Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization

Sikakuo Financial Solutions

What is the name of your solution?


Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

Unlocking access to financial services for the unbanked/underbanked by providing a blockchain based credit scoring and decisioning tool for Financial Institutions using big data from digital savings and lending platforms.

Film your elevator pitch.

What specific problem are you solving?

In Africa, the lack of access to credit and inadequate credit scoring methods disproportionately affects MSMEs and individuals who are often excluded from formal financial systems. According to the World Bank, in Sub-Saharan Africa, less than a third of adults have access to formal financial services, and the gender gap in access to finance is significant. Our solution addresses this by leveraging technology to provide more accurate credit scoring methods and reduce bias against traditionally underserved people.

What is your solution?

Our solution is Sikakuo, a digital platform that provides a secure and convenient approach to group savings and lending, with accurate credit scoring and decisioning tools for Financial Institutions.

Sikakuo utilizes machine learning and big data to provide financial institutions with credit scoring and decisioning tools, which enable them to assess the creditworthiness of petty traders and small businesses. The platform has a mobile app and USSD that enable petty traders, especially women, to conduct group savings digitally. Data is collected from these transactions and used to give petty traders a credit score, with which financial institutions can provide them with loans.

The platform also features a dashboard that displays data analytics and tracks progress for both the financial institutions and the petty traders. Sikakuo's technology is built using a combination of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and mobile and web applications to provide a seamless user experience.

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

Sikakuo's solution targets petty traders, especially women, who are underserved and have limited access to formal financial services due to a lack of credit history and collateral. These traders rely on informal lending from friends and family, which often provide insufficient funding and high-interest rates, making it challenging to grow their businesses.

By providing a digitized group lending service that utilizes machine learning and big data to provide accurate credit scoring and decisioning tools, Sikakuo will enable these traders to access credit from Financial Institutions. Through the mobile app and USSD, petty traders can conduct group savings digitally and build up their credit score, which will be used by financial institutions to give them loans. The platform also offers a dashboard to view data and track progress.

Sikakuo's solution will empower petty traders to grow their businesses, create jobs, and improve their livelihoods. By having access to formal financial services, these traders will no longer have to rely on informal lending, which can be unreliable and expensive. Additionally, the platform's focus on group lending will promote financial inclusion by bringing together people who may not have the collateral or credit history to obtain individual loans.

Sikakuo's solution will have a significant impact on the lives of petty traders, particularly women, by enabling them to access crucial loans to grow their businesses and improve their economic prospects.

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

Our team is well-positioned to deliver this solution because we have personal and professional experience with the communities we are serving. Gloria Norvor, our product designer, comes from a family of petty traders and has firsthand knowledge of group savings and lending conducted by market women. Joshua Odoi, our software engineer, has experience building and deploying mobile and web apps.

We live in Ghana, which is where we will be implementing our solution. Our parents are petty traders, and we have close relationships with market women who conduct group lending. With this proximity to the community, we have a deep understanding of the challenges they face in accessing financial services. We are engaging with the community as we develop our solution to ensure that their input, ideas, and agendas meaningfully guide the design and implementation of our solution.

As a team, we are committed to ensuring that the needs of the underserved populations we are targeting are addressed through our solution. Our diverse backgrounds and experiences, combined with our proximity to the community, make us well-suited to design and deliver a solution that meets the unique needs of the communities we are serving.

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

Provide new ways to accurately assess credit-worthiness of MSMEs and individuals, including methods that reduce bias against borrowers who have traditionally lacked equitable access to credit

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

Accra, Ghana

In what country is your solution team headquartered?

  • Ghana

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Pilot: An organization testing a product, service, or business model with a small number of users

How many people does your solution currently serve?

Our solution is currently being tested with about 5 groups of market women, which can range in size from 10 to 20 individuals. So, the current number of people our solution is serving is between 50 to 100 individuals.

Why are you applying to Solve?

We are applying to Solve because we believe it can help us overcome some of the technical challenges we face. Specifically, we are looking for access to resources and partners who can help us improve our product design, refine our go-to-market strategy, and scale our solution to reach a wider audience. As a young and emerging startup, we recognize that there are gaps in our knowledge and expertise that Solve can help fill, particularly in terms of financial modelling, legal and regulatory compliance, and impact measurement. We are also looking for opportunities to connect with like-minded innovators and mentors who can provide guidance and support as we navigate the challenges of building a sustainable and socially impactful business. Ultimately, we believe that Solve can help us achieve our mission of promoting financial inclusion and empowerment for underserved communities in Ghana and beyond.

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
  • Monitoring & Evaluation (e.g. collecting/using data, measuring impact)
  • Technology (e.g. software or hardware, web development/design)

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Gloria Norvor

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

Our solution is innovative in several ways. Firstly, our solution uses machine learning algorithms to reduce bias against borrowers who have traditionally lacked equitable access to credit. By analyzing a broad range of data points, such as payment history, credit utilization, and spending patterns, our algorithms can provide a more holistic and accurate view of creditworthiness, rather than relying solely on traditional metrics such as credit scores and collateral.

Secondly, it offers a convenient and secure digital platform for group savings and lending, which is specifically designed for individuals and market women who have limited access to formal financial institutions. This platform also enables Financial Institutions to obtain accurate credit scoring and decisioning tools, which can help them to provide loans to previously unbanked individuals and MSMEs.

This approach is particularly significant in Africa, where traditional credit scoring methods have been shown to be ineffective and discriminatory towards marginalized groups such as women and young people. Our solution has the potential to catalyze broader positive impacts by providing a more inclusive and equitable approach to credit assessment, which could ultimately help to reduce poverty and promote economic growth in the region.

Furthermore, our platform has the potential to change the market by providing an innovative and scalable solution to financial inclusion. By leveraging technology and data analytics, we can offer a more efficient and cost-effective approach to credit assessment, which can benefit both borrowers and lenders. Our solution can also help to bridge the gap between formal financial institutions and the unbanked population, creating a more inclusive and sustainable financial ecosystem.

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

Our impact goals for the next year are to onboard at least 50 more groups of market women onto our platform, provide them with access to affordable credit, and help them improve their financial literacy. We plan to achieve this by partnering with local organizations, conducting targeted outreach campaigns, and offering incentives to early adopters to spread the word about our platform.

In the next five years, we aim to expand our solution to other underserved communities in Ghana and other African countries, with the goal of reaching at least 100,000 individuals and MSMEs. We will achieve this by scaling our platform and partnering with more financial institutions and other relevant stakeholders in the financial inclusion space.

To measure our impact, we will track key metrics such as the number of individuals and groups served, the amount of credit disbursed, the number of loans repaid, and the improvement in financial literacy among our users. We will also collect qualitative data through user surveys and interviews to better understand the impact of our solution on the lives of our users and identify areas for improvement.

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

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • 10. Reduced Inequalities

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

These are the specific indicators that we use to measure progress towards our impact goals:

1. Percentage increase in the number of women and other marginalized groups who have access to credit through our platform.

2. Number of individuals and MSMEs who have access to credit through our platform.

3. The number of financial institutions that partner with our platform to offer credit to individuals and MSMEs.

4. Number of individuals and MSMEs who have improved financial literacy as a result of using our platform.

5. Percentage increase in income and savings of individuals and MSMEs who use our platform.

6. The amount of credit disbursed through our platform.

7. The reduction in the number of unbanked individuals and MSMEs in the communities we serve.

8. The number of jobs created by MSMEs that have access to credit through our platform.

What is your theory of change?

Our theory of change is based on the following framework:

Activity: Develop and deploy our digital platform for group savings and lending
Output: Market women and individuals are able to easily access secure group savings and lending services
Outcome 1: Increased financial inclusion, as more people are able to access credit and savings services
Outcome 2: Improved financial stability and empowerment for market women and individuals, leading to reduced poverty and economic inequality

Impact: Reduced poverty and increased economic equality for underserved populations, contributing to SDG 1, 8, 9 and 10.

We believe that by providing an easy-to-use, secure platform for group savings and lending, we can increase financial inclusion and stability for underserved market women and individuals. This will contribute to the larger goal of reducing poverty and economic inequality in our target communities. We plan to measure our progress through metrics such as the number of users, the amount of savings and loans facilitated through our platform, and feedback from our users on the impact our platform has had on their lives.

Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Our solution is powered by a mobile and web-based application. The app is built on modern programming languages, and we use best data security and privacy practices. We also employ machine learning algorithms to analyze transactional data and assess the creditworthiness of MSMEs and individuals. Additionally, we are exploring the use of blockchain technology to securely store transactional data and create an immutable record of financial history for users, which can be used to build credit scores. The use of technology allows us to provide a convenient and secure platform for group savings and lending, as well as access to credit for those who have traditionally been excluded from the formal financial system.

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
  • Big Data
  • Blockchain
  • Software and Mobile Applications

In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Ghana

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

  • Ghana
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
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?

2 full-time staff, 2 volunteers

How long have you been working on your solution?

We have been working on our solution for a year now.

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

We are committed to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into our work. Our team and target market is composed of individuals from diverse backgrounds. We strive to create a work environment that is welcoming, respectful, and supportive of all team members.

We recognize that diversity, equity, and inclusivity are ongoing processes that require continual effort and attention. To this end, we have set specific goals for increasing the diversity of our team, such as actively seeking out candidates from underrepresented groups in our hiring process and promoting diversity in our recruitment efforts.

Additionally, we have taken steps to ensure that our solution is inclusive and equitable, such as conducting user research and engaging with communities to understand their unique needs and challenges. We are committed to designing and implementing our solution in a way that is accessible and beneficial for all individuals and communities, particularly those who have historically been excluded or marginalized from financial services.

We recognize the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusivity in driving innovation and creating sustainable solutions that have a positive impact on people and the planet. We will continue to prioritize these values in our work and strive to create positive change in our communities and beyond.

Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

Our business model is based on a dual revenue stream. We generate revenue through fees charged to financial institutions for access to our platform's credit scoring and decisioning tools, as well as through transaction fees from the group savings and lending activities of our individual and market women users.

Our target customers are financial institutions that seek to expand their loan portfolios to unbanked populations, as well as individuals and market women who lack access to formal financial services. We provide our users with a secure and convenient digital platform for group savings and lending, along with accurate credit scoring and decisioning tools that reduce the risk for lenders.

Our platform offers a variety of products and services, including digital savings accounts, loans, and financial literacy training for our users. We aim to provide value to our users by offering a safe and convenient way to save and access credit, which will help them to build their businesses, increase their incomes, and improve their overall financial stability.

Our business model allows us to generate revenue while also addressing the financial needs of unbanked populations and expanding access to financial services.

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 becoming financially sustainable involves a combination of revenue streams that will cover our expected expenses and enable us to continue delivering impact.

Firstly, we plan to generate revenue through transaction fees charged to financial institutions and businesses that use our platform for credit scoring and decision-making. This will be our primary revenue stream.

Secondly, we plan to explore partnerships with government agencies and NGOs to provide financial services and training to underserved communities. These partnerships could potentially generate revenue through service contracts and grants.

Thirdly, we plan to explore the possibility of fundraising and investment capital from impact investors and social venture capital firms.

We believe that our diversified revenue streams will help us become financially sustainable in the long run, while also allowing us to deliver social impact to the communities we serve.

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

1. Winner of the Absa Bank & Mest Africa Hackathon.

2. Top 3 most promising solution at the Trestle Fintech Competition. 

Solution Team

  • Gloria Norvor Girls Advancement Initiative
  • JO JO
    Mr Joshua Odoi I.T & Innovation Lead, ADVIZ Solutions
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