The biggest hindrance to the growth of small businesses in South Africa is access to financing. Traditional institutions like banks require a lot of paperwork and have a more complex lending system that does not really favor small businesses. Many credit providers rely entirely on a business’s history of credit to decide whether to give a loan or not, meaning for many businesses without a history of credit, they can’t access funding. Furthermore, the current system offers no guidance whatsoever towards improving your business financial health.

To lower these barriers Akiba Digital, a Fintech startup was started with this goal in mind. Using alternative technology, it aims to open financing opportunities for small businesses and for lenders to better extend capital to small businesses, providing nuanced credit insights and real-time lending decisions. Small businesses can expect a seamless and automated experience when accessing financing to grow their business, from creating your credit score and ensuring your business is financially healthy to getting financing for your business. They aim to digitize the lending value chain for lenders who partner with them, so they reduce lending risk, get automated personalized loan repayments, and grow their customer profile.

Akiba launched an SME platform. INSYTS a financial health tool that enables SME’s to access better financing and further monitor their financial health-all in one. Businesses can sign up to the platform for free and get actionable insights on how to improve their business. They only need to link their point of sale, QR code payments, online payments,or bank statement so that they get access to a real time dashboard that shows them their credit score, be able to track revenue growth and an affordability analysis in terms of what their customers can afford based on their spending behavior and their real time transactions. INSYTS uses your linked payment transactions to suggest actions you can take to better your credit score and when you take action, you will be able to see how your score gets healthier over time.

To scale up it’s operations and help small businesses access funding, Akiba raised US$1.1 million in a pre-seed funding round led by EXPERT DOJO and OUI CAPITAL. The cash will be used to grow it’s market share in South Africa and connect over 50,000 SME’s to lenders through its ecosystem and help these small businesses with their business financial health.



In line with it’s core values helping small businesses grow by unlocking financial opportunities, AKIBA DIGITAL launched a Rebuild Campaign on Mandela Day that will help 67 small businesses affected by the riots in July as well as those businesses struggling as a result of the lockdown. Through this initiative small businesses are eligible for zero interest rated loans from its lending partners with the whole process of loan application being facilitated by AKIBA.


AKIBA can be accessed at info@akibadigital.com

Akiba Digital is a member of the National Small Business Chamber

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