Mamamoni secures €200,000 to scale its agent network

Mamamoni secures €200,000 to scale its agent network. Nigerian Fintech startup has just secured €200,000 in funding from the Challenge For Youth Employment (CFYE).

Mamamoni Secures €200,000

Mamamoni Secures €200,000

The Centre for Financial Inclusion, Empowerment, and Entrepreneurship (CFYE), funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has collaborated with prominent organizations such as SheLeads Africa, ReelFruit, Utiva, Stutern, and Co-Creation Hub in Nigeria, establishing a diverse portfolio of over 30 businesses across Africa.

Recently, Mamamoni, a Nigerian-based initiative founded in 2014 by Nkem Okocha, secured funding from CFYE, which will be disbursed over a two-year period and contingent upon the organization’s achievement of specific milestones. The allocated funds are earmarked for the expansion of Mamamoni’s network of female agents, with VFD Microfinance Bank playing a pivotal role in facilitating this endeavor.

Aim and Objectives of Mamamoni

Mamamoni’s inception aimed to empower low-income women in Nigeria by equipping them with the necessary skills to attain financial independence. Initially focusing on providing micro-loans to support their businesses, sourced from individuals and investment clubs, the initiative encountered challenges in meeting the escalating demand for loans. Consequently, it transitioned to collaborating with financial partners to facilitate the provision of these loans.

In a significant strategic shift in 2022, Mamamoni adopted an agency banking model, deploying 500 female agents across ten states in Nigeria. This network of agents now processes over ₦3 billion monthly, reflecting the initiative’s substantial impact and growth in empowering women economically across the country.

“We decided to go the route of female-only because that is what we do as an organization; we empower women. Also, we’ve gone into some communities where women are unable to conduct financial transactions because the agents are male and, due to cultural or religious barriers, are unable to walk up to them.”

The Proliferation of Agency Banking

The proliferation of agency banking has been instrumental in advancing Nigeria’s financial inclusion agenda, with startups and banks collectively onboarding nearly 2 million agents nationwide.

One persistent challenge within this sector has been the cost associated with providing point-of-sale (PoS) terminals. Financial institutions have often resorted to subsidizing the acquisition cost or offering flexible repayment options to alleviate this burden.

Recognizing that its target market may face challenges in affording these terminals, Mamamoni, the fintech initiative, has adopted a unique approach. Instead of requiring agents to purchase PoS terminals outright, Mamamoni provides them with the terminals following the payment of a caution fee.

While the exact amount of this fee remains undisclosed, Nkem Okocha, the founder of Mamamoni, clarified that not all agents are required to pay it. This innovative strategy ensures that Mamamoni can extend its services to a broader segment of the population, particularly those who may face financial constraints.

“What we’re very particular about is that we want to create an opportunity for these women to start earning, so for some of our early agents, we gave out these devices for free,” she stated.

Hurdles and Draw Backs Faced By the Company

The considerable expense associated with acquiring PoS terminals has indeed posed a significant hurdle, impeding the fintech’s efforts to expand its reach among women. Despite this challenge, Mamamoni remains steadfast in its commitment to empowering more women, leveraging the Mamamoni Foundation as a key vehicle for outreach.

Through the Mamamoni Foundation, the initiative extends its impact by providing training opportunities for low-income women. These training programs, conducted through in-person sessions and facilitated by the SheSABI app, equip women with essential skills and knowledge. Additionally, the foundation serves as an onboarding platform for Mamamoni’s agents, ensuring that they undergo comprehensive training before commencing their roles as mobile banking agents.

The Mamamoni Foundation Offers Health Insurance Coverage

As part of its holistic approach to empowering women, the Mamamoni Foundation offers health insurance coverage for specific illnesses at an affordable cost, starting from as little as ₦1,000. This initiative, facilitated through strategic partnerships, underscores Mamamoni’s commitment to addressing the broader needs of the communities it serves. Notably, access to this insurance is exclusively available through Mamamoni agents, further incentivizing the utilization of its services.

Despite receiving relatively modest funding, totaling less than $100,000 from organizations such as the Tony Elumelu Foundation and Seedstars, Mamamoni’s founder, Nkem Okocha, emphasizes that its model primarily operates as a social enterprise. Consequently, the initiative may not always align with the investment criteria of conventional investors. Nonetheless, Mamamoni remains resolute in its mission to drive positive social impact and empower women across Nigeria.

“It’s not fancy for investors because it requires a lot of patient capital, and the market that we serve is high-risk. Many people trust Mamamoni and Nkem Okocha, the founder, but are worried about the ability of the women we work with to repay,” she further explained.

Mamamoni’s Initiatives Have Positively Impacted Over 50,000 Women since Inception

Over the years, Mamamoni’s initiatives have positively impacted over 50,000 women, and according to Okocha, the fintech aims to amplify its efforts in the forthcoming years. Its strategic goals include expanding the agent network to encompass over 2,000 women by the conclusion of 2024.

Additionally, Mamamoni has introduced Herpay, a payment application tailored to women from diverse social and economic backgrounds. Through Herpay, the fintech intends to offer reduced transaction fees and aims to onboard 500,000 women by the end of 2024.



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