By Mark Kawalya
Emata Uganda has won the Best Newcomer Award at the 2023 Global Startup Awards (GSA) that were held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Emata Uganda is a fintech startup that uses technology to make affordable digital financing available to millions of farmers.
“This is an incredible honor! More importantly, it is a great recognition of the work that our team puts in every day to bring affordable, digital financing to farmers,” Bram van den Bosch, Emata’s Chief Executive Officer, said.
Similarly, last year the firm was named “Best Newcomer in Africa after outcompeting 8,272 companies and entrepreneurs from 54 African countries. This gave the startup an opportunity to compete against global startups, where it emerged as winners in the category.
As the winner of the awards, Emata benefits from better global recognition, attracting business prospects, and getting connected to active investors. Additionally, the firm will have access to the GSA Alumni Network as well as accelerator and incubator programs.
By fully utilizing technology to bring affordable digital financing to farmers, Emata is the first agricultural credit firm in Uganda to completely automate the entire loan process. This includes data collection, credit scoring, and loan disbursement. This has enabled the firm to offer loans to farmers in the most remote areas (including those without a smartphone), with loan amounts starting at Sh100,000.
Such innovative steps are necessary as financial institutions operating in Africa generally struggle to set up frameworks that enable them to lend to smallholder farmers.
This pushes small scale farmers to rely on informal moneylenders who charge very high interest rates that make it impossible for farmers to benefit from investing in their farms. As a result, Uganda’s agricultural potential remains underutilized as farmers struggle with the low penetration of credit facilities.
By having close interactions with farmers and cooperatives, Emata has been able to learn how best to tailor their products to fit the needs of farmers. An example of this is integrating offline capabilities into their platform.