Small businesses undoubtedly find it difficult to find credit and Bloom impact is looking to change that. The startup, which was registered in Ghana and the US earlier last year, runs a mobile platform that links Ghanaian small businesses to financial products such as savings and cheque and credit cards. Through their data driven matching and scoring mechanism, Bloom Impact provides financial service providers with new, qualified customers, significantly reducing their customer acquisition costs. Their aim is to democratize how unbanked and underserved micro and small businesses get financial services that best meet their needs.
The company launched its beta minimum viable product (MVP) in the Google play store in August last year and currently has over 600+ downloads with over 80% active usage and several hundred applications from small business owners. To-date 65% of applicants are women and 58% have never had a formal bank account. Bloom Impacts platform also educates SMEs about credit reports and scoring, factors most know nothing about, and in effect, helped some business owners resolve disputes and discrepancies negatively affecting their credit reports.
The marketplace is accessible currently in Ghana from android smartphones and leverages machine learning and some other tech to allow small businesses to create a digital profile, learn about and apply for financial services.
The company recently signed on another financial service provider (FSP) that shares their mission to drive inclusive finance for SMEs, Advans Savings & Loans. Along with other FSP partners, Bloom Impact now offers about 40+ products on their marketplace ranging from working capital, asset financing,lines of credit to savings and current accounts. According to management, active discussions are underway with several other FSPs in Ghana who will hopefully join by the end of this year to expand their offerings.
Speaking to Ventureburn, CEO and Co-founder Carol Caruso stated:
“Our system analyses, validates and verifies data and then provides the customer with product options — these fully scored and validated leads are sent to the matched financial service providers. In addition to the tremendous convenience and cost savings we offer the small business owner, we are creating financially educated business owners which is critical for banks and other providers. For these financial service providers, such as banks and microfinance institutions, our solution disrupts customer acquisition by cutting costs and providing digital, eligible, validated, scored and financially-educated customers.”
The startup also has a referral system and has already received dozens of new customers through referrals.
“We are also promoting current accounts linked to mobile money which will allow better credit eligibility for customers by regularly using these formal transactional accounts for their business,” said Caruso.
“Right now we can easily handle over a million customers and we have designed the platform to be scalable for future country expansion,” she added.