Written by Lonwabo Marele, CEO at Successful Journals
Winners of the 2022 Township Tech Hackathon’s Fintech/Commerce, run by UVU Africa (previously known as the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative – CiTi), Basket Ecommerce activated over 250 informal shops in the township of Kayamandi, Stellenbosch, in two days.
With the goal of onboarding at least 500+ suppliers on their database over the next few weeks, Basket Ecommerce is leading the way in helping previously marginalised areas with technological advantages.
They are on a quest to solve some of the community’s economic and food security challenges by connecting as many farmers with suppliers and drivers.
Their website, or in this case, their network, opens up market access where the farmer’s fresh produce reaches the community. Buyers make an order that is delivered within 24 to 48 business hours.
After winning the Township Tech category last year, they have used their proceedings and consistency to employ more than 15 young people in the position of sales and marketing.
When the team is not on the ground working, co-founders Lunga Hamilton Momoza, Vuyani Ndlovu and Esihle Vellem upskill the team with technology and customer service training.
Momoza said it had been a journey that has brought them closer to their vision of bridging the AgriTech gap in Africa.
“Fighting youth unemployment and technological development within the township space has always been at the core of our business aims by innovating spaces and communities that are often overlooked,” he said.
Team Basket Ecommerce emphasised the ultimate goal of driving innovation and economic development in emerging economies to fight the 64.18% unemployment rate among the youth in South Africa.
“We are introducing, improving, innovating and developing communities like Kayamandi, Stellenbosch and individuals like the 250 shop spaza traders in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch. These entrepreneurs face dreadful economic challenges such as the lack of accessing financial capital and working capital to run their businesses efficiently and effectively. Outdated supply chain systems cause spaza shop traders to spend on average one hour and 25 minutes per day in search of a reliable, efficient, convenient and affordable supplier, to procure their stock to avoid losing essential end consumers.
“Because of the limitation of stock, reliable suppliers and working capital since many spaza traders play and compete in a highly competitive shop to consumer market that succeeds in excellent product, service and availability for the everyday end consumer,” he said.
Momoza said it is quite important for spaza traders to find that “go-to” supplier who is able to provide them with affordability, reliability, quality, assurance and convenience in order to gain a sustainable market share in highly competitive informal-consumer products and fresh produce market, “in order to make a sustainable living income to feed their families and most importantly avoid the loss of crucial end consumers.”
Basket Ecommerce is literally scraping the surface of a total addressable market size of about 10,000 informal spaza shop traders, with street vendors scattered across different townships in the Western Cape facing identical challenges waiting and wanting to incorporate new technologies to grow, innovate and accelerate their business to achieve desirable growth.
“This is just the one part of the “earned customers” insights that the Basket Ecommerce team has been privileged to unearth over the past few weeks piloting in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch. More crucial earned customers insights from the past month will be revealed in the next following days,” said Momoza.