By Mark Kawalya
Dundiza is an electronic wealth management platform that uses technology to manage savings, facilitate financial literacy and offer investment opportunities for people and businesses in Tanzania.
The cloud-based financial facility aims to promote financial inclusion and spur economic empowerment for women entrepreneurs and young people in marginalized communities in the country.
The investments, usually in government treasury bills and stocks, are positioned to provide an alternative source of income for the savers who have largely remained underbanked. The target demographic oscillates between 19-39 years for the youth and 24-49 years for the women who own a mobile phone to access the platform.
According to Reginald Runyoro, the co-founder of Dundiza, it is a common belief among Tanzanians that for one to save money, they either need to have a high paying job or run a top tier business. This mindset has been cemented by a lack of access to non-traditional financial savings and investment services.
Runyoro and his team launched a community engagement where they carried out a design thinking process in Arusha and Kilimanjaro. During this they learned that many college and university students were left penniless after misusing student loans and savings during and after graduating from school.
Also, research showed that women running medium enterprises found it time-consuming to go to mainstream banks to save bits of money generated from their businesses. They turned to more convenient but high-risk alternatives, like keeping their money at home or in savings groups, that are unregulated.
“Our mission to is to enable individuals to save money, spend less money and get access to loans, so that they can achieve their financial goals in a sustainable manner,” Reginald says.
Money saved with Dundiza is automatically locked into various savings plans until the maturation period that was predetermined has been reached. The platform’s credit scoring algorithm also identifies the saving history of each saver to enable them to get loans and set competitive interest rates.
According to Runyoro, the main goal of the firm is to leverage digital financial savings for young people and women to alleviate poverty and reduce gender inequalities. Dundiza dreams of being an African financial warehouse that offers digital financial services, asset management and health insurance. The startup organizes youth seminars at university campuses in Arusha and Kilimanjaro, and these are the main drivers of new clients for the startup.