By Our writer
While previous efforts to encourage Ugandan businesses to digitize were futile, the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic has created haste for enterprises, irrespective of size, to shift to online platforms.
This has opened opportunities for Financial Technology Companies (FinTechs) to tap in with innovative solutions that are changing the way people pay for goods and services as well as receive payments.
Among these FinTechs is Silicon Savannah Limited, a technology company whose Silicon Pay solution is increasingly being used by businesses to ease payments.
According to the FinTech’s Chief Executive Officer Patrick Setuba, the firm offers a fully integrated suite of payments products including collection, bulk payments, utilities, bank transfers and crowd funding through its Application Programming Interface (API).
Setuba adds that the platform provides an API for mobile money and credit card services, which merchants, individuals and companies can leverage by integrating it into their websites and mobile application and start receiving payments in real time.
“COVID-19 has affected businesses but it has paved way for the growth of digital payments as businesses resorted to online tools because they could not do physical meet-up and collections. So we provide solutions to these businesses and merchants to receive e-value,” he says.
Given that fewer women-owned businesses have online presence, Setuba notes that the Silicon Savannah set out to change this. It offers low-cost website development services to women entrepreneurs to enable them move their businesses online and reach a wider customer base.
These websites are then integrated with Silicon Pay payment options to enable them have a fully modern e-commerce store where they collect and control their funds in real time.
Additionally, Silicon Savannah integrated the Silicon Pay solution in several women Saccos to help them ease collection of money through the platform and enhance accountability.
To stay on top on their game, Setuba says Silicon Pay integrated new products and services to meet its clients’ evolving financial needs. It for instance integrated mobile wallets to cater for customers who receive money in different currencies across Africa.
It also forged partnerships with key service providers such as e-commerce platform players, to provide more services to its clients.
To make it easy for businesses to onboard, Setuba says that the company uses the tiered Know-Your-Customer (KYC) principle, which he says also, helps them guard against fraud.
“To understand who we are dealing with, we incorporated KYC standards to better understand the customer we are dealing with. We thus take extra steps by asking them to prove their identity, nature of business to make sure the source of a customer’s funds are legitimate,” Setuba notes.
He adds that their systems enables users to monitor their funds on their dashboard in real time and can withdraw through mobile money instantly whenever they need it.
Additionally, the platform enables users to transfer funds instantly to their preferred bank accounts on request and receive the funds in a few hours depending on the time the request is made.
Silicon Savannah is among the firms taking part in the ongoing second edition of the 40-Days 40-Fintechs initiative, which Setuba says has provided a platform for industry players to showcase their innovations that were less known to the public.
He alludes that Uganda’s FinTech industry is still virgin and thus offers a multitude of opportunities for growth, especially now that businesses are steadily picking interest in digital payments and e-commerce as they seek to reach a wider customer base.
Setuba, however, appeals to industry players to ensure real time funds transfer and same day settlement, noting that this will attract more Ugandans to use Fintech solutions.
The 40-Days 40-FinTechs initiative is organized by HiPipo in partnership with Crosslake Technologies, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation, and sponsored by the Gates Foundation. The HiPipo Chief Executive Officer Innocent Kawooya also notes that FinTechs need to be prepared with appropriate products and have appropriate real time payment systems in place to support an inclusive, interoperable digital marketplace that is both thriving and safe.