that started in 2019, the year the platform joined Mastercard StartPath. Since joining the start-up engagement programme, Mastercard has worked with Kasha to integrate digital payment acceptance across its e-commerce platform, and most recently the partners joined forces to deliver virus, hygiene, and protection products to families across Kenya in efforts to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“Kasha’s goal is to ensure women in emerging markets get the products, information, and services they need for their health, self-care, and well-being” comments Joanna Bichsel, Kasha’s Founder and CEO. “I’m thrilled that we are continuing our collaboration with Mastercard and that we not only have a committed investor with shared values, but also an innovative partner as we continue to take Kasha’s development and growth to the next level.”
Mastercard’s activities with Kasha directly support the company’s pledge to bring 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025, with a direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions to help them grow their business.
“Mastercard works with governments, businesses, and entrepreneurs to help them achieve their ambitions and is committed to applying its resources to drive sustainable and inclusive growth,” added Raghav Prasad, Division President, Sub Saharan Africa, Mastercard. “Through our activities with Kasha, we’re leveraging Mastercard’s innovations, expertise, and partnerships to help drive the empowerment of women and small businesses. This partnership is a major step in our journey to support the fundamental needs of women and drive growth across African communities.”
Mastercard’s investment will help Kasha expand its current platform offering, reaching more women, communities, and small businesses than before, alongside developing Mastercard’s efforts to bolster support for micro-entrepreneurs and women-owned small businesses in Africa through the Mastercard Track Micro Credit Programme; which is known in Kenya as “Jaza Duka” (fill up your store in Swahili). By leveraging Mastercard and Kasha’s combined capabilities, in collaboration with global consumer goods and banking partners, the partners aim to positively impact historically underserved communities across Africa and beyond.