Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization


What is the name of your solution?

Onkout: A New Creative Space

Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

Empowering 11 million individuals to overcome poverty through a grassroots, community-driven approach.

Film your elevator pitch.

What specific problem are you solving?


Onkout is designed to address a series of complex and interlinked problems faced by SMEs operating in informal markets in conflict-affected environments, such as Somalia and Northern Kenya. The first specific problem we are working to address is the limited livelihood opportunities for youth, women and other disenfranchised groups like IDPs and ethnic minorities face in these regions due to the scarcity of formal jobs and sustainable livelihoods. In conflict-affected areas, the lack of formal employment opportunities is a significant concern for many, particularly the youth population.


Secondly, limited access to regulated financial services and modern commerce significantly affects two billion people in developing nations worldwide, with conflict-affected countries suffering the most. For instance, Somalia exemplifies this issue, as approximately 76% of its 15 million residents are unbanked, a figure that nearly matches the number of mobile money account holders. Although mobile money services have helped narrow the gap by enabling transactions of smaller amounts without the necessity of a nationally accepted ID, obstacles remain. Insufficient nationwide internet coverage and the need to update laws and strengthen transaction regulations continue to impede progress toward financial inclusion and data security.

Presently, telecom companies compromise data and expose individuals to various risks. In Somalia, the lack of access to regulated financial services and modern commerce hinders the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The country's limited economic growth of 1.5%, attributed to Covid-19 restrictions and security incidents, worsens the situation. A coordinated effort by the financial and telecommunications sectors is crucial to provide access and products that elevate living standards for all.


Presently, telecom companies compromise data and expose individuals to various risks. In Somalia, the lack of access to regulated financial services and modern commerce hinders the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The country's limited economic growth of 1.5%, attributed to Covid-19 restrictions and security incidents, worsens the situation. A coordinated effort by the financial and telecommunications sectors is crucial to provide access and products that elevate living standards for all.

The third issue that the Onkout platform tackles is the challenge of tech startups struggling to gain local adoption due to western ideals embedded in their products by adapting financial services to cater to the unique needs, struggles, religious, and cultural beliefs of local communities. 

Lastly, there is a crucial need to address the scarred nature of markets in conflict-affected regions, such as Somalia and Northern Kenya. These areas are plagued by terrorist financing and predatory business models, which contribute to a lack of trust and stability in trade. It is essential to minimize uncertainty in trade and establish a more secure and transparent environment for financial transactions. By doing so, we can foster economic growth and development in these challenging regions, ultimately improving the livelihoods of their inhabitants.

What is your solution?


At the moment we're launching in Somalia and Kenya. We're addressing context-specific legal and regulatory issues as they arise. In Somalia, we have plans to partner with the Somali government at the Federal and State levels to support a variety of development interventions including digital state and federal IDs. Specifically, we're testing our Damiin feature at the federal member state (FMS) level with South West State (SWS), targeting internally displaces persons (IDPs) and offering benefits through virtual IDs. This approach can pave the way for digital ID development, making it more accessible to poor and minority populations while bolstering local economies and stabilizing the micro-economy.


Our larger vision is to create a reliable, robust, and stable entire open financial ecosystem, allowing the movement of money, auditing of transactions, and inserting regulatory systems into the larger macroeconomic system starting in Somalia and Kenya and then moving into other conflict-affected countries as possible. The Onkout solution improves local businesses' ability to operate in unstable environments, fostering stability and supporting the transition from humanitarian aid to peace and governance. 


The purpose of Onkout is to improve people's access by giving them a range of financial tools. For example, Onkout allows people in conflict-affected areas to send, sell, save, and spend knowing their personal details are protected and their phone numbers are not being shared with terrorists.


Onkout is a fintech company offering an open financial ecosystem for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), individuals, and governments in conflict-affected nations, promoting inclusive economies in uncertain environments. Our inclusive mobile app provides a digital wallet, e-commerce platform, Business control panel, project management system, and micro-financing component. Onkout aims to empower communities in crisis by offering a comprehensive suite of business tools, enabling safe and convenient operation. Our vision is to establish a reliable, robust, and stable financial ecosystem, facilitating money movement, transaction auditing, and integration into macroeconomic systems.


Additionally, Onkout has patented a culturally compatible identification system that aligns with international Know Your Customer (KYC) norms to address weak government-issued identification methods which will also enhance anti-money laundering (AML), Counter-terrorist financing (CTF), and KYC compliance. Damiin verifies users' financial identity through social and financial connections.


Another of Onkout's features, the Smart Ayuuto brings into the digital age the traditional rotating savings and credit groups that are well-established and enormously beneficial to unstable economies. In the past, the rotating savings and credit groups have provided a lifeline to individuals in crises to save and make traditional investments in livestock and agriculture as well as supporting modern small business start-ups or social needs, such as covering the cost of a wedding or funeral. Enhancing normal life in conflict-affected environments is an important part of improving the micro-economy.


A future change we'd like to implement is integrating our Smart Money feature with an AI system to combat corruption in humanitarian donor funding. Donors would be able to code money based on the budget, and any misuse of funds would trigger instant notifications to all parties, with the money returning to its origin.

Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Our solution serves primarily young individuals aged 16 to 35, both male and female, who run or own small businesses. Additionally, we cater to women who traditionally participate in rotating savings groups to accumulate small amounts of cash.

The majority of financial companies in Africa are predatory in nature. For example, it is common for financial companies in Somalia and Kenya to give high-interest loans to desperate young people on their phones. Onkout's business model is different. We want to be a part of a strong future for communities in deep crisis today. We offer a complete suite of business tools, giving every stressed business owner a safe and convenient way to do business. From the wooden-table–street corner vendors to large-scale wholesalers, we help power businesses succeed and THRIVE and not just survive. on their own terms. Thus, our vision is to create a reliable, robust, and stable entire open financial ecosystem, allowing the movement of money, auditing of transactions, and inserting regulatory systems into the larger macro-economic system where today, in some countries, this is non-existent or extremely fragile.

Onkout aims to address the needs of those living in conflict-affected and fragile environments across Africa, initially focusing on the Federal Republic of Somalia and the Republic of Kenya, and subsequently expanding to the Republic of Uganda, the Republic of Rwanda, the Republic of South Sudan, and the United Republic of Tanzania. While the exact size of our potential market is uncertain, we are confident that our solution will be valuable in these regions.

We plan to obtain our UK FCA license and extend our reach to new markets in East Africa, connecting them to the EU, North America, China, the Middle East, and the rest of the world. Our goal is to enable SMEs in these regions to trade, transact, and save safely and securely with their counterparts in the diaspora.

By providing secure financial services tailored to the unique needs of our target population, we aim to directly and meaningfully improve their lives. Our solution will empower them to grow their businesses, access modern commerce, and enhance their financial stability in a safe and regulated manner.

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

Our team is composed of dedicated and experienced professionals who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of those we serve. Each member brings a unique set of skills and expertise that contributes to the development and implementation of our solution.

Mo Yahye, our Founder/CEO, has a strong background in strategic communication, psychology communication, and economics. He was a refugee as a child and grew up an immigrant in the UK. He often jokes that he has designed Okout for his Somali mother. In 2013, he previously worked on an arts-based peace initiative that led to the revival of the marketing sector in Mogadishu, Somalia, which now employs over 3,000 young people, and advised project design and implementation in Somalia. His deep understanding of developing nations' economies and daily review of fintech innovations enable him to devise creative ways to stimulate economic growth for people below the poverty line and businesses in developing countries.

Liron Hodes, our CFO, has over 11 years of experience in the social work industry and holds a B.A and M.A in the field. Liron's experience in working with the poor and the elderly, and her ability to find creative financial solutions, makes her an invaluable asset to our team. She ensures that Onkout remains compliant in all aspects and works closely with our legal and tax advisors.

Shachar Hodes, our CTO, has over 16 years of IT and product development experience, primarily in the finance and accounting industries. His expertise in developing tools and algorithms that optimize financial performance and customer retention makes him the perfect fit for developing our mobile app and ensuring its cutting-edge technology and user experience.

Gabriela Saldana, legal advisor, is dedicated to creating generational changes that benefit and equalize societies. With a background in corporate law, she focuses on start-ups, consumer privacy, anti-money laundering issues, and international fintech law. Her legal expertise and commitment to social impact contribute to the overall success of our project.

As a team, we actively engage with the communities we serve led by our founder and CEO, incorporating their input and ideas into the design and implementation of our solution. We have piloted the app twice in Somalia and have also now undertaken a soft launch.  By leveraging our diverse backgrounds and experiences, we can develop a comprehensive and effective approach that addresses the unique challenges faced by the communities we aim to serve.

Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?


In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?


In what country is your solution team headquartered?

  • United Kingdom

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model that is rolled out in one or more communities

How many people does your solution currently serve?


Why are you applying to Solve?

Onkout is applying to Solve because we believe that the platform's robust ecosystem of partners, resources, and expertise can help us tackle the financial, technical, legal, cultural, and market barriers we currently face. Our primary goal in joining Solve is not merely to raise funds but to leverage its network to advance our solution and make a meaningful impact on our target population.

Specifically, we hope Solve can help us in the following ways:

  1. Technical: Solve's network of experts and technology partners can provide valuable guidance on enhancing our platform's features, security, and scalability. This support will help us ensure our solution remains innovative and relevant to the needs of our target audience.

  2. Legal: As we expand our operations to new regions, we will need to navigate complex legal and regulatory landscapes. Solve's connections to legal experts and organizations can help us overcome these challenges and ensure compliance in every market we enter.

  3. Financial: While funding is not our primary goal, securing strategic partnerships through Solve can help us access resources and investment opportunities that will enable sustainable growth and the expansion of our services into new markets.

  4.  Market: Solve's partnerships with businesses, non-profits, and government agencies can help us identify untapped market opportunities and forge strategic collaborations that will drive our solution's adoption and impact.

In summary, we believe that Solve's extensive network and resources can help Onkout overcome the barriers we face and accelerate our mission to improve financial inclusion and economic stability in conflict-affected and fragile environments across Africa.

In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Business Model (e.g. product-market fit, strategy & development)
  • Financial (e.g. accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Legal or Regulatory Matters
  • Public Relations (e.g. branding/marketing strategy, social and global media)

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Mo Yahye

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

Onkout's solution is innovative in several ways, addressing the problem with a unique combination of culturally relevant methods and modern technology. This approach not only tackles the immediate challenges faced by our target audience but also has the potential to catalyze broader positive impacts and transform the market.

  1. Culturally-guaranteed KYC: Recognizing the limitations of government-issued IDs in conflict-affected and fragile environments, Onkout developed the Damiin tool, which repurposes culturally-based identification, verification, and certification. This innovative solution provides a culturally-guaranteed KYC that meets international regulatory financial norms while addressing the unique needs of the regions we serve.

  2. Digital adaptation of traditional savings groups: Onkout's Smart Ayuuto transforms traditional rotating savings groups into a digital platform, making them more accessible, secure, and efficient. By incorporating AI, we ensure the continuity of group pools even if individual members withdraw, providing financial stability to participants.

  3. Inclusive communication and business profile creation: Farichat and e-Suuqa facilitate communication and business profile creation for SMEs, regardless of literacy levels. This feature empowers businesses to showcase their offerings and build strong connections with their customers, fostering trust and encouraging economic growth.

  4. Scalability and adaptability: Onkout's solution is designed to be easily scalable and adaptable to different regions and cultures, making it an ideal model for expansion across Africa and other conflict-affected and fragile environments.

These innovative aspects of Onkout's solution can catalyze broader positive impacts by inspiring other players in the space to adopt culturally relevant approaches and leverage technology to address financial inclusion and economic stability challenges. By demonstrating the effectiveness of our model, we have the potential to change the market and encourage further innovation, driving a more inclusive and stable financial landscape for vulnerable populations globally.

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

The next year's impact goals:

  1. Expand our presence in Somalia and Kenya, reaching at least 50,000 individuals and 5,000 SMEs with our financial platform, leading to increased financial inclusion, security, and economic opportunities.

  2. Establish strategic partnerships with regional governments, NGOs, and private sector stakeholders to enhance the reach and adoption of our solution.

  3. Continuously iterate and improve our platform based on user feedback and changing market dynamics, ensuring the relevance and effectiveness of our solution.

To achieve these goals, we will focus on local engagement, marketing efforts, building strategic partnerships, and securing necessary resources and investments.

The next five years' impact goals:

  1. Expand our services to additional conflict-affected and fragile environments in Africa, including the Republic of Uganda, the Republic of Rwanda, the Republic of South Sudan, and the United Republic of Tanzania, reaching over 1 million individuals and 100,000 SMEs.

  2. Achieve a measurable increase in financial inclusion, economic growth, and improved living standards for the populations we serve, contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

  3. Establish Onkout as a thought leader and model for innovation in financial services, inspiring other players in the space to adopt culturally relevant approaches and leverage technology to address financial inclusion and economic stability challenges.

To achieve these long-term goals, we will maintain our focus on local engagement and adaptability, forge new strategic partnerships, and continuously innovate to meet the evolving needs of our target population. We will also seek opportunities to collaborate with other organizations, share our knowledge, and influence policy to drive systemic change in the financial services sector.

Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

We plan to regularly collect and review the following impact indicators:

  • Clients' ability to meet their monthly saving goals.
  • Client's facilitating transcontinental, transnational, and domestic transfer of money.
  • Clients' revenue increasing, and expenses decreasing through B2B, B2C, and C2B.
  • Clients' SMEs are growing and thriving on their own terms.
  • Clients' safeguarding their interaction within a scarred market safely and securely.
  • Clients strengthen their identity to formally participate in the market.
  • Clients (illiterate or semi–illiterate) interact with the user–the experience of the app in participating in their neighborhood–economy.

What is your theory of change?

The Theory of Change for Onkout can be expressed as follows:

IF Onkout provides a secure and culturally relevant financial platform that bridges the gap between traditional practices and modern technology while ensuring compliance with international regulatory financial norms,

THEN individuals and SMEs in conflict-affected and fragile environments will gain increased access to financial services, improved identity security, and enhanced business opportunities,

BECAUSE this inclusive approach addresses the unique challenges faced by these populations, empowering them to achieve financial stability, economic growth, and a higher quality of life.

Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Our solution is powered by a combination of innovative technologies and culturally relevant approaches to address the unique challenges faced by SMEs and individuals in conflict-affected and fragile environments.

The core technology includes:

  1. Damiin tool: In response to the weak government-issued IDs in regions like Somalia, we developed the Damiin tool, which repurposes culturally-based identification, verification, and certification to create a culturally-guaranteed KYC that meets international regulatory financial norms. Our patented Damiin tool strengthens identity and security for SMEs and their potential customers, enhancing AML, CTF, and KYC compliance.

  2. Smart Ayuuto: This component is a digital adaptation of traditional rotating savings groups. Based on user feedback, we have incorporated daily, weekly, and monthly savings options, catering to the needs of diverse user groups. Our AI system ensures group pool continuity even if individual members withdraw from the group, providing financial stability to participants.

  3. Farichat and e-Suuqa: Recognizing the high levels of illiteracy and informal market transactions in places like Somalia, we introduced Farichat and e-Suuqa to facilitate communication and business profile creation for SMEs. This feature allows businesses to showcase their offerings, create a strong first impression, and simplify the shopping experience for their customers.

As we continue to grow and learn, we anticipate further iterations and enhancements to our solution to better serve our target population. By combining modern technologies like AI and mobile applications with culturally relevant approaches, we aim to drive financial inclusion and economic stability in conflict-affected and fragile environments across Africa.

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new application of an existing technology

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
  • Internet of Things
  • Software and Mobile Applications

In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Kenya
  • Somalia

In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Kenya
  • Somalia
Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models

How many people work on your solution team?


How long have you been working on your solution?

Since 2018

What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

At Onkout, we are committed to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into our work, recognizing that these values are vital to the success and sustainability of our solution. Our approach includes the following key elements:

  1. Diverse leadership and team composition: We strive to build a diverse leadership team and staff, representing different backgrounds, cultures, genders, and experiences, to ensure that we effectively address the unique needs of our target population.

  2. Culturally relevant solutions: Our platform is designed to be adaptable to the local context and respectful of the cultural practices of the communities we serve. By incorporating traditional practices, such as rotating savings groups, into our digital solutions, we ensure that our services are inclusive and accessible to a wide range of users.

  3. Focus on marginalized groups: We prioritize supporting vulnerable and underserved populations, including women and individuals in conflict-affected and fragile environments, by providing them with financial tools and services that empower them to improve their economic stability and overall quality of life.

  4. Ongoing training and capacity-building: We invest in the continuous development of our team through training, workshops, and resources that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, enabling our team members to better understand and address the needs of the diverse communities we serve.

  5. User feedback and engagement: We maintain an open dialogue with our users and stakeholders, actively seeking their input and feedback to ensure that our solution remains relevant, inclusive, and responsive to their needs.

By adopting these strategies, Onkout aims to create an inclusive and equitable work environment and deliver solutions that truly address the diverse needs of our target population, ultimately contributing to a more just and inclusive world.

Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

Onkout's business model focuses on providing value to our customers and beneficiaries by offering innovative financial services and tools tailored to the unique needs of individuals and small businesses in conflict-affected and fragile environments across Africa. Our key customers include young entrepreneurs, small business owners, and women participating in traditional rotating savings groups.

Our primary products and services include:

  1. Damiin: A culturally-guaranteed KYC tool that meets international regulatory financial norms, ensuring user identity and security while addressing the shortcomings of government-issued IDs in unstable markets.
  2. Smart Ayuuto: A culturally sensitive, rotating savings and credit group (micro-financing) platform that allows users to save and access funds in a trusted environment, catering to the unique needs of our target population.
  3. B-in Control: Offers accounting, human resources, and project management assistance, along with Onkout's financial services. B-in Control connects the owner to their business through visible performance data points. A business owner will be able to create standardized invoices connected to their inventory records and track employees' time and sales, users will have the confidence in knowing that their business or organization is being run efficiently and honestly, allowing them to easily reach and keep their clients.  
  4. e-Suuqa: A culturally-sensitive e-commerce platform tailored to conflict-affected and fragile markets, enabling small businesses to showcase their products and services and facilitating secure transactions.
  5. FariinChat: A communication tool designed to assist semi-literate users in effectively engaging with their customers and managing their businesses.
  6. QRP function: A feature that protects user data and enhances consumer confidence, ensuring secure transactions on our platform.

We provide these products and services through a user-friendly mobile app and a web-based version, making them accessible to a wide range of customers. Our value proposition lies in our ability to understand and address the specific challenges faced by individuals and businesses in our target markets. By offering tailored financial solutions, we help our customers gain access to secure, regulated financial services and modern commerce, enabling them to grow their businesses, save money, and improve their overall quality of life.

Our revenue streams come from transaction fees, user subscriptions, government contracts, and partnerships with local financial firms. By offering a diverse range of services that cater to the unique needs of our target population, we create a sustainable business model that generates value for both our customers and our company.

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)

What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable?

Our plan for achieving financial sustainability involves a multi-faceted approach that combines various revenue streams to cover our expected expenses in the long term. Here's an outline of our strategy:

  1. Enhancing user experience: By making our software and app more user-friendly for semi-illiterate and financially illiterate users, we aim to attract a larger customer base, thereby increasing our potential revenue from user transactions and fees.

  2. Improving and expanding features: By refining our existing tools (e-Suuqa, FariinChat, Smart Ayuuto, and QRP function) and offering new features, we can increase the value of our platform, attracting more users and promoting customer loyalty.

  3. Scaling up our infrastructure: As we grow, we will invest in our cloud-based infrastructure to support larger transaction volumes and maintain service reliability, which will contribute to increased revenue generation.

  4. Developing a web-based version: By creating a website version of our app, we can reach a wider audience and generate additional income from online transactions.

  5. Establishing public-private partnerships: Partnering with federal member states in Somalia and other countries to strengthen domestic KYC systems will generate revenue from government contracts and pave the way for future collaborations.

  6. Expanding our global presence: Obtaining licenses in various countries and regions, including the UK, US, Canada, and the European Single Market, will allow us to access new markets and increase our revenue potential.

  7. Building a distribution network: Collaborating with local, unregulated financial firms through virtual agents will help us extend our reach and enhance the inclusivity of our financial ecosystem, leading to increased revenue from transactions and services.

By implementing these strategies, we plan to generate revenue through user transactions and fees, government contracts, and partnerships with local financial firms. This diverse mix of revenue streams will enable us to cover our operational expenses and achieve financial sustainability in the long term.

Share some examples of how your plan to achieve financial sustainability has been successful so far.

During the soft launch in September 2022, we established formal partnerships with two private sector companies - HanVard Group, Saacid Airline, and Al Hajaz General Trading Company. As we tested our products, these companies became our initial private sector partners, helping us improve our offerings. Between these two local businesses, we facilitated over USD $500k in transactions and engaged their affiliated SMEs.

Throughout the 2022 soft launch, our micro-financing tool, Smart Ayuuto (a rotating saving and credit association, ROSCA), successfully generated seven different group pools between the UK and Somalia, as well as one hybrid group pool spanning both countries. These group pools generated a combined revenue of USD $751k. Based on user feedback from SMEs, women's groups, and individuals, we added daily, monthly, and yearly savings options to Smart Ayuuto. This allowed women users to lock their daily earnings into the savings group, giving them better control over their finances.

In the non-profit sector, we formed partnerships with NGOs in Kenya and Somalia, including the Green String Network (GSN), and the Somali Youth Development Network (SOYDEN). In 2023/24 we anticipate signing a grant with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Development Bank (KfW), grant funding of €25 million, for a 5-year project supporting women SMEs in Somalia. This project will provide business support, funding, and with our partner GSN's Ustawi-Thrive mental health support for women-led SMEs across 12 different sectors, such as beauty and personal care, entertainment services, and agriculture. This will help expand the reach and penetration of our software in the market.

Additionally, we are partnering with GSN to integrate their Ustawi-Thrive mental health platform into our app, targeting young people, SMEs, and women's savings groups using the Smart Ayuuto micro-finance tool. Our innovative approach to mental health support was recognized by The World Economic Forum-Uplink, which named our joint innovations as one of the top innovators in 2022 focusing on youth mental health.

Solution Team

  • Liron Hodes Co-Founder & CFO, Onkout
  • Shachar Hodes Co-Founder & CTO, Onkout
  • Mo Yahye Founder & CEO, Onkout
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