Kuzimba takes the entire building value chain online

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Our Reporter.

When Ephrance Eunice Namugenyi’s father started a paver and block-making business, he contacted his daughter to use her Information Technology skills to market his products.

The two sat down and agreed to do something much bigger; create a digital marketplace for building materials.

“I also work at Kyambogo University where I meet students who don’t have jobs after school yet they are good at architectural work, engineering, etc….so, I said we can as well market professionals,” says Namugenyi.

It is this small meeting in April 2020 that led to the birth of Kuzimba Services – a digital payment solution that allows clients to purchase building and construction materials and services. Right from purchasing land to surveying to drawing architectural plans to building; Kuzimba provides the technical know-how.

Ephrance Eunice Namugenyi, the Founder and Managing Director of Kuzimba Services says the biggest challenge people face is the hustle of looking for genuine building materials at the right price. So, Kuzimba services works with construction professionals and genuine service providers and guarantees delivery of the right quality and quantities to the client’s construction site.

How it works

When a client gets onto kuzimba.com and maybe they want iron sheets, they click on the item and input the number and type they want. Then the quotation is made.

“Then we receive the notification and we call the client and get more details about the delivery,” she says.

The client is supposed to make a down payment of at least 50 percent electronically and then complete the full payment on arrival. Namugenyi notes that since April 2020, roughly the time when Covid-19 lockdowns started in Uganda, they have received more than 800 unique customers and over 60 repeat clients.

“Covid-19 came as a blessing. It was a good start for us. Being a teacher, this business stood out for me because I could make some money during Covid-19 and many people used the period to finish their building projects because they had some time on them. Many people called us because they were scared of moving. The challenge was transporting. We had to actually work very hard to deliver.” she says.

She adds that life after Covid-19 is much better because transport is easier and people are adopting digital financial systems faster. Kuzimba is gender-sensitive, with at least 51 percent of the team being women.

“I have personally struggled to scale through as a woman entrepreneur. It is a bit hard for a woman to convince a man that you can deliver maybe cement or sand to a construction site. But we have had to convince ourselves that we can do it. It takes a lot of peer mentoring, the more you do something, the more you become confident about it,” she says.

40 Days 40 FinTechs

Kuzimba, who are the defending champions of the 2021 Women in FinTech hackathon, comes as participant number 19 in this year’s 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative.

Namugenyi says she is indebted to HiPipo for giving them a platform to build confidence; especially the Women in FinTech Hackathon which pushed her to the front.

“I realized there are many women in this space and I can actually make it. Thank you for marketing us. I don’t think of failing anymore. I think if this initiative is made countrywide, banks will understand the importance of working together,” she says.

The #40Days40FinTechs platform is run under HiPipo’s Include Everyone program that also encompasses other initiatives such as FinTech Landscape Exhibition, Women in FinTech Hackathon, Summit & Incubator and the Digital and Financial Inclusion Summit and Digital Impact Awards Africa.

The platform aptly provides a setting for the various players and stakeholders involved in digital and financial technology to exhibit their products & Services and also share their ideas on how more of us, especially those unserved and underserved by the present financial systems, can be brought into the fold.

It also offers participants useful tools and an introduction to the industry’s emerging technologies, such as Mojaloop Open Source Software, and guidance from Level One Project foundational material. The skills gained from this initiative cover Level One Project Principles, Instant and Inclusive Payment Systems (IIPS), Inclusive Finance and FinTech in general.

HiPipo CEO Innocent Kawooya noted that this year’s edition of 40 Days 40 FinTechs is cementing the achievements of the previous editions – where over 60 FinTechs have been transformed – but also building on them to leverage digital financial inclusion in East Africa and beyond.

“Thanks to initiatives like 40 Days 40 FinTechs and Level One Project among others; DFSPs, and FinTech stakeholders across Africa will soon gain access to fully functional IIPS regulatory sandboxes to prototype, build and test innovative digital products while evaluating Mojaloop technology with the aim of solving data/infrastructure localization government regulations and directives,” Kawooya said.

He added: “40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative is bringing together DFSPs and stakeholders (including regulators and development partners) to drive discussions on building instant and inclusive payment systems that will solve the most emerging challenges that limit low-income users from onboarding onto formal financial platforms.”